Old Dominion Monarchs vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Date and Time: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 2 p.m. ET
Location: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
Opening College Football Odds: Virginia Tech -27.5
Old Dominion vs. Virginia Tech TV Coverage: ACC Network
ODU has certainly come a lot farther in just a couple seasons in the top flight than most do at their infancy stages. The Monarchs won the Bahamas Bowl last season, and they seem poised to make a return to a bowl game this year. They've done exactly what they're supposed to have done, beating Albany and UMass while struggling against North Carolina, and this is another game that figures to go in the loss column.
Blake LaRussa was involved in a fierce quarterback battle in training camp, and it's now totally clear that he hasn't ultimately won it. All three of LaRussa, Steven Williams and Jordan Hoy have taken snaps this year for ODU, and all three have had their problems for sure.
That said, Williams was already named the starter for this week's game against the Hokies, and coach Bobby Wilder really has no choice but to stick with his freshman and hope for the best. Williams is just 17-years old and probably isn't ready for this moment, but he's considered to be one of the smarter players on the team and could pick up some nuances in a hurry.
Justin Fuente promotes this whole idea of going 1-0 every week, and his team has managed to do that without much in the way of muss or fuss. A 31-24 win over West Virginia was a bit of a scrap for sure, but Delaware and East Carolina provided zero resistance whatsoever.
If you're going to stop the Hokies this year, you'd better be prepared to match up with Cam Phillips. Phillips has been a monster this season, catching 27 passes for 417 yards and five touchdowns in just three games, and it felt like every single one of those came last week in a 64-17 romp of ECU.
Still, the Hokies wouldn't be what they are without the play of Josh Jackson. Jackson has accounted for just shy of 1,000 total yards in three games this year, and he has yet to throw an interception. Fuente's teams are always at their best when they aren't turning the ball over, and this V-Tech team is doing that in fine fashion thus far this year.
Betting Trends of Note
What's sad for the Monarchs is that it doesn't feel like they're really getting any closer to beating any of the big boys either. They played against N.C. State in their first full season with FBS status and lost 46-34, and they haven't gotten any closer since then.
With the loss to North Carolina last week included, Old Dominion is 0-3 ATS against teams from Power Five conferences since covering that very first game in Raleigh. Most of the games haven't been all that close to the point spread.
Old Dominion vs. Virginia Tech Free Picks
The Monarchs can't possibly get any worse play from Williams than they did from LaRussa. The frosh actually handled himself alright last week against UNC, and we have to wonder if he's going to do alright here in Blacksburg.
Make no mistake that this is a tall order, but the Hokies aren't usually dropping 60 on the board as they did last week against the Pirates. We're not saying this ODU team is better than that ECU team, but we think V-Tech is overstated just a bit by all of the top online sportsbooks who put out early spreads on this game. We'll take the points.
College Football ATS Pick: Old Dominion +27.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Virginia Tech 37, Old Dominion 13