Get the best handicapping articles and gambling advice throughout the football, basketball and baseball seasons from the world's top sports handicappers, as well as from Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook and Casino.
Va Tech/E. Carolina Preview
by Matt Fargo - 11/04/2009
Depending on where the line opened, it has moved anywhere from only a half-point to two points. Early shoppers could have gotten Virginia Tech as -11.5 at a few shops but that number lasted only a few hours.
The Total opened at 51.5 and has fluctuated up and then back down to that same number.
There are no significant injuries on the either side.
It will be a cool night with the temperatures lingering in the high 40’s but no chance of rain with light winds from the northwest.
Letdown or Revenge?
Three weeks ago, Virginia Tech was ranked fourth in the nation and was in serious consideration for a possible BCS Championship run. Two straight losses however have quelled any sort of talk and now the Hokies have to be concerned about letting this recent demise continuing.
Going out of conference in the middle of the season after suffering back-to-back conference losses is a recipe for disaster but Virginia Tech may not be that bad off here. The Hokies want to get some payback after suffering a loss to the Pirates in Charlotte last season.
Under head coach Frank Beamer and coming off a loss in its previous game, Virginia Tech is 14-2 ATS when playing with revenge against a winning team. It is safe to say Beamers gets the Fighting Gobblers ready for these situations.
Thursday Night Repeat
Last week’s loss against the Tar Heels was a rare one for the Hokies as they were 9-2 all-time on Thursday night ESPN broadcasts at Lane Stadium heading into that game.
Virginia Tech is 6-2 all-time on Thursday night ESPN broadcasts on the road so there is not a significant dropoff. This will be the Hokies’ first trip to Greenville since 2000, when they won 45-28 behind Lee Suggs and Michael Vick which also happened to be a Thursday night game.
It is not often East Carolina gets to host a Thursday night ESPN game but here it is sitting in the spotlight. The last time the Pirates hosted a Thursday game was against Louisville back in 2001.
BCS vs. Non-BCS
Even though it is a Thursday night, it is odd to see Virginia Tech in this spot. Why? This is the first time the Hokies have played a true road game against a non-BCS opponent since 2002 when they, then in the Big East, played at Western Michigan. This is a span of 33 straight true road games against BCS opponent.
Since 2003, East Carolina stands seventh nationally among all non-BCS programs with six victories against automatic-qualifying BCS members. The Pirates have already lost the two games against BCS opponents this season, West Virginia and North Carolina, but both of those games came on the road.
The Pirates have won three of their last four games against nationally ranked opponents and three of their last four home games against ACC members so playing and winning against the BCS teams is certainly no problem for East Carolina.
Third Down’s a Charm
East Carolina has limited its last three opponents to a combined 13-39 conversion success rate on third down, a percentage of 33.3. In fact, in third-down conversion attempts of more than two yards, the Pirates have held all eight of their opponents to a paltry combined success rate of 28.1 percent (25-89).
This could be an issue for the Hokies who are 65th in the nation in third down conversions, going 41-105 on the season (39.1 percent). During the last two losses, Virginia Tech is just 8-23 on third down conversions (34.8 percent).
The Pirates are one of the better teams in converting on third down as they are 54-120 (45 percent) in the year. They will be facing a solid third down defense however as the Hokies are allowing opponents to convert just 34.4 percent (44-128).
In case you missed it earlier, coming off a loss in its previous game, Virginia Tech is 14-2 ATS when playing with revenge against a winning team.
However, the Pirates have been good in these spots as it is 4-0 ATS in its last four home games as an underdog of 10.5 or more points and they are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games as a home underdog overall.
Virginia Tech is 7-0 to the ‘Under’ when playing on a Thursday over the last three years, averaging just 32.8 ppg in those contests and the Hokies are 6-0 to the ‘Under’ with Beamer when coming off a loss by three points or fewer.