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West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Point Spread - Pick

West Virginia Mountaineers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 7:30PM EST
Where: Fed Ex Field, Landover, Maryland
TV: ABC

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: WVU +4.5/VT -4.5
Over/Under Total: 51.5

The West Virginia Mountaineers meet the Virginia Tech Hokies at FedEx Field in Landover on Sunday in week one college football action. Both teams are comparable, at least in the rankings where Virginia Tech and West Virginia are neck-and-neck at 21st and 22nd, respectively. Both teams enter the season with big plans and getting off to a winning start is critical for both teams. Each squad is coming off ten-win seasons and there is well-placed optimism on both sides.

After the long tenure of Frank Beamer, Justin Fuente was able to get in there and get a really good season out of the Hokies in '16. Some question his ability to repeat that success with some key voids looming on both sides of the ball. Last season, Virginia Tech beat a slew of good teams, losing a close one in the ACC title game to eventual CFP champion Clemson. The offense was pretty good, but this season, a lot of questions need to be answered in the affirmative starting with redshirt freshman Josh Jackson at quarterback. He had a year to digest the offense and could be Tech's new dual-threat field general. Asking him to hit the ground running could be asking a lot, but he should be okay.

The Hokies also have issues up-front and with their aerial targets. The line appears to be in pretty good shape with some returning experience, but anytime you lose a good left tackle and center, a wait-and-see approach might be in order. At receiver, Cam Phillips has shown himself to be a good weapon, but they lost some key guys and could be seeing a drop-off in that department. They really need some big performances from running backs Trevor McMillian and Steven Peoples. There is always a youngster in this program who is able to shine, as well.

Virginia Tech longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster returns 7 starters to a "D" that has a lot going for it. With a few good breaks, their secondary could end up being one of the best in the nation this season. Safeties Devon Hunter and Reggie Floyd, along with Terrell Edmonds and his brother Trumanine should be able to shine. At linebacker, the hopes are also sky-high with guys like Mook Reynolds and Andrew Motuapuaka—linebackers that are really good cover guys. What will determine if this defense is one of the best in the nation comes down to a line that lost 3 of 4 starters. With Foster working his magic, one should expect a defense that is at least among the best in the ACC.

West Virginia returns even less, with only 9 starters coming back for 2017. Head coach Dana Holgorsen usually gets a lot out of what he has and more of the same should be expected in 2017. Last season, a 6-0 start dissolved a bit with a 4-3 finish. With a lot of departing talent and that sour ending, a good start to this season would really help. Holgorsen looks to repeat the same kind of balance on offense that he had last year when the Mountaineers averaged 257 yards through the air and 228 rushing yards per game.

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A lot will be asked of transfer Will Grier. The last time we saw Grier, he was getting Florida off to a 6-0 start before a PED bust led to a suspension and eventual transfer. Grier hopes to get some production out of a run-game that features Justin Crawford, who ran for 1184 yards last season. That's a good piece to have when a QB is trying to work his way back into action. What isn't good to have, however, is an offensive line that has some voids, including All-American center Tyler Orlovsky. Matt Jones looks to fill in, while Colten McKivitz gets to show his potential at right tackle and LT Yodny Cajuste returns from an ACL.

While one can imagine West Virginia getting their offense on the right track, it might be another story with a "D" that returns only 3 starters. They will need some people to over-perform to avoid a significant drop-off, even in a Big 12 conference noted for bad defenses. Middle linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton is a very good anchor piece to build around, but up-front will see a lot of new faces. The secondary could be pretty good, with S Dravon Askew-Henry back from injury, along with corners Kyzir White, Mike Daniels, and Elijah Battle. Whether they'll be good enough to make up for a front that can't get much right remains to be seen.

If forced to pick, one could be within their rights to say Virginia Tech might have the better season this year when it's all said and done. But expecting this Virginia Tech offense to flourish from game one might be asking a lot. In a neutral site game such as this to open the season, against what should still be a decent team in WVU, I don't feel that comfortable laying more than a few points on the Hokies. I'll take the Mountaineers and the points.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the West Virginia Mountaineers plus 4.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the WVU-VT game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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