Justin Fuente and the No. 19 Virginia Tech Hokies have been without starting quarterback Hendon Hooker during their first two games of the 2020 season because of COVID-19. However, Fuente announced that Hooker is "full-go" for Saturday's matchup against the No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels, though he declined to name a starter. The Tar Heels will host the noon ET kickoff at Kenan Memorial Stadium and Mack Brown will be looking for an early victory to announce his program as legitimate contenders in the ACC.
Both teams are 2-0 on the season and last season it was Virginia Tech that came away with the 43-41 victory at home despite being the 4.5-point underdog. This time around, the Tar Heels are three-point favorites with the over-under for total points at 57.5 in the North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech odds from William Hill. Before making any Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina picks, check out the college football predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
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- North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech spread: UNC -3
- North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech over-under: 57.5 points
- North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech money line: UNC -160, VT +140
- UNC: Is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games.
- VT: Is 6-3 against the spread in its last nine games.
Why North Carolina can cover
North Carolina began its season with a 31-6 win over Syracuse on Sept. 12 and then had to take three weeks off after the program had to deal with a coronavirus outbreak on campus. However, the Tar Heels returned to action last week at Boston College and survived a late scare to win 26-22.
North Carolina averaged 432 yards of total offense per game in 2020 and sophomore quarterback Sam Howell continues to be one of the nation's most efficient passers. Howell averaged 8.6 yards per pass attempt as a freshman and is averaging 8.7 yards per attempt so far in 2020. However, he has thrown three interceptions in the first two games after throwing just seven all of last season and he'll have to protect the football against a well-coached Hokies defense.
Why Virginia Tech can cover
After Braxton Burmeister started the first two games of the season with Quincy Patterson II also taking reps at quarterback, Hooker could give the Virginia Tech passing attack a significant boost. Burmeister went just 16-for-36 for 269 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Hooker completed 61.1 percent of his passes and averaged 9.6 yards per pass attempt while throwing 13 touchdowns to just two interceptions last season.
He also rushed for 356 yards and five touchdowns. He should still be enough of a threat as a runner to occupy linebackers for Khalil Herbert. The Kansas transfer is averaging 12.0 yards per carry so far in 2020 and has posted 358 yards from scrimmage and three scores in two weeks. Virginia Tech also has Herbert returning kicks in an effort to get the ball in his hands more often and he's averaging 39.0 yards per return.
How to make North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total as the simulations give Herbert a great chance to find the end zone, while Howell throws for almost 300 yards. It also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina spread to back, all from the advanced model that is up over $4,200 on its top-rated college football spread picks, and find out.