The matchup with Liberty comes at the right time Virginia, which snapped a three-game winning streak last week with a disappointing loss against Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Liberty is coming off of a triple-overtime thriller last week as they embark on their second road game in as many weeks. The competition is only going to get tougher for Liberty, which travel to No. 24-ranked Auburn next week.
Liberty suffers heartbreaking 3OT loss
The Flames fell short on the road against UMass 62-59 in triple-overtime last week in a game which they led by 14 points midway through the fourth quarter. Frankie Hickson rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns, Frank Boyd added 83 yards and three rushing scores, and Antonio Gandy-Golden caught nine balls for 205 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort for Liberty. Unlike the rest of his skill players, quarterback Stephen Calvert had a forgettable day, completing just 16 of 35 passes for two touchdowns and four interceptions, while also adding a fumble on the day. Despite the close score, the Minutemen outgained the Flames by 289 yards and nearly doubled their passing yardage (540-272) in the 3OT game.
— Matt Claassen (@PFF_Matt) November 3, 2018
For Boyd, a freshman, the three touchdowns were the first of his career, marking a memorable day for the freshman, who came into the day with only 80 rushing yards on 10 carries this season. Gandy-Golden has been on an absolute tear as of late. He’s compiled four straight 100-yard games, averaging 177 yards per game with six touchdowns during that span.
Liberty comes into the week with a 4-4 overall record, and with back-to-back games against ACC teams on the schedule, they might not get another chance for a victory until they play New Mexico State at the end of the month. The Flames are scoring 36.9 points per game this season, while allowing 38.2 points and 524.8 yards of total offense per game. Liberty does most of its damage through the air on offense, where they average 324 of their 477.5 yards of total offense per game.
Despite defeat, Virginia still in contention for ACC Championship Game
Virginia had a three-game winning streak last week snapped after a disappointing 23-13 loss at home against Pittsburgh, despite limiting the Panthers to just 61 yards passing on the day. The Cavaliers had no answer for Panthers’ running back Darrin Hall, who trampled over Virginia’s defense for 229 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries. Bryce Perkins completed 17 of 24 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown, while Terrell Jana caught three balls for 71 yards and a score as the Cavaliers took their second ACC loss of the season.
Bryce Perkins is different
Two hurdles from the QB
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 22, 2018
Despite losing to the Panthers last week, Virginia still has an outside shot of making the ACC Championship Game. The Hoos will have some work to do and will need some luck too, as they will not control their own destiny down the stretch of the regular season. Pittsburgh is currently a half-game up on the Cavaliers in the standings, but have impending games against Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and Miami to close out the regular season.
The Cavaliers come into the week with a 6-3 overall record this season, but they haven’t had many cupcakes on the schedule aside from their opening week opponent (Richmond). Virginia is scoring 26.6 points per game, while allowing just 19.2 points per game on the other side of the football. Defensively is where the Cavaliers shine, as they have allowed just 197.3 passing yards and 128.7 rushing yards per game, while holding their last four opponents under 23 points.
- Cavaliers are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Cavaliers are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games in November.
- Flames are 15-3 ATS in their last 18 non-conference games.
- Flames are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Liberty has covered the spread in their last four matchups against the ACC, but they’ve struggled on the road this year. Aside from their opening week win at Richmond, Virginia has not played very many cupcakes this season. Their other two non-conference opponents: Indiana and Ohio have proved to be formidable opponents, so this should be a good spot for the Cavaliers to build some positive momentum on offense. Speaking of that opening week win against Richmond, Virginia held the Spiders to just 225 yards of total offense in that game and it is hard to see Liberty doing much of anything against this Cavaliers’ defense. Expect them to force a few turnovers en route to covering the spread at home in this game on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Pick: Virginia Cavaliers -23.5
Full-Game Total Pick
This game is pegged for 60.5 points, which seems like a high number. Virginia is the far better team, but they struggle to score points consistently on offense and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them start slow in this game after last week’s stagnant performance against Pittsburgh. Liberty is a high-scoring team, but they will struggle to put up points against a defense that ranks among the best against the pass this year. Take the under in this late-season non-conference matchup on Saturday.
Prediction: Under 60.5
Half-Time Side Pick
The Cavaliers don’t exactly have a high-flying offense, but they should be able to put up points against a Liberty defense allowing 38.9 points per game. While I expect Virginia to dominate this game on both sides of the ball, being up by three scores at halftime is no easy task. If Liberty finds the end zone in the first half, they should be able to cover the number here. Take Liberty to cover the spread in the first half of this game on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Liberty +14
Half-Time Total Bet
Bryce Perkins isn’t a very accomplished passer, but his ability to run the football adds an extra dimension to this Cavaliers offense. I expect Virginia to keep the ball on the ground in this game, as the Liberty defense allows 238 rush yards per game. That should keep the time of possession in favor of Virginia and the Cavaliers’ defense is going to be very stingy at home, so I’m leaning towards the under in the first half of this game in Virginia on Saturday.
Prediction: Under 32.5