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The No. 9-ranked Miami (FL) Hurricanes aim to keep their ACC title hopes alive when they travel to face the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday. Miami (6-1, 5-1) is still alive in the ACC race but needs to win out to have a realistic chance at the title. The Hurricanes already have lost to Clemson and will not get to face Notre Dame, which upset the Tigers last weekend to overtake first place. However, they face a challenge against a Virginia Tech (4-3, 4-2) club that seeks its first victory of the year against a ranked opponent. The Hokies are reeling from a 38-35 home loss to upstart Liberty last week and a win over Miami could revive their season.

Kickoff from Lane Stadium is set for noon ET. The Hokies are 1.5-point favorites and the over-under for total points scored is 68 in the latest Miami vs. Virginia Tech odds from William Hill Sportsbook. Before making any Virginia Tech vs. Miami picks, check out the college football predictions from Tom Fornelli, given the success he's had picking games involving the Hurricanes. 

A CBS Sports writer since 2010, the entertaining Fornelli is a consistent winner who has gone 271-232 in his popular college football "Six Pack" column heading into this season. 

What's more, he has had a particularly keen sense for the tendencies of ACC teams, and Miami in particular. Fornelli is 15-4 in his last 19 picks on the Hurricanes, which includes telling SportsLine members to back them as a 2.5-point underdog at Louisville in Week 2. They rolled to a 47-34 victory to give his followers another easy winner. Anyone who has followed his college football picks him is way up.

Now,  he has set his sights on Miami vs. Virginia Tech. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the college football odds from William Hill and trends for Virginia Tech vs. Miami:

  • Miami vs. Virginia Tech spread: Virginia Tech -1.5
  • Miami vs. Virginia Tech over-under total points scored: 68
  • Miami vs. Virginia Tech money line: Virginia Tech -115, Miami -105
  • MIA: The Hurricanes are averaging 36 points per game in ACC road contests this season.
  • VT: The favorite has covered in five of the past six meetings in this series.

Why Virginia Tech can cover

The Hokies will be motivated to earn what would be their biggest win in a season that has failed to meet expectations as they were among the trendy picks to perhaps reach the ACC title game. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the conference will not be split into the Coastal and Atlantic divisions and the participants in the championship game will be decided by winning percentage among the 15 programs, with Notre Dame added for this year.

Virginia Tech's usually stout defense has been the culprit in its losses, as it failed to get key stops that could have changed the trajectory of defeats against North Carolina, Wake Forest and Liberty. Moreover, the limited seating capacity at Lane Stadium because of the pandemic has taken the edge off one of the most difficult road environments in the country for opposing teams.

Even so, the Hokies can take confidence from their performance in Miami last year in which they moved the ball effortlessly and used a couple early turnovers to race out to a 28-0 advantage before fending off a late rally by the Hurricanes. Hendon Hooker was the breakout star of that game as he made his first career start and has since emerged as one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. He threw for 184 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 76 rushing yards and another score in the win. 

Why Miami can cover

One encouraging sign for the Hurricanes is that they appear to have overcome the discord and lack of poise that haunted their wildly inconsistent campaign last year, which ended in three straight losses and an embarrassing 14-0 loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl. The downward spiral to end the season led to questions about coach Manny Diaz's ability to connect with and build a cohesive team.

The about-face in Diaz's second season is even more impressive amid the challenging circumstances. Despite landing coveted quarterback D'Eriq King in the transfer pool, Miami's roster was hit hard by opt-outs in the off-season. The departures included defensive end Gregory Rousseau, who appeared poised to be a cornerstone of the program after recording 15.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman.

The Hurricanes were felled by their 3-4 record in one-score games last year, but they are 2-0 in such contests this season. Last week, they appeared to be headed toward an upset loss against an inspired NC State club on its home turf, but they found their pose in time to dominate the fourth quarter and overcome a 10-point deficit. Miami achieved the comeback despite missing 11 players because of COVID-19 protocols and have had 17 such absences over the past two weeks. 

How to make Miami vs. Virginia Tech picks

Fornelli is leaning under on the total, and he's also found a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. You can only get the pick at SportsLine

So who wins Virginia Tech vs. Miami? And which critical X-factor will be the difference? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Miami vs. Virginia Tech spread to jump on, all from the expert who has nailed 15 of his last 19 picks involving the Hurricanes