Bowl Week includes a matchup of teams that did meet the expectations set out for them at the start of the year. Not much was expected from the Cincinnati Bearcats at the start if the 2018 season and yet from their opening day win at UCLA they continued to surprise both on the field and at the payout window. For the Virginia Tech Hokies, a shot at the Coastal Division title of the Atlantic Coast Conference was the expectation. Instead they had to force schedule an extra last home game to barely maintain their bowl streak and get to six wins. The Bearcats and Hokies will meet in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman.
Kickoff for the Military Bowl is set for Monday, December 31, 2018, at noon ET at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland. TV coverage is on ESPN
NCAA Football Betting at BookMaker.eu
Virginia Tech +6.5
Live Betting Odds Analysis
The live betting has moved towards Cincinnati not necessarily because of anything that the Bearcats did but because of the terrible season by Virginia Tech, which served to alienate a lot of gamblers.
Cincinnati Posts Rebound Season with Fickell
The Cincinnati Bearcats return to a bowl game for the first time since 2015 and had quite a turnaround from their 4-8 record last year in head coach Luke Fickell’s first season on the job. The Bearcats established themselves in week one with a 26-17 win at the UCLA Bruins as 14-point dogs. That game was considered a lock for UCLA as it was Chip Kelly’s first game as their head coach but UC controlled the contest from the start. The win set the tone for a breakout season in which the Bearcats earned their first 10-win season since 2012. Cincinnati finished 10-2 straight up, 7-5 vs. the odds, and 5-7 under the total. UC finished third in the American Athletic Conference East Division.
Hokie Pokey on Gamblers
This was a highly disappointing season for Virginia Tech especially considering that they are in the weak Coastal Division of the ACC that should be theirs for the taking. After a 2-0 start the Hokies lost at Old Dominion 49-35 to send shock waves throughout the country. Third year head coach Justin Fuente arrived at Blacksburg with great fanfare and was heralded as a savior. Yet the program is eroding under his command. After going 10-4 in 2016 Fuente was 9-4 last year before falling to 6-6 for the 2018 season. Most important of all the Hokies finished in the red at 5-7 against the spread with 7-4-1 over the total. Virginia Tech had to scramble to schedule a final home game against Marshall after an earlier game was cancelled due to a hurricane. The Hokies 41-20 home win salvaged a bowl bid and kept their streak for bowl seasons alive at 26 straight.
Virginia Tech had national rankings of 61st for scoring offense and a very alarming 99th for total defense to go with 85th for scoring defense. The famed defensive coordinator Bud Foster is known for fielding strong defensive units which made this season a stunning reversal.
Cincinnati ranked an impressive 25th in the nation for overall offense as well as for scoring. Defensively the Bearcats were even more impressive with national rankings of seventh for both total and scoring defense.
Players to Watch
Cincinnati running back Michael Warren II ran for 1163 yards, 5.2 yards per carry and 17 touchdowns. Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder had an impressive 19/5 touchdown to interception ratio.
Quarterback Ryan Willis pilots the Hokies attack. Willis threw for 22 touchdown passes and 2497 yards on the season.
Free Live Betting ATS Pick
Virginia has covered just one of their last five as a post season dog. Cincinnati proved to be the superior team and value this year.
NCAA Football Odds
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