The Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4) will take on the Kentucky Wildcats (7-5) in the Belk Bowl Tuesday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
The Wildcats are 2.5 point underdogs entering this one. Here’s a preview of the game followed by trends and our prediction, where we’ll tell you how you should bet.
The Hokies have had a solid season under head coach Justin Fuente, but they have lost their last two bowl games, and they would like to avoid losing a third straight. Virginia Tech is led on offense by freshman quarterback Hendon Hooker, who took over starting duties in early October. Hooker has 1,445 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions to go with five rushing scores. If he can get going, he could be a real thorn in the Wildcats’ side.
On defense, the Hokies have been solid, especially against the run. They’re allowing just over 123 yards on the ground per game, but they may meet their match against this Kentucky team that stacks up quite well against them.
Head coach Mark Stoops has the Wildcats in their fourth consecutive bowl, winning their first last season in the Citrus Bowl against Penn State. The Wildcats have been a rush-first team this season, and they are led by Lynn Bowden Jr., who has 1,235 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season. Virginia Tech has allowed just three 100+ rushing games in their last eight contests, however, so this matchup will be the game’s most crucial one.
Speaking of defense, the strength of this Kentucky team has been on that side of the ball. The Wildcats are ranked 13th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 18.4 points per game, and they have the 20th ranked defense overall in the country.
Game Info, Betting Trends, Odds and Pick
*NOTE: all numbers and percentages that follow are courtesy of Odds Shark.
Time: Tuesday, December 31 at 12 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC
Spread: Kentucky +2.5
Over/Under: 46.5 points
Odds Shark currently has Virginia Tech winning the game by a projected score of 29-28, with the Wildcats covering the spread and the total score going over 46.5 points.
Some trends relating to both teams to consider:
- Kentucky is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Kentucky’s last 9 games.
- The Wildcats are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games.
- Kentucky is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games this season.
- Virginia Tech is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Virginia Tech’s last 5 games.
- Virginia Tech is 6-2 SU in their last 8 games.
- Virginia Tech is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games this season.
We’re going to go with Odds Shark here. This should be a close game that goes right down to the last minute. Whichever team has the ball last may very well win it. That said, we’ll take Kentucky with the points and we like the total score going over 46.5, but barely. This should be a defensive battle that gets decided in the fourth quarter.
Final Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Kentucky 23 (Kentucky +3.5)