Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:30 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Virginia Tech +13½ @ N.C. State
Carter-Finley Stadium - Raleigh, NC
7:30 PM EST. There is lots to chew on here, so we’ll get right to it. First and foremost, you have a ranked team playing an unranked school on national television in a prime time game that is going to have many eyes and many wagers. That Top-25 ranking the Wolfpack have beside their name carries weight in the market. However, N.C. State’s dream season is over.
The Wolfpack had playoff aspirations, but they have lost two of their last three games. A 30-20 loss to kick off October at Clemson was forgivable, but it was still a game N.C. State needed to show it “belonged.” Last time out, the Wolfpack got waffled by Syracuse, 24-9, as a three point pooch. Boom. That’s your ball game. N.C. State has had 12 days to let that reality sink in. You have to remember that these guys are just kids. Having your dream season end in a nightmare before November is crushing.
The bubble-burst phenomenon has always been an extremely powerful concept, and these days the sport is delivered primarily in a way that defines that bubble. That leads most people -- players included -- to think that a second loss closes the door on any prize that's really worth having. That's not our take, but proof of its pervasiveness is in the profits.
There were eight teams that were in the top 15 at this time last year that took a second loss in Week 7 or later. Those eight teams combined for a 3-16-1 record against the number since taking that second loss, and one of those three against-the-spread covers was within the group. It’s not just last year, as we went back a few years and picked a random year for more proof. In 2018 for example, Penn State, Wisconsin, Washington, Miami, Texas, LSU, Kentucky and Florida were all in the top-15 and then combined for a 4-14 record against the number since taking that second loss.
The newest member to this collective is N.C. State, who is coming off that loss to Syracuse. N.C. State is now laying a big number to a have-not this week, which is not exactly the spot you should be looking for even if you're inclined to stand under the falling rock that is the "bubble-burst" club. Now, the Wolfpack are looking at a New Year’s Day Bowl, at best. That’s not much of a consolation. Don’t be surprised if N.C. State finds itself in the Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl instead of the Citrus Bowl.
One doesn’t need to look much further than this double-digit spread to see that the Hokies' stock is low. Virginia Tech is just 2-5 on the season and it has been equally awful at the pay window posting that same 2-5 mark against the spread. Sure, Va. Tech is down, but they were a 14½-point pooch at Pitt two games ago. Last time out, the Hokies were +9 at home to Miami and covered that number, holding the Hurricanes to just 20 points. Virginia Tech has been off since that game on October 15, thus they figure to be well rested, prepared and very motivated to have a good showing on ESPN. Give us the points.
Virginia Tech +13½ -107 (Risking 2.14 units - To Win: 2.00)