NCAA Football Picks ATS: Western Michigan Broncos vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

Willie Byrn-virginia-tech-2014W Mich-Va Tech
Time: 12:30 PM ET
Spread: VAT -21
Total: 54.5
M/L: VAT -1450; WM +850

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Virginia Tech started the season on the right note, and a matchup against Western Michigan may be just what the Hokies need to get back on track. Va Tech won the first two weeks of the season against lowly William & Mary, but a week 2 victory over then-No. 8 Ohio State was quite impressive. What wasn’t as nice is that the Hokies followed it up with losses to East Carolina (who is now ranked) and Georgia Tech. Entering this matchup as 21-point favorites should be a boost to the Hokies, if they actually paid attention to college football odds, anyway.

The Hokies have held opposing teams in check, allowing just 21.3 points per game. And as usual, the passing attack is very good, led by QB Michael Brewer. Brewer has thrown 64.6 percent completion and already has over 1,000 yards on the young season. He has, however, thrown eight INTs, which will have to be remedied if this team is to move forwards against a tough ACC schedule.

In the Hokies’ backfield, both Shai McKenzie and Marshawn Williams have rushed for 182 and 171 yards, respectively, while each have also scored two TDs. Brewer has also rushed for 46 yards on 23 carries and managed a TD as well.

WRs Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips each have over 200 receiving yards on the season, while Willie Byrn has 186 as well. Ford has caught three TDs, Phillips one, and Bucky Hodges has scored two as well. The top-4 receivers on Va Tech all average 8.9 yards or more per catch, with Phillips averaging 13.5.

Western Michigan is 2-1 on the year, after losing its first game 43-34 to Purdue. Wins over Idaho and Murray State have put the Broncos back on the right track, but it’s hard to imagine the team succeeding with such a sub-par defense. The Broncos have allowed 30 points per game, ranking 97th in the NCAA. The defense has been depleted by losing three linebackers for the season, while also lacking defensive lineman D. Lee.

While the defense hasn’t been good, the rush has. The Broncos are averaging 277.7 yards per game via the run, and it’s because QB Zach Terrell helps keep defenses guessing. He’s rushed for 76 yards and a TD, while Jarvion Franklin has done the bulk of the work. Franklin has nine TDs on the season and 542 yards through three games. He averages 6.6 yards per carry, and can also break it open, evidenced by his 61-yard TD run this season.

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