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Virginia vs. Miami ATS Picks

NCAAF Week 12 Lines

The Miami Hurricanes have a legitimate gripe to be the No. 1 team in America after clocking Notre Dame last weekend. They won't get that high, of course, but the coast is clear at this point for the Canes to get into the College Football Playoff for the first time.

That said, the Virginia Cavaliers could provide a potential landmine in the whole plan, as this is a team that is 6-4 and has played some big games against really good teams this season. "The U" can't afford a letdown.

Virginia Cavaliers vs. Miami Hurricanes
Date and Time
: Saturday, November 18, 2017, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
Opening College Football Odds: Miami -17
Virginia vs. Miami TV Coverage: ABC

If you didn't know before, "The U" is back.

Miami has raced out to a 9-0 start, and unlike before when there were questions about who it has beaten, there are no further inquiries to be had. Sure, the Hurricanes have had all of their toughest games this season at home, but they've taken care of all of their business and have proven they're truly elite.

If there is a knock on this team, it's that the talent offensively isn't brand name by any stretch of the imagination. Malik Rosier has thrown for 2,401 yards and 20 touchdowns, but he doesn't have a single receiver with 500 or more receiving yards this season. Travis Homer has 758 rushing yards and six touchdowns, but he's no Mark Walton, the injured superstar running back who will miss the rest of the campaign.

Still, 9-0 is 9-0, and we're at the point that we should be asking what it's going to take to beat Miami, not what it's going to take for Miami to win out.

In some ways, Virginia has been through a lot of the same issues Miami has had. The team has found a way to win close games against Duke, North Carolina and Georgia Tech, and it has a massive signature win at Boise State from back in September.

Still, the Hoos have dropped three of their last four games, and they're not good bets to get a seventh win this season before whatever bowl game they get to. A 38-21 loss to Louisville last week showed just how far away they really are from a team like Miami, and that's why all of the top college football sportsbooks have lined them as double-digit dogs in this game.

Kurt Benkert has had his moments for sure in his senior season. He's thrown a pick in four consecutive games, a factor we're discuss in a moment, but he also had a 455-yard game against Connecticut back in September. With 2,492 yards and 21 touchdowns, Benkert definitely saved his best season for his last.

Key Factor

This whole "Turnover Chain" thing in Miami is starting to get old if you're from anywhere else in America. In South Beach, though, this chain has become a true icon and is something to rally around.

The Hurricanes have busted out the Turnover Chain a total of 24 times this season, including doing so four or more times in four straight games. Miami is now the first time to force four turnovers or more in four consecutive games since 2011.

It's almost like that Turnover Chain is what motivates these Miami players to come up with big play after big play on that side of the ball. Plus, it's like the first turnover almost leads to the next turnover, and this becomes an avalanche before you know it.

Virginia hasn't done great job securing the football in recent weeks, and if it can't figure out how to hold onto the football in this game, this could end up being a bit of a laugher.

Virginia vs. Miami Free Picks

Three of the four teams Virginia has been blown out by this year have tempo-based offenses, many of which have mobile quarterbacks who are able to make big plays happen in chunks. Miami doesn't fit that mold at all, and its defense is the only reason it's still in the national discussion.

That win over Notre Dame definitely deserves a ton of respect, but aside from that, what has Miami accomplished? It should have lost to both Florida State and Georgia Tech, and wins over Syracuse and North Carolina definitely involved more nail-biting than they should have.

Though we see no reason why Miami won't get to 10-0 in this game, Virginia is going to hang in there and push "The U" once again.

College Football ATS Pick: Virginia +17 at
College Football Score Prediction: Miami 28, Virginia 21