This Saturday the No. 2 ranked Miami Hurricanes (9-0, 6-0 ACC) will host the Virginia Cavaliers (6-4, 3-3 ACC). Kickoff is set for 12:00 EST at Hard Rock Stadium and will be televised nationally on ABC.
Oddsmakers currently have the Hurricanes listed as a 19.5-point home favorite with the total set at 50.5 points. Check out our Week 12 college odds page for a full betting schedule and more links to our game previews.
Virginia vs Miami Betting Preview & Vegas Game Odds
The Cavaliers come into this contest off a 21-38 loss at Louisville, where they also came up well short of covering as a 12-point underdog. Virginia kept it close early, as they went into the half only trailing 14-17, but the Cardinals scored 21 unanswered out of intermission to take complete control. It came just 1 week after the Cavaliers impressive 40-36 upset win at home against Georgia Tech as a 9-point dog.
The Hurricanes enter off one of the more impressive performances of the season, as they annihilated then No. 3 ranked Notre Dame 41-8 as a 3-point home dog. It was never in doubt, as Miami led 27-0 at the half and were up 34-0 before the Irish were finally able to put points on the board. The Hurricanes defense was at it again, forcing 4 turnovers for a record-setting 4th straight game.
Last year’s meeting between these two schools saw Miami pull away for a 34-14 win at Virginia as a 9.5-point road favorite. It was close early, as the Cavaliers only trailed 14-17 at the half, but the Hurricanes dominated the 2nd half in route to the victory.
College Football Betting Predictions & Free ATS Pick: Virginia +19.5
I think the value here is with the Cavaliers catching almost 3 touchdowns on the road against the Hurricanes. As good as Miami looked against Notre Dame, this is a tricky spot for the Hurricanes. For most of this season Miami has been the team flying under the radar. They also had a chip on their shoulder as everyone kept doubting them. Now the roles have been reversed. Everyone is singing the Hurricanes praises and while the college football playoff rankings aren’t out just yet, they are up to No. 2 in both the AP and Coaches Polls.
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This is the ideal letdown spot for Miami, as that win over the Irish was the biggest in quite some time for this program and no one is expecting Virginia to be a serious threat. As much as head coach Mark Richt will try to keep his team focused at the task at hand, it’s going to be very hard for the Hurricanes to do just that.
I’m not saying the Cavaliers are going to win this game outright, but I think they can do enough here to keep it within the number. Let’s not forget this Miami team has had several close calls this season. Not only did they have the two miraculous last-second wins over both FSU and Georgia Tech, but they also only beat the likes of Syracuse by 8 and North Carolina by 5.
I also think Virginia poses a difficult matchup. One of the reasons the Hurricanes were able to shutdown Notre Dame’s offense is the Irish didn’t have anything to fall back on when the running game wasn’t working. The Cavaliers likely aren’t going to have much success on the ground either, but senior quarterback Kent Benkert and this offense feature a potent passing attack. I believe it’s good enough to move the ball and put some pressure on this defense, it also keeps open the possibility of a backdoor cover if things do happen to get out of hand early.
Another thing is this Miami offense is still a work in progress. While they scored 41 against the Irish, they only put up 374 total yards in that game. The defense was as big a part of the offense than anything, as they had just 1 scoring drive more than 60 yards, with 4 scoring drives that started with the offense getting the ball on the Irish side of the field. Keep in mind that the Hurricanes had scored 28 or fewer points in each of their previous 5 games.
One last thing is this ridiculous rate that Miami is creating turnovers is simply not sustainable and there’s going to come a time when the breaks just don’t go their way. With a defense that figures to just be going through the motions off that big win, this could be the week they don’t rack up the turnovers and that not only would give Virginia a great shot at covering, but potentially pulling off the upset. Give me the Cavaliers.