Military Bowl Preview: Cincinnati’s Time To Shine Vs. Disinterested Hokies

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 2:27 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018 2:27 PM UTC

Get the latest college football picks on the Military Bowl. The game from Annapolis, Maryland is Monday, December 31, at noon ET on ESPN. Bet confidently with tips from

<h2 style="text-align:center;">Military Bowl:</h2><h2 style="text-align:center;"><a href="" target="_blank" title="Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech Odds Board">Cincinnati (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6 SU, 5-7 ATS)</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center;">Monday, Dec. 31, noon ET (ESPN)</h2><h2 style="text-align:center;">Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland</h2><h2 style="text-align:center;">Free NCAAF Pick: Bearcats ATS</h2><h2 style="text-align:center;">Best Line Offered: <a href=";book=5dimes" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">5Dimes</a><br />[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3690920, "sportsbooksIds":[19,1096,169,238,180], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</h2><p>The Cincinnati Bearcats are in their second season with Luke Fickell as head coach; this will be their first bowl game since 2015. The Virginia Tech Hokies are in Year Three under head coach Justin Fuente, after splitting a pair of bowl games SU and ATS. The Bearcats are 6-point favorites at press time with a total of 53.5 after opening at –6.5.</p><h2><strong>How They Got Here</strong></h2><p>Cincinnati were rated as high as No. 19 on the AP poll this year, but their 24-17 overtime loss to Temple (–2.5 at home) in Week 8, and their 38-18 loss to Central Florida (–6.5 at home) in Week 12, was all it took to leave them in third place in the top-heavy AAC East Division. The Hokies were ranked No. 12 at one point, but<a href="" target="_blank" title="NCAAF Picks &amp; Predictions"> they needed back-to-back wins just to become bowl eligible</a>, beating Virginia (–4 away) 34-31 in overtime before closing out the regular season with a 41-20 victory over Marshall (+3.5 away).</p><h2> </h2><h2><strong>Why </strong><strong>Cincinnati</strong><strong> Can Win/Cover</strong></h2><p>Without a doubt, the Bearcats are the better team in this matchup. They enter bowl season at No. 25 on the F/+ Combined Ratings at Football Outsiders, miles ahead of the Hokies at No. 79. ESPN’s Football Power Index likes the Bearcats to win the Military Bowl 56.9 percent of the time. This is a high-quality defensive team (No. 19 on the S&amp;P+ Ratings); Fickell, the AAC Coach of the Year, is a former Ohio State nose guard who did two tours of duty with the Buckeyes as co-defensive co-ordinator, under both Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer.</p><p>Cincinnati’s remarkable turnaround from last year’s 4-8 campaign wasn’t just about defense. Freshman QB Desmond Ridder was named AAC Rookie of the Year after throwing 19 touchdown passes with just five picks. The team surrounding Ridder is healthy and hungry for their first bowl victory since 2012. Will the Power 5 Hokies even care about reaching the Military Bowl?</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"pt\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Ohio State’s opponents point per game in Fickell’s last year in Columbus: 15.5 (3rd in FBS) &lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;This year: 24.6 (53rd in FBS) &lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;UC’s opponents ppg the year before Fickell: 26.9 (55th in FBS) &lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;This year: 16.1 (8th in FBS) &lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;The Luke Fickell effect is REAL.&lt;/p&gt;— David Wysong (@DavidWysong_) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;24 de novembro de 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><h2><strong>Why </strong><strong>Virginia Tech</strong><strong> Can Win/Cover</strong></h2><p>Six points might be asking a bit too much from the Bearcats. According to Wizard of Odds, the FPI projection of 56.9 percent is about the same as a vig-free point spread of 2.5 points. And as poorly as Virginia Tech played this year, they still faced much tougher competition in the ACC than Cincinnati did in the American.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"pt\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;BACK TO BUSINESS 🏈&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;With finals in the books, &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@RyanWillis14&lt;/a&gt; is ready to send our seniors out the right way in the &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@MilitaryBowl&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#Hokies&lt;/a&gt; 🦃 &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Virginia Tech Football (@VT_Football) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;16 de dezembro de 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><p>The Hokies also have the better offense in this matchup by a fair margin – especially in the passing game, where they check in at No. 26 on the S&amp;P+ charts, ahead of Cincinnati at No. 88. Fuente is the 2016 ACC Coach of the Year, and a former starting quarterback at Oklahoma; he’s done a fine job with Kansas transfer Ryan Willis (22 TDs, eight INTs), who stepped in for injured starter Josh Jackson in Week 4 and had his best game of the season against Marshall.</p><h2> </h2><h2><strong>Common Opponent/Series History</strong></h2><p>These two teams didn’t share a common opponent in 2018; the Hokies are 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS lifetime against Cincinnati, including their most recent matchup, a 33-17 victory at the 2014 Military Bowl as 2-point underdogs.</p><h2> </h2><h2><strong>Final Verdict</strong></h2><p>As an outdoor bowl game in Maryland on New Year’s Eve, the Military Bowl will be heavily weather-dependent. There may be some value grabbing the UNDER early with the Bearcats (UNDER 7-5) involved, but <a href="" target="_blank" title="NCAAF Odds Board">the cottony-soft VT defense has the OVER at 7-4-1 for the Hokies this year</a>. Cincinnati’s probably the right play here for a small wager given the motivation factor – even if they’re laying a few too many points.</p><h2 style="text-align:center;"><a href="">Military Bowl Trends &amp; Betting History</a></h2>
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