Last Updated Sep 01, 2021, 8:00 AM

UNC vs. Virginia Tech Predictions, Odds, Preview

Sept. 3, 2021
Joe Williams
VI Betting Expert

UNC Tar Heels vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Predictions

Score Prediction - UNC 40 Virginia Tech 31

The North Carolina Tar Heels are looking to build upon last season's impressive showing which resulted in a New Year's Day bowl appearance in Miami against Texas A&M in the Orange Bowl. They'll lean heavily upon Heisman candidate QB Sam Howell in an opener on the road in what has traditionally been a very difficult place to play. The crowd will be at full throat at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, too, although the Virginia Tech Hokies aren't quite as feared as they once were.

UNC enters with a Top 10 ranking, but the last time they rose so high they were knocked off. Last season on Oct. 17, they headed to Florida State with a No. 5 ranking in tow and suffered a 31-28 loss. And, the last time they appeared in the Commonwealth of Virginia, they were dumped 44-41 on Halloween against the Cavaliers, failing as 7.5-point favorites.

These teams met at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill on Oct. 10 last season, and the Tar Heels picked up a thrilling 56-45 victory as 3.5-point favorites, nearly taking care of the OVER 59.5 on their own. The Heels gouged the Hokies for 399 yards on the ground, while Howell passed for 257 yards and three touchdowns while running for 19 more.

In that loss, QB Hendon Hooker tossed a pair of touchdowns, but he is now matriculating at Tennessee. QB Braxton Burmeister completed 7-of-15 for 79 yards, while running for 51 yards on 11 tries. He is expected to do the heavy lifting under center this season, and that's one reason to side with the visitors. The quality at quarterback is night and day between these two teams. The only concern for the Tar Heels is the bevy of new faces in the backfield and at the receiver positions. But all indications are good that Howell has jelled nicely with the newcomers, especially true freshman WR Gavin Blackwell, who could be a star in the making. Keep an eye on WR Josh Downs and RB Ty Chandler, who transferred in.

UNC has gone OVER the point total in five straight games when facing a school from Virginia. (AP)

UNC Tar Heels vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Best Bets

  • North Carolina -5.5
  • OVER 64.5 (-110)

UNC Tar Heels vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Game Odds

  • North Carolina -210
  • Virginia Tech +170
  • North Carolina (-5.5) -110
  • Virginia Tech (+5.5) -110
  • Over 64.5 (-110)
  • Under 64.5 (-110)

Odds per BetMGM - Subject to Change

UNC Tar Heels vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Betting Resources

  • Venue: Lane Stadium
  • Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
  • TV-Time: ESPN - 6:00 p.m. ET

UNC Tar Heels vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Betting Analysis

The Tar Heels have sky high expectations, as they're expected by many talking heads to be the favorites in the Coastal Division, and the biggest threat to the Clemson Tigers in the ACC. But it could all get derailed in a hurry if they start off sluggish against Virginia Tech.

It will be interesting to see how players adjust after playing the past year in front of just a smattering of fans, or no fans at all. Going to places like Lane Stadium in Blacksburg is always intimidating, even if the team across the field is a bit on the mediocre side. Howell and the heels have tons of expectations heaped upon their shoulders, too, so there is a lot of pressure. It might be the highest expectations for any team in North Carolina football history. Can they pass their first test?

The problem with the Heels isn't on the offensive side of the ball, it's defense. Remember, this is a Hokies team which hung 45 on the Heels at Kenan last season. And while Hooker has moved along, and Burmeister is a bit green, he'll have plenty of solid targets in TE James Mitchell and WRs Tayvion Robinson and Tre Turner. The Hokies also have three of five starters back on the offensive line, so Burmeister will have protection, too.

On defense, Virginia Tech will need DE Amare Barno to put pressure on Howell, and CB Jermaine Waller to be his pre-injury self to slow down the pass game down field. The D allowed 32.1 PPG last season, and that's a scary number to anybody considering backing the home side.

UNC Tar Heels vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Betting Trends

  • North Carolina has cashed the OVER in six of its past eight games overall.
  • North Carolina has hit the OVER in four straight games away from home.
  • Three of the past four meetings in this series have cashed the OVER.
  • Virginia Tech lost and failed to cover both times as an underdog in 2020.
  • Virginia Tech cashed the UNDER in each of his past four home games vs. ACC.

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