Virginia Tech Hokies (0-0) vs. Old Dominion Monarchs (0-0)
September 2, 2022 7:00 pm EDT
The Line: Old Dominion Monarchs +8.5 / Virginia Tech Hokies -8.5; Over/Under: +52.5
(Get latest betting odds)
The Old Dominion Monarchs and Virginia Tech Hokies clash Friday in week 1 college football action from S.B. Ballard Stadium.
The Virginia Tech Hokies will look to start the Brent Pry era in Blackburg on a high note after finishing 2021 with a record of 6-6 including a 4-4 mark in ACC conference play. The Hokies would receive an invite to the Pinstripe Bowl, a game that the Hokies would drop to Maryland by a final score of 54-10. The QB situation at Virginia Tech is a tad murky, with Braxton Burmeister leaving for San Diego State, but Grant Wells transfers in from Marshall with a wealth of experience starting for the Herd, but the thing is keeping the turnovers down, as Wells committed 22 interceptions in the last two seasons combined. The Hokies also lost their top two rushers in Burmeister and Raheem Blackshear, but Michael Thomas added 440 rushing yards last season and should have a good shot at landing the starting gig here. The top two receivers from last year are gone for the Hokies as well, but Kaleb Smith still has experience for V-Tech and Jadan Blue transfers in from Temple to help and Nick Gallo’s had experience as well. On defense, the pass rush has some solid pieces in TyJuan Garbutt and Nebraska transfer Pheldarius Payne, while Dax Hollifield is back at linebacker after leading the Hokies in tackling last season. Alan Tisdale is right beside Hollifield at that level after finishing secondbehind Hollifield in tackles for a loss last season. Nasir Peoples and Chamarri Conner will hope to combined for a big tackle season like they did last year, but the picks will have to come from somewhere else as Jermaine Waller is gone from the program.
The Old Dominion Monarchs will look to start their tenure in the Sun Belt conference on a high after finishing 6-6 in their final season in C-USA. The Monarchs would receive an invite to the Myrtle Beach Bowl, a game that they’d lose to Tulsa by a final count of 30-17. Hayden Wolff returns as the face of Old Dominion at QB after throwing for 1,933 yards, 10 touchdowns and 7 picks on 62.8% passing last season while DJ Mack is a changeup as his backup, throwing for 856 yards and 5 TDs while also rushing for 6 touchdowns. Blake Watson also returns after rushing for a team-high 1,121 yards and 8 touchdowns and Elijah Davis also comes back after logging 6 scores as the bruiser back last season. Ali Jennings and Zack Kuntz are back in the ODU receiving group, with Jennings posting 5 TDs and 1,066 receiving yards on 62 catches while Kuntz was all-Conference USA after recording 73 grabs for 692 yards and 5 scores at tight end. On defense, there’s not as much returning production, but there’s enough with leading sack man Marcus Hayes while Tyre Bibby and Alonzo Ford, ODU’s top two defensive tackles, are also back in the fold as well. Ryan Henry returns as ODU’s second leading tackler from last year at linebacker, and third top tackler Jason Henderson will be alongside in the receiving corps. In the secondary, Tre Hawkins will be the top corner after logging 76 tackles last year while R’Tarriun Johnson, Terry Jones and Boston College transfer Shawn Asbury headline the names in ODU’s safety group.
Virginia Tech is 3-9 ATS in their last 12 road games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games while the under is 4-0 in their last 4 games in September. Old Dominion is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games while the under is 4-1 in their last 5 games against the ACC.
This is a tough one as I get that the Hokies are going to get the power-conference bias here and I would consider them here had there been a bit more top end returning production. However, while Grant Wells was a nice get at QB, he still has turnover issues that make it hard to trust him and while Old Dominion is far from a world-beater, they have a solid offense with lots of returning pieces and a pretty good defense. This could be one of the more surprising results of week 1 on the surface, but I think there’s value here with the Monarchs and the points to keep this one within a touchdown.