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 Sportsbook 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 Sportsbook.

Rutgers Bowl History

Year Bowl Team1 Score Team2 Score Team2 Line ATS win
2005 Insight Bowl Rutgers 40 Arizona State 45 -9 RUTGER
2006 Texas Bowl Kansas State 10 Rutgers 37 -9 RUTGER
2007 International Bowl Ball State 30 Rutgers 52 -12 RUTGER
2008 Bowl North Carolina State 23 Rutgers 29 -6 Push
2009 St. Petersburg Bowl Central Florida 24 Rutgers 45 -2.5 RUTGER
2011 Pinstripe Bowl Rutgers 27 Iowa State 13 -1.5 RUTGER

Virginia Tech Bowl History

Year Bowl Team1 Score Team2 Score Team2 Line ATS win
1995 Sugar Bowl Virginia Tech 28 Texas 10 -2 VTECH
1996 Orange Bowl Virginia Tech 21 Nebraska 41 -15.5 NEBR
1997 Gator Bowl Virginia Tech 3 North Carolina 42 -9 UNC
1998 Music City Bowl Virginia Tech 38 Alabama 7 5 VTECH
1999 Sugar Bowl Virginia Tech 29 Florida State 46 -6 FLAST
2000 Gator Bowl Clemson 20 Virginia Tech 41 -6.5 VTECH
2001 Gator Bowl Virginia Tech 17 Florida State 30 0 FLAST
2002 Emerald Bowl Air Force 13 Virginia Tech 20 -11 AIRFOR
2003 Insight Bowl Virginia Tech 49 California 52 3 CAL
2004 Sugar Bowl Virginia Tech 13 Auburn 16 -6 VTECH
2005 Gator Bowl Louisville 24 Virginia Tech 35 -9.5 VTECH
2006 Chick-Fil-A Bowl Virginia Tech 24 Georgia 31 3 GEORGI
2007 Orange Bowl Kansas 24 Virginia Tech 21 -3 KANSAS
2008 Orange Bowl Virginia Tech 20 Cincinnati 7 -2.5 VTECH
2009 Chick-Fil-A Bowl Tennessee 14 Virginia Tech 37 -5 VTECH
2010 Orange Bowl Virginia Tech 12 Stanford 40 -3.5 STANFO
2011 Sugar Bowl Michigan 23 Virginia Tech 20 3 Push

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 Sportsbook 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