College Football Betting Picks Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies vs #17 UCLA Bruins

2013 Hyundai Sun Bowl
Virginia Tech Hokies vs #17 UCLA Bruins

Sun Bowl – El Paso, Texas
Tuesday, December 31, 2013, 2:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: UCLA -7 1/2
Current Line: UCLA -7 (-120)
Opening Total: 47
Current Total: 47
Opening Money Line: UCLA -280 / Virginia Tech +230
Current Money Line: UCLA -300 / Virginia Tech +250

UCLA is a touchdown favorite over Virginia tech in the Sun Bowl Tuesday in El Paso.
UCLA is a touchdown favorite over Virginia tech in the Sun Bowl Tuesday in El Paso.

The 9-3 UCLA Bruins and 8-4 Virginia Tech Hokies meet in Tuesday’s Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso. The two schools have never played each other in football.

Virginia Tech went 5-3 in the ACC Coastal Division. The Hokies were tied for second with Miami and Georgia Tech, but all three were behind 6-2 Duke. Virginia Tech is 10-16 all-time in bowl games. The Hokies are playing in their 21st straight bowl game. Virginia Tech beat Rutgers 13-10 in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando last year. Virginia Tech has never played a bowl game in the state of Texas before.

UCLA went 6-3 in the Pac 12 South Division, and finished tied for second with USC. Both teams were behind 8-1 Arizona State. UCLA is 15-17-1 all-time in bowl games. The Bruins have lost two straight bowl games and 4 of the last 5. UCLA lost to Baylor 49-26 in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego last year. The Bruins are 2-1 in the Sun Bowl, and last played here in 2005. The Bruins beat Northwestern 50-38 in that game.

Virginia Tech is coached by Frank Beamer who has coached the Hokies for 27 seasons. The Hokies opened the season 6-1, but went 2-3 down the stretch. Virginia Tech has a loss to Alabama in Atlanta 35-10, along with a road loss at Boston College 34-27. The Hokies have home losses to Duke 13-10 and Maryland 27-24 in overtime. Virginia Tech has home wins over Western Carolina 45-3, Marshall 29-21 in triple overtime, North Carolina 27-17, and Pittsburgh 19-9, along with road wins at East Carolina 15-10, Georgia Tech 17-10, Miami 42-24 and Virginia 16-6. Ten of the twelve teams Virginia Tech played this season went to bowl games. The Hokies are 4-7-1 ATS and the total is 4-7-1 as well. Virginia Tech was an 11.5 point favorite at rival Virginia and the total was 41.5.

Virginia Tech is outscoring teams 23-17 this season. Virginia Tech is #96 in scoring nationally and #8 in points allowed out of 125 teams. The Hokies are averaging 359.2 total yards per game including 241.2 passing and 117.9 rushing yards. Virginia Tech is #112 in rushing and #100 in total yards nationally.  On defense, the Hokies are allowing 269.6 total yards per game, including 165.8 passing and 103.8 rushing yards. The Hokies are #7 or better in all three categories. The Hokies are +8 in turnovers with 25 takeaways. Virginia Tech is 72/201 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 57/188. The Hokies have forced 37 sacks and allowed 30. Virginia Tech is 29/40 scoring in the red zone with 22 touchdowns and opponents are 20/24 with 14 touchdowns. The Hokies have one defensive touchdown but have given up 2 pick sixes, a kickoff return and 2 punt returns for touchdowns. Virginia Tech is averaging 47 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 41.

Hokie quarterback Logan Thomas has completed 57.3% of his passes for 2,861 yards with 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and also has 159 carries, 295 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Running back Trey Edmunds has 166 carries, 675 yards and 10 touchdowns, along with 17 catches for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. J.C. Coleman has 75 carries for 262 yards, along with 8 catches.  Chris Mangus has 20 carries, 115 yards and a touchdown, along with 9 catches for 72 yards. Running back Tony Gregory is out for the season with a knee injury.

Receiver Willie Byrn has 49 catches, 635 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Demitri Knowles has 43 catches, 619 yards and 3 touchdowns. D.J. Coles has 23 catches for 365 yards and 6 touchdowns. Joshua Stanford has 37 catches for 606 yards and a touchdown. Kalvin Cline has 25 catches for 284 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight ends Dakota Jackson and Ryan Malleck are both on the injury report as is receiver Carlis Parker. Nine defensive players are listed as questionable or out.

UCLA is coached by Jim Mora, Jr. The Bruins have losses at Stanford 24-10 and at home against Oregon 42-14 and  Arizona State 38-33. UCLA has home wins over Nevada 58-20, New Mexico State 59-13, California 37-10, Colorado 45-23 and Washington 41-21, along with road wins at Nebraska 41-21, Utah 34-27  Arizona 31-26 and USC 35-14 to close out the regular season. The Bruins are 8-4 ATS this season and the total is 5-7 this season. UCLA was a 4.5 point underdog against USC and the total was 52.5.

UCLA is outscoring teams 37-24. The Bruins are #23 in scoring and #37 in points allowed nationally. UCLA is averaging 448.2 yards per game including 251.6 passing and 196.6 rushing. The Bruins are #44 or better nationally in all three categories. On defense, UCLA is allowing 391.5 yards per game including 221.1 passing and 170.4 rushing. UCLA is +9 in turnovers with 24 takeaways. The Bruins average 74 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 53. UCLA is 95/191 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 76/201. The Bruins have forced 29 sacks and allowed 34 this season. UCLA is 52/60 with 43 touchdowns and opponents are 37/45 with 28 touchdowns. The Bruins have a punt return for a touchdown and have allowed 2 pick sixes.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has completed 67.8% of his passes for 2,845 yards with 22 touchdowns and 9  interceptions, along with 150 carries for 587 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass. Back-up Jerry Neuheisel has thrown for 124 yards.

Running back Paul Perkins has 126 carries, 570 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 23 catches for 286 yards.  Jordan James has 96 carries for 525 yards with 5 touchdowns, along with 7 catches. Linebacker Myles Jack has 37 carries for 267 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was voted both the Pac 12 offensive and defensive freshman of the year.  Malcolm Jones has 51 carries, 247 yards and 3 carries, along with 3 catches, 51 yards and a touchdown.  Steven Manfro has 19 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown, along with 8 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Damien Thigpen is questionable with an ankle injury.

Receiver Shaquelle Evans has 43 catches, 617 yards and 8 touchdowns. Devin Fuller has 42 catches, 464 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with a touchdown pass to Hundley and a rushing touchdown. Jordan Payton has 36 catches, 416 yards, and a touchdown. Devin Lucien has 17 catches for 298 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Thomas Duarte has 15 catches for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns. Three little used receivers are listed as questionable or out. Four defensive players and three offensive linemen are also listed on the injury report.

Virginia Tech is 5-1 ATS in December, 3-1-1 in bowl games, 7-18 after a straight up win, 4-15 after allowing less than 20 points, 1-4 overall, 1-4-1 in neutral site games, and after scoring less than 20 points, and 0-3-1 in non-conference games.

UCLA is 6-1 ATS in non-conference games, 4-1 on turf, 6-2 after a straight up win, 5-2 after a cover, and 3-9 after allowing less than 20 points.

Virginia Tech has a top 10 defense, but the offense struggles to score. UCLA is more balanced but the offense is slightly better than the defense. I think this seems like a lot of points, because I think this will be a close low scoring game decided by a field goal.


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