Virginia at Miami, Fl.

Editor's Note: Don't miss out on College Football winners from Matt Blunt on Click to win!

No. 20 Virginia at Miami, Fl.

Venue/Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Fl.
Time/TV: Friday, Oct. 11 (ESPN, 8:00 p.m. ET)
Line: Miami -2, Total 44

Recent Meetings:
2018: Virginia (+7) vs. Miami, Fl. 13, Under 46.5
2017: Miami, Fl. (-19.5) 44 vs. Virginia 28, Over 49
2016: Miami, Fl. (-9.5) 34 at Virginia, Under 54.5

Two ranked teams are in action on Friday night, but it's the one that's out on the road that I'm looking at today.

Virginia – fresh off their first loss of the year two weeks ago to Notre Dame – head down to Miami to take on a Hurricanes team that's seemingly already underperformed relative the lofty goals the Hurricanes and their fanbase put on the team every year. At 2-3 SU, Miami fans probably figured their team's record would look much better at this point of the year, but that's clearly not the case. Sometimes a football team just isn't as good as many expected them to be, for a myriad of reasons, and that's the question many handicappers are asking themselves about the Miami Hurricanes this week.

Miami did open as a small favorite for this game and saw some early support to bump the spread up a touch. But after narrowly escaping with a win against Central Michigan as 30-point favorites two games ago, Miami lost again – after having two weeks to prepare – as big favorites, this time laying 14 points to Virginia Tech.

So, is Miami being the favorite and getting some early support warranted? Or will this Hurricanes team that's already 0-3 ATS as favorites against FBS competition be a money burner again?

CFB Odds: Virginia vs Miami (-2.5); Total set at 44

Now that conference play is in full swing across the country, I know there will be talk of games like this each week where we've got an unranked squad like Miami laying points to a ranked team. Generally speaking, there is a theory that laying the points in those situations turns out better then not, but that's the problem with talking in generalities when dealing with specifics.

The specifics for this game is that Miami is a struggling team with much less rest, and probably getting considered more for the program's historical reputation then what they've shown on the football field thus far. The Hurricanes hung tough with Florida on opening day back in late-August, but since then it's really been nothing but downhill for this team against the number. Having played last Saturday and now turning around to play on a Friday – against a team that had last week off – isn't a brutal scheduling spot, but it's not great either.

The time off for Virginia likely negates any sort of hangover effect the Cavaliers may have after suffering their first loss of the year, and it probably humbled them to a degree. Working that much harder during two weeks of practice is probably not a bad thing for a Virginia team that's still ranked in the polls and looking to remain there. And given what film study has shown them the past two weeks, chances are they'll have an edge mentally as well for this game.

Taking the line and the total together as one suggests that points will be at a premium in this game, and that we probably won't get anyone coming back from anything like an early two-TD deficit. Given that Virginia's defense holds edges in nearly every category other then rush yards allowed per attempt and per game, and Miami has allowed at least 24 points to all three Power 5 programs they've faced this season, I believe you've got to favor Virginia's prospects offensively in this game as well.

Rest-wise things line up on Virginia's side, record-wise things line up Virginia's way, and the Cavaliers hold the edge in the majority of statistical categories on both sides of the ball as well. Add it all up and then throw in Miami's underperforming nature this year, and you get a game where it may not be one of those “wrong team is favored” contests per se, but the favorite sure has a lot working against them to get a W.

With the underdog 13-2 ATS in the last 15 meetings between these two games – including 8-1 ATS the last nine – and a perfect 4-0 ATS when the line has been single digits in that span, give me the Cavaliers in this game on Friday night.

Best Bet: Virginia +2.5

YTD Record: 2-4 ATS