Russell Athletic Bowl betting pick

In an old East Coast match-up 6-6 Virginia Tech, which had to win its last two games just to become bowl-eligible, meets 9-3 Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl Friday, Dec. 28 in Orlando (5:30 pm ET, ESPN).

The early Russell Athletic Bowl odds listed the Hokies, who just managed to extend their bowl streak to 20 seasons, as 2.5-point favorites over the Scarlet Knights, who were 9-1 but lost their last two games to miss out on the Big East championship.

ACC schools are 8-1 SU in the past 9 games, formerly the Champs Sports Bowls. Six of the past seven games played UNDER the total. [ More Russell Athletic Bowl betting preview stats and trends]

View Rutgers vs Virginia Tech Odds and Stats.

Betting Line: Sportsbooks such as TopBet had the Hokies pegged as 1.5-point favorites in this matchup. The total, meanwhile, was a low 41.5 earlier, check for updates at Bovada.


Rutgers Bowl History

YearBowlTeam1ScoreTeam2ScoreTeam2 LineATS win
2005Insight BowlRutgers40Arizona State45-9RUTGER
2006Texas BowlKansas State10Rutgers37-9RUTGER
2007International BowlBall State30Rutgers52-12RUTGER BowlNorth Carolina State23Rutgers29-6Push
2009St. Petersburg BowlCentral Florida24Rutgers45-2.5RUTGER
2011Pinstripe BowlRutgers27Iowa State13-1.5RUTGER

Virginia Tech Bowl History

YearBowlTeam1ScoreTeam2ScoreTeam2 LineATS win
1995Sugar BowlVirginia Tech28Texas10-2VTECH
1996Orange BowlVirginia Tech21Nebraska41-15.5NEBR
1997Gator BowlVirginia Tech3North Carolina42-9UNC
1998Music City BowlVirginia Tech38Alabama75VTECH
1999Sugar BowlVirginia Tech29Florida State46-6FLAST
2000Gator BowlClemson20Virginia Tech41-6.5VTECH
2001Gator BowlVirginia Tech17Florida State300FLAST
2002Emerald BowlAir Force13Virginia Tech20-11AIRFOR
2003Insight BowlVirginia Tech49California523CAL
2004Sugar BowlVirginia Tech13Auburn16-6VTECH
2005Gator BowlLouisville24Virginia Tech35-9.5VTECH
2006Chick-Fil-A BowlVirginia Tech24Georgia313GEORGI
2007Orange BowlKansas24Virginia Tech21-3KANSAS
2008Orange BowlVirginia Tech20Cincinnati7-2.5VTECH
2009Chick-Fil-A BowlTennessee14Virginia Tech37-5VTECH
2010Orange BowlVirginia Tech12Stanford40-3.5STANFO
2011Sugar BowlMichigan23Virginia Tech203Push

How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Virginia Tech's No. 80-ranked offense (26.1 PPG) against a Scarlet Knights defense that ranks No. 4 at 14.2 PPG. The Hokies passing attack has averaged 234.1 yards per game, more than the Scarlet Knights give up through the air (216.2 YPG on average).

In comparing defenses, the Scarlet Knights own the league's No. 4-rated front 7 in terms of stopping the run, allowing 87.2 yards per game when on the road. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, rates No. 60 this week in generating rushing yards at home.

Rutgers lost its last outing, a 20-17 result against Louisville on November 29. Rutgers failed to cover in that game as a 3.5-point favorite, while the 37 combined points took the game UNDER the total. Mark Harrison was good for 131 receiving yards in the Scarlet Knights's most recent action, but while it helped his stats, it didn’t help his team to victory and they fell 20-17 to the Scarlet Knights.

Last time out for Virginia Tech, they were a 17-14 winner as they battled Virginia at home. Virginia Tech failed to cover in the match as a 10-point favorite, while 31 combined points moved the game UNDER for totals bettors. The Hokies grabbed a Week 13 victory over the Cavaliers in their last game, winning 17-14 at Lane Stadium.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights Trends:
When playing in December are 5-4
When playing on grass are 5-5
After being outgained are 5-5
When an underdog on the road are 4-6

Virginia Tech Hokies Trends:
When playing in December are 6-4
When playing on grass are 4-6
After outgaining opponent are 4-6
When favored at home are 9-1

A few Scarlet Knights at Hokies trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Rutgers's last 5 games
Rutgers is 10-3 SU in its last 13 games
Rutgers is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Virginia Tech
Rutgers is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Rutgers
Virginia Tech is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games