The No. 10 North Carolina Tar Heels will meet the Virginia Tech Hokies in an ACC Coastal Division season-opening college football matchup on Friday. The Tar Heels finished fourth in the conference last season at 7-3 and were 8-4 overall. The Hokies, meanwhile, finished tied for sixth with Boston College and Pittsburgh at 5-5 and were 5-6 overall. This will be the fourth season in a row that Virginia Tech begins the season with an ACC foe.
Kickoff from Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va., is set for 6 p.m. ET. Virginia Tech leads the all-time series 24-13-6, but North Carolina posted a 56-45 win last year. The Tar Heels are 5.5-point favorites in the latest North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 64. Before making any Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina picks, check out the college football predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of more than $3,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters Week 1 of the 2021 season on a 57-37 run on all top-rated college football picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech spread: North Carolina -5.5
- North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech over-under: 64 points
- North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech money line: North Carolina -220, Virginia Tech +180
- UNC: The Tar Heels are 84-42-4 in season-opening games, including a 37-31 mark since the ACC was formed in 1953
- VT: The Hokies are averaging 40.6 ppg in five meetings against North Carolina under coach Justin Fuente
Why North Carolina can cover
The Tar Heels are expected to be among the heavyweights in the ACC this season, along with third-ranked Clemson and No. 14 Miami. Back is junior quarterback Sam Howell, who led the team in passing a year ago. Howell is the Preseason ACC Player of the Year and is on a number of watch lists, including the Manning Award Watch List. Howell completed 237 of 348 attempts (68.1 percent) for 3,586 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2020. He was intercepted seven times, but had a rating of 179.1.
North Carolina will have a retooled receiving corps, which is expected to be led by sophomore Josh Downs. Downs was selected in the preseason as a top-10 potential breakout player in 2021, according to ESPN. In his only real action in 2020, he caught four passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns in North Carolina’s bowl game against Texas A&M. One of those was a 75-yard strike.
Why Virginia Tech can cover
Despite that, the Tar Heels are not a lock to cover the North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech spread. That’s because the Hokies return a big portion of their offense from a year ago. Among those is junior quarterback Braxton Burmeister, who led Virginia Tech to a 3-1 record in games he started in 2020. He completed 48 of 84 passes (57.1 percent) for 687 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a 131.3 rating. In the regular-season finale against Virginia, he completed 15 of 22 passes (68.2 percent) for 212 yards and one touchdown. He also carried seven times for 36 yards.
All five of the Hokies’ top receivers are also back, including sophomore Tayvion Robinson, who led the team with 38 receptions for 592 yards (15.6 average) and three touchdowns. He also rushed five times for 48 yards (9.6 average). In last year’s loss to the Tar Heels, Robinson caught four passes for 45 yards and a score. He had his best game against Virginia, when he caught five passes for 98 yards (19.6 average) and one touchdown.
How to make Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 69 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins UNC vs. Virginia Tech? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its college football picks, and find out.