College Football Week 1 Picks: Back The Better Defense with Virginia Tech +13.5 vs. Ohio State

Charles Stark

Monday, September 7, 2015 7:53 PM GMT

Monday, Sep. 7, 2015 7:53 PM GMT

College football is in full swing and we have a great matchup in this first week with defending national champion Ohio State traveling to Blacksburg Virginia to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies.

College Football odds
College Football odds makers came out making Ohio State a strong favorite at -14 to -14.5 which, again, makes some sense. They are returning a lot of starters on both sides of the ball, and as mentioned there is the revenge factor. Most of the higher juice at that number 14 to 14.5 is going towards the plus money on Virginia Tech. One line right now that really sticks out is at Bovada sports book where you can get Virginia Tech at +14.5 at -105.

 

Ohio State Buckeyes
Urban Meyer continues his impressive tenure at Ohio State with a 38-3 record and a 142-26 record overall in his years at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, and currently Ohio State. This team is blessed with a ton of talent and return every key offense a player from last season. There are a few more questions on defense but they should be able to hold their own in the Big Ten.

Offensively last season the Buckeyes averaged 509 yards per game, 45 points per game, 6.8 yards per play, and had a solid third-down conversion of 51.91%. There really shouldn't be any issue with them on this end as a return a lot of explosiveness and not one but two solid starting quarterbacks. They are not intimidated on the road as well as their scoring average only dropped to 42.6 points away from Columbus.

Defensively Ohio State gave up 333 yards per game, 22 points per game, 4.7 yards per play, and a third-down conversion of 35.50%. They had a bend but don't break attitude and ranked high in most defensive statistics last season. Still, they are far from a defensive juggernaut and have some holes that a good teams may be able to take advantage of. Their opponents averaged 141.7 rushing yards per game making Ohio State 31st in the country. Out of every statistic where the Buckeyes are lacking is in that rush defense and will be an area I'm sure Virginia Tech will try to exploit.

 

Virginia Tech
Frank Beamer continues his run with a 231-115 record at his only school he has coached Virginia Tech. His last three seasons are arguably his worst since the early 90s going 7-6 in 2012, 8-5 in 2013, and 7-6 last season. There might be rumors that he may be heading out the door, but I think everybody needs to just hold on for a second about that, and enjoy the fact he is still coaching. Offensively they have struggled these past two years partly through injury and partly through just being flat out inept, this season may or may not be any different. What Hokey fans can count on though is their defense should be one of the best in the country and is what I am counting on to keep this game close.

Offensively last season Virginia Tech averaged 354.8 yards per game, 23.2 points per game, 4.6 yards per play, and a third-down conversion rate of 37.88%. All these averages ranked well in the lower part of all the teams in the country in NCAA football. They do have some key returners at the skill positions along with starting quarterback Michael Brewer but there offensive line is a big question. That will be a key to this game, how well will the new starters perform for Virginia Tech. The only good thing I can say is that they have no Freshman starting on the offensive line.

Defensively Virginia Tech allowed 356.3 yards per game, 21.1 point per game, 5.0 yards per play, and a third-down conversion rate of 30.11%. They ranked overall as one of the better defenses in the country and pretty much everyone is back this season. This is an important point to make because to me the value on this line all resides on the Virginia Tech defense. Stopping drives and controlling the clock are going to be huge factors if Virginia Tech has any hope of hanging with that extremely talented Ohio State buckeyes.

Most likely Virginia Tech will not pull off the upset. I understand it is been a few seasons since teams actually feared going to Blacksburg, but it seems to me Tech is on the verge of a resurgence this season. If they can pull off the same game plan they had last year in Columbus, controlling the ball and the clock in quarters one and four, 18:52 to Buckeyes 11:08, who knows what could happen. As far as I'm concerned this is simply too many points to give Virginia Tech at home, expect them to give Ohio State all they want.

 

College Football Pick: Virginia Tech +13½ (-105) at BetOnline

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