The Clemson Tigers vs. the Virginia Tech Hokies is, as far as offshore bookmakers are concerned, the biggest game of the week, confirmed by the fact that ESPN’s “College GameDay” will return to Blacksburg following an absence of ten years. “Obviously it’s just the first ACC game, but you’re talking about a premier team coming into our place here again,” Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said via Roanoke.com. “And we’ve had some of those kind of squads come into our place and it just should be a great atmosphere.”
- Date: September 30th
- Time: 8:05 PM
- Venue: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
Clemson -7½ (EV) -290
Virginia Tech +7½ (-120) +245
If the Tigers were band, they’d only play original songs
Clemson would not, if instead of a college football team it were a rock band, play covers. The Tigers would, though, be a hard-touring band. Clemson have won 10 straight true road games since 2015, outscoring opponents by a margin of 15½ points on average. They have been, however, only able to cover in 60% of those games. The Tigers have, by the same token, gone 4-1 straight-up in their last five meetings with the Hokies, but 1-4 against the spread in their last five visits to Virginia Tech. Clemson is, on the other hand, 4-0 ATS against schools with a winning record, 5-1 ATS in their last six September games, 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall and 4-1 ATS in the last five games after a straight-up win. The Hokies are, conversely, 6-1 ATS in the last seven games on grass, 5-1 ATS in their last six games at home, and 5-1 ATS in their last six games played in September. Clemson starting QB Kelley Bryant has been, as offshore bookmakers know, great on the through but just so-so on the air, the latter at least in partly the fault of the offensive line. On defense, the Tigers’ 4.2 sacks per game defense could be crucial to Clemson covering the spread.
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) September 24, 2017
And speaking of defense, the Hokies recorded, against Old Dominion on Saturday, their second shutout of the season, 38-0. Starting QB Josh Jackson, who is completing 65.2% of his passes with 11 touchdowns and just one pick, finished 20 of 30 for 298 of VA Tech’s whopping 582 total yards. Additionally, Steven Peoples scored three TDs and posted 135 all-purpose yards, while Cam Phillips had seven receptions for 106 yards. The Hokies offense struggle early but scored touchdowns on five of their six possessions starting in the second quarter. Defensively, Virginia Tech allowed Old Dominion, who crossed the midfield only once and crossed the midfield stripe just once, just 149 total yards.
The Tigers and the Hokies combined for 77 points and 856 yards of offense in the 2016 ACC Championship Game, but V-Tech’s habit of getting to a slow offensive start, as well as both teams’ nigh impenetrable defenses seem to indicate that the total, as set by offshore bookmakers, might, as it has in six of the last eight overall encounters between the two programs and four of their last five clashes at Blacksburg, go under.