Another week of games has given us a better sense of who all of these teams are going to be in 2017. While some of the Coastal Division seems to be falling apart, others like Virginia Tech and UVa seem to be surging a bit. This weekend, we should get an even better sense of how these teams stack up.
So let's get started...
UVa (-3.5) at North Carolina
For the first time since the Virginia Tech game in Blacksburg a couple of years ago, Virginia is a road favorite as the Hoos head to Chapel Hill. They passed a test last week in the win over Duke as they could have very easily failed to continue their momentum after the Boise win. Now they get a stretch of three very winnable games before a tough November slate. The Tar Heels, meanwhile, have not shown much fight lately, having been outscored 93-34 in their last three games. The offense is struggling to get much going while the defense is getting gashed on the ground. They've given up 744 yards rushing the last two weeks against Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. Looking at the odds, UVa has covered eight of its last 12 road games with only two of those being in outright victories. I'm sure some of you are reading this and will roll your eyes but I don't know if I'm quite ready to lay points on the road with the Hoos. Yes, everything is going well, but we've seen both the Browns and Jets road favorites in the NFL and only New York won outright. I'll probably sit this one out and kick myself afterwards when the Cavs win easily.
NC State (-12) at Pitt
Everyone laughed at SEC Network's Cole Cubelic when he put the Wolfpack in his NCAA playoff projection. We are still a long ways away from that, but this team continues to pass each hurdle thrown in it's way outside of the weird loss to South Carolina. Ryan Finley is leading this offense to 471 yards per game while the defense is clamping down on the run. The Panthers are doing neither of those and have been a massive disappointment this season. Their two wins were by seven over Youngstown State and by 32 over Rice. They lost a tough one in the Carrier Dome last week and are going to struggle to get bowl eligible especially as Max Browne's shoulder injury will force him to miss the rest season. Pitt is 4-11 against the spread at home over its last 16 contests there. NC State, meanwhile, is 8-4 against the spread in its last 12 road games. I've said it multiple times in my articles: I just will not lay this many points on the road with anyone. It's not a smart decision because you are asking for trouble. The Pack have been favored four times this season and have not covered once.
Florida State (-7) at Duke
There are several situations to consider here. You've got Florida State coming off a gut-wrenching loss to rival Miami in which the Noles allowed a late touchdown to lose. That makes them 1-3 on the season and any hopes of an ACC title are gone. You also have a Duke team that lost in Charlottesville and has now shown leaks the last two weeks. The Blue Devils aren't getting much from their passing game and the defense lets them down at the wrong times. Still, how can you bet on a Seminoles team right now that is losing motivation left and right? To me there are two ways to play this: The under and the home underdog. The question is if you think Duke has been exposed and doesn't have the athletes to keep up in this one. Seven is a key number when it comes to betting football so I may not be as interested if this line falls to 6.5.
Georgia Tech at Miami (-5.5)
Georgia Tech is the team that we really aren't paying enough attention to. One of those reasons is because the Jackets haven't really played anyone nor have they left home for any true road games yet. The loss to Tennessee in week one was a neutral field contest and since then they've feasted on Jacksonville State, Pitt, and UNC. They have had an extra week to prepare for this one and I'll be interested to see if Miami is a little full of itself after the win over FSU. RB Mark Walton being lost for the year is a big blow to the Miami offense, though. The Hurricanes have won the last two meetings by double digits despite allowing almost 600 yards on the ground to them combined. The Canes are also 15-5 against the spread over their last 21 games as a favorite. The money is pouring in on the road team in this one. If it keeps going down, there's going to be value with Miami tonight.
For more insight on the odds, follow Matt on Twitter at @MidMajorMatt and find more of his picks and selections at Sportscapping.com where he handicaps college football and specializes in the Group of 5 (although the ACC is also in his wheelhouse). You can also listen to his show "Border to Border" from 11 a.m. to noon on ESPN 950 AM and 102.7 FM in Richmond.