Military Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Tulane Expert Pick and Prediction – December 27, 2023
MILITARY BOWL: VIRGINIA TECH VS. TULANE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – December 27, 2023 — It’s hard to find a more disrespected team than Tulane. The Green Wave put together a great season, going 11-2. They played for the American Athletic Conference championship, and their only losses have been to Mississippi and SMU.
And they come in as a 10.5-point underdog to Virginia Tech after getting decimated in the transfer portal. Coach Willie Fritz left for Houston. Quarterback Michael Pratt opted out. And six starters from a quality defense chose not to participate. That’s landed them as double-digit underdogs to a Hokies squad that hasn’t won a bowl since 2016 and got its best win against a terrible Syracuse team at home.
It seems straightforward, but a funny thing keeps happening in these bowl games: the disrespected, shorthanded team has been showing up to play. Over the past 11 bowls, the team that came in as the underdog has won eight times outright. It shouldn’t happen again here, but if the Green Wave feels disrespected enough, it’s certainly a possibility.
(6-6 SU, 7-5 ATS)
(11-2 SU, 5-8 ATS)
When: Wednesday, December 27th at 2 p.m. EST
Where: Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md.
Public Bets: 51% on Virginia Tech
Public Money: 56% on Virginia Tech
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of December 25th, 2023.
Virginia Tech vs. Tulane In-Season Trends
Virginia Tech hasn’t exactly been known for its defense this year. The Hokies used to be built with defense and special teams, but they went 8-4 to the over this year and held just four opponents under 20 points on the season. Out of their final five games, they went 4-1 to the over, with the lone exception coming when Louisville crushed them 34-3.
But at the other end, it’s proven tough sledding trying to squeeze an over out of Tulane. The Wave played over in the opener, then went 1-11 to the over for the rest of the year. However, this won’t be the same Tulane defense: the Wave are down half their starters.
College football chooses some truly weird places to hold its bowl games, but few make less sense than Annapolis, Maryland in the last week of December. It’s never good weather, and with a downpour pounding the East Coast, it’s going to be even worse than usual. There’s a 99% chance of rain in the forecast, and the expectations are close to an inch of rain in 54 degree weather.
Against the good defenses, Kyron Drones didn’t exactly light the world on fire. He’s started since Sept. 16 at Rutgers, and has thrown for 200 yards or less five times. Not coincidentally, the Hokies went 1-4 in those games, beating only Syracuse.
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Tulane might be down Michael Pratt, but Makhi Hughes is still there to carry the football. He had 1,290 yards on the ground this season, and Virginia Tech’s defense is not terribly scary. Hughes will likely feature heavily in Tulane’s efforts to keep the ball in their hands.
The best play on the board is the under. Tulane’s defense is still pretty good even with the defections, and the rain is likely to create a marshfield by the Chesapeake Bay. I probably won’t mess with the spread here, but a double-digit spread is tempting.
Tulane will likely come out looking to prove the kingdom has not fallen, and Virginia Tech still isn’t that great. If I have to play the spread, I’m backing the Wave, but my main bet is the under.