Virginia Vs. Georgia Tech Odds, Picks, Predictions (10/20/22)

We’re in for a special edition of Thursday night football- not the low-scoring Amazon Prime product, college football on a weeknight. It’ll be an ACC conference matchup, with Virginia taking the trip down to Atlanta to take on the Wramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech. Virginia are 2-4 and looking for their first conference win of the season, while Tech are sitting right at .500 with a 2-1 conference record, including a nice road win over Pitt. Let’s take a look at the odds and see what we can expect between these two teams in tonight’s matchup.

Virginia Vs. Georgia Tech Odds

As the generally better side, as well as the home team, I’m a little surprised to see Georgia Tech favored by just 3 in this one. The points total of 47 is much more understandable; neither offense is particularly high-powered, and neither defense is catastrophically bad, so this one could be quite reminiscent of NFL Thursday Night Football in terms of scoring output.

Virginia Vs. Georgia Tech Prediction & Pick

After following up last year’s dismal 3-9 season with a 1-3 start this year, Georgia Tech dismissed head coach Geoff Collins. Assistant Head Coach and O-Line coach Brent Key has stepped into the role as an interim, and sure enough, the change of leadership was just what was needed; his team is 2-0 since. They’ve done it largely by running the football on offense, to the tune of 150 yards per game, and trying to force opponents to do the same on defense, as they’ve allowed just over 200 passing yards per game this year, as compared to 181 on the ground.

Virginia’s Cavaliers are also led by a new head coach, but unlike Key, Tony Elliott had a full offseason to settle into the role after his predecessor, Bronco Mendenhall, resigned at the end of a second-consecutive .500 campaign in 2021. They don’t have that signature win yet, but they do have a signature loss, of sorts; they played an extremely tight game up in Syracuse, where the now-highly ranked Orangemen needed a game winning field goal with just over a minute remaining to sink the Cavaliers.

QB Brennan Armstrong has failed to produce similar results to his prolific 2021 season, as he’s tossed up more picks than touchdowns thus far. They’ve had a solid defense this season, allowing just 17.8 points per game, but according to PFF, they have the very worst offense amongst all Power-5 schools, and are a bottom-5 team in that group. Fortunately for them, and for anyone looking to see a competitive ballgame, Georgia Tech are ranked just three spots higher.

As I alluded to in the odds discussion, I will be taking Georgia Tech against the spread in this game. It’s a relatively tight number, and it would be great to find -2.5 to secure winnings on that not-too-niche win by a field goal, but a push isn’t the end of the world, and I frankly expect them to cover by a good bit regardless. Simply put, they’re not an incredible team but they do almost everything a bit better than Virginia, and they have outstanding momentum under their new leadership; and on top of it all, they’re playing at home. For the points total, I’ll be taking the under. There’s a good amount of positives on defense for both sides, and pretty much none on Virginia’s offense, so nearly 24 points per team seems a bit high to me.

Virginia Vs. Georgia Tech Key Matchups

Will Georgia Tech be able to run the ball on this Virginia front? How will Virginia’s wide receivers fare against these Georgia Tech DB’s? Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Virginia vs Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech Rushing Offense vs. Virginia Run Defense

Georgia Tech have had just about an average performance from their rushers amongst FBS schools, 37th in Power-5 by PFF’s estimation; but their offensive line is just 56th amongst the 64 P5 schools in run blocking. None of their full-time starters have a grade above 60, and even counting guys who have been in and out of the lineup, the highest mark is guard Joe Fusile’s 62, a pretty pedestrian number. QB Jeff Sims actually leads the team in carries with 84, but he hasn’t been too efficient with them, picking up just 3.4 yards on average and finding the end zone once. Hassan Hall’s 330 yards lead the team, while Dontae Smith is tops with 3 touchdowns, and 200 yards on little more than half as many carries as Hall.

They’ll be trying to move the ball against a run defense that is a strength for Virginia, 43rd among Power-5 in PFF’s ratings but an outstanding 13th in the entire nation by EPA/play. They are allowing north of 160 ground yards per game, but that’s on more than 40 rushes, so they’ve certainly limited the big play. The UVa front seven’s run prevention is anchored by edge rusher Kameron Butler, who has only missed 2 tackles thus far, and has a solid average depth of tackle at 3.4 yards. If Virginia can limit the run and make Georgia Tech go to the air, it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to stay in control and win the game comfortably enough to cover, or even win at all.

Virginia Wide Receivers vs. Georgia Tech DBs

Despite the struggles of Armstrong at QB, Virginia is trotting out some receivers who have managed to put up solid numbers. Former Mississippi State transfer Keytaon Thompson is leading the way with a very respectable total of 449 yards on 41 catches, both team-highs, although he has yet to find the end zone through the air (ironically, he has picked up a rushing score). Dontayvion Wicks is the #2 option with over 300 yards and a touchdown, while Lavel Davis has only 14 catches, but he’s averaging over 20 yards on each and is the only Virginia wideout with multiple scores in the passing game.

Georgia Tech has been solid in preventing air offense, ranking 30th in PFF’s coverage grade and a very impressive 10th in overall pass defense, as per EPA. They’re led by the versatile Charlie Thomas, the only Yellow Jacket who has picked off multiple passes this season. Safety LaMiles Brooks has also been excellent, garnering the secondary’s only coverage grade over 80, and has 3 pass breakups to go along with a pick and no penalties. If Tech can continue to have solid pass coverage at multiple levels of the defense, it’s hard to imagine Virginia running the ball to victory; this could be a key to an easy win for the home team.

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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