Military Bowl Betting Preview: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

Shaq Washington-cincinnati-2014
Shaq Washington was No. 2 on the Bearcats in receiving yards this season with 661 yards on 61 receptions.

Military Bowl
Cincy – Va tech
Time: 1 PM EST
TV: ESPN
Spread: CIN -3
Total: 51

Betting odds c/o Bookmaker

Cincinnati finished 9-3 with a 7-1 AAC record, earning a bid to the Military Bowl where it will face off against Virginia Tech. The Hokies finished .500 this season but are still 3-point favorites in college football lines. The NCAA lines also show a 51 point over/under in this affair according to oddsmakers at Bookmaker.

The Bearcats finished No. 13 in the nation in passing yardage, gaining 300 yards of its total 457 yards offense per game via the pass. On the ground, the Bearcats still managed 157 yards per game, helping to account for the high powered offense which ranked No. 26 in the nation with 35.4 points per game.

Cincy’s defense was more than enough to keep it in games, allowing 26.8 points per game, about middle of the road, but enough to allow its offense to win football games.

The most impressive thing, perhaps, is that after beginning the season 2-3, the Bearcats proceeded to close the season with seven straight victories, although all were against weak in-conference opponents. The only AP ranked matchup was against then- No. 22 Ohio State, and it resulted in a 50-28 blowout, predictably so.

Bearcats’ QB sophomore Gunner Kiel threw for over 3,000 yards this season with 30 TDs and 11 INTS. His passer rating was an outstanding 150.8 and he had the OL to prevent sacks, only incurring 11 all season.

Kiel’s completion ratio was 60.2 percent with an 8.27 yards per attempt average. He benefited from having five strong receivers that all accounted for 400 yards or more this season. Leading the way was Mekale McKay, whose 690 yards and eight TDs both led the team. McKay also had an 80 yard TD catch and averaged 16.4 yards per reception (nearly double Kiel’s average attempt). McKay’s eight TDs accounted for about a quarter of the team’s reception TDs.

In the backfield, Cincy received strong efforts from both Mike Boone and Rodriguez Moore, each accounting for about 600 yards. Boone averaged a team-high 6.6 yards per carry while also accounting for half (nine) of the team’s rushing TDs. Neil experienced some success, but he only averaged 2.4 yards per carry and one TD on the year.

Virginia Tech finished 3-5 in ACC play, account for all of its losses but one. VT began the season impressively by winning 35-21 over a then- No. 8 Ohio State team on Sept. 6.

The precedent did not hold.

Following that game, the Hokies proceeded to lose its next two to East Carolina and Georgia Tech. Further losses to Pitt, Miami (FL) and Boston College pulled the Hokies to a game under .500 by Nov. 1, but the team was still able to secure a bowl bid after finishing the season with a 24-20 win over in-state rival Virginia.

Junior QB Michael Brewer struggled this season. He threw for over 2,500 yards but was just under 60 percent completions and only managed 6.23 yards per reception. Moreover, he threw nearly as many INTs (14) as TDs (17) and he was sacked way too much (29 times). Brewer’s raw QB rating was just 41.0 and the Hokies are going to need much more to get the slight upset victory in this one.

TRENDS:

CIN: The Under is 6-0 in Bearcats’ last 6 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in previous game; Bearcats are 5-0-1 ATS in last 6 following SU win; Bearcats are 4-0-1 ATS in last 5 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in previous game.

VT: Hokies are 1-5-1 ATS in the last 7 neutral site games; Hokies are 3-13 ATS in last 16 games following an ATS win; The Over is 4-1 in the Hokies’ last 5 non-conf. games.

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