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NCAA Football: Virginia Looks Sneaky +19 at Miami
Top Line Handicapping
If I say it once, I'll say it ten thousand times: numbers, trends and stats are important, but they are second-fiddle to intangibles like motivation when handicapping college football. We have a 6-4 Virginia team visiting a surging 9-0 Miami squad a week after the latter team stomped Notre Dame and ascended into the college football playoff top 4.
When most of the wagering public look at this line, they'll have the Canes nationally televised dismantling of the Fighting Irish still fresh in their minds. If they look just a little further, they'll see that Virginia was trounced last week 38-21 at Louisville.
Based on this limited purview, the 19-point spread here might seem about right. To this line of thinking I'll quote Lee Corse and say "not so fast my friend."
Virginia has been inconsistent this year, but has had its moments beating a solid Georgia Tech squad two weeks ago (a team Miami beat by a single point on October 14), and hammering 25th ranked Boise State earlier this season. Virginia has played much better than it looked last week against Louisville and its defense should appreciate not having to face Lamar Jackson this week.
Meanwhile, if we can look past Miami's visually impressive dominance of Notre Dame last week, we see a cluster of close wins against marginal opponents including a four-point win over Florida State and a five-point win over North Carolina in the last six weeks. The Canes have proven to play down to their level of competition this season and are due for a letdown after the emotionally-charged win last week.
How Miami handles the prosperity of being the #3 ranked team in the latest college football playoff poll is anybody's guess, but this is certainly uncharted territory for a program that has not played in the ACC championship game since joining the league in 2004.
On the opposite sideline, Virginia became bowl eligible two weeks ago and still has plenty to play for in terms of improving the quality of its postseason lot. Getting a whopping 19 points against a Miami team that figures to be in cruise control seems a generous betting proposition. The noon kickoff for this game also works in favor of the Cavaliers as they figure to encounter a docile version of the Hurricane faithful.
How To Bet This One
This game may not deserve a double-down play, but it certainly stands out as an opportunity to beat the book. Virginia isn't likely to attract a great deal of wagering interest, so I recommended waiting closer to kickoff to see if you can get a few extra points of cushion. That said, I'm on the Wahoos and coach Bronco Mendenhall to keep things close for a while against what I'm expecting to be a less-than-exuberant Miami team.TAKE Virginia +19 Bovada
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