Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Date and Time: Monday, December 31, 2018, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
Opening CFB Odds: Cincinnati -5.5, 53.5
Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech TV Coverage: ESPN
After incurring back-to-back 4-8 campaigns that saw them go 4-8 and 3-9 ATS the previous two seasons, the Bearcats punched their ticket to the bowl season by way of winning 10 of 12 overall games and going a lucrative 7-5 against the closing CFB betting odds. The pair of defeats came against Temple and UCF in East Division play with both squads going on to partake in bowl games themselves. The ‘Natti brings with it a powerful rushing attack spearheaded by Michael Warren II as well as an unforgiving defense ranked amongst the best in the country in points allowed ( No. 16 ).
There were some pretty big expectations at the outset of the season with Justin Fuente entering his third year overlooking the program and Josh Jackson back to lead the offense off a stellar showing the previous season. Unfortunately, Jackson was lost early on due to a broken leg. Because of it, the offense was never fully able to live up to those expectations. On top of that, Bud Foster’s defense took a major step back and it will have its hands full contending with Cincy’s efficient attack. VTECH did however close the regular season strong with wins over Miami and Marshall, and will be looking to start another bowl win streak after losing and failing to cover against Oklahoma State last year.
222.2 YPG – This is the amount of rushing yards the Hokies conceded on a gamely basis over the course of the regular season. That ranks out at No. 110 in the country, and the healthy 5.6 yards per carry checks in at No. 122. This game will all boil down to Virginia Tech’s ability to limit Warren II on the ground. If they can, the Hokies will have a fighting chance. If not, they could get worked! With Cincinnati being dominant rushing the pigskin all season, it comes as no surprise that they ranked No. 11 in time of possession. If they can get off the field on third down, VTECH will compete. The Hokies were above average in that department in allowing a 38.4 conversion percentage ( No. 55 ).
Player To Watch
Ryan Willis - With Jackson out of the fold and the Bearcats likely to look to salt the game away on the ground, it will be up to Willis to give the Hokies a puncher’s chance of competing in this matchup at online sportsbooks. The KU transfer did a heck of a job filling in once Jackson was lost for the year by throwing for nearly 2,500 yards and logging a 22:8 TD/INT ratio while completing just under 59 percent of his passes. He’s going to need to be on top of his game in this one with Cincinnati ranked No. 23 against the pass in allowing just 193.1 yards per game. VTECH doesn’t have a running back likely to do much damage on the ground with the Bearcats stout against the run as well ( No. 9 ), so the odds are clearly stacked against the Hokies making this much of a contest.
Bet the Military Bowl at BookMaker.eu
I project this matchup as being one of the more one-sided of the bowl season. While the time off will serve Virginia Tech will to scheme and get its head right, I foresee Cincinnati being out for blood in hopes of scalping a highly esteemed ACC opponent to put an end to its bowl win drought. The Bearcats are simply just the master class in this matchup. While the caliber of opposition faced was far from the greatest, Cincy murdered the teams it was supposed to and battled tough in the tighter matchups. Cincy doesn’t turn the ball over, doesn’t give up much defensively, has an excellent rushing attack, gets after the quarterback, and forces turnovers. It’s only bugaboo is an absurd amount of penalties ( No. 119 ). If that was rectified with extra bowl practices, I don’t foresee an overmatched VTECH team hanging within double digits.
CFB ATS Betting Pick: Cincinnati -5.5 at BookMaker.eu
CFB Score Prediction: Bearcats 34 – Hokies 21