Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati, Military Bowl: Prediction, pick, odds, line, TV, live stream, watch online

Virginia Tech and Cincinnati never played as Big East opponents, but they've been familiar with each other and playing in the state of Maryland this decade. The Hokies and Bearcats played in the 2014 Military Bowl and in a neutral-site at FedEx Field in 2012. Both teams have strong alumni representation in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region, making Monday's afternoon kickoff an exciting meeting for both fan bases looking to start their New Year's Eve a few hours early by celebrating a bowl win. 

Viewing information

Event: Military Bowl
Date: Monday, Dec. 31 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium -- Annapolis, Maryland
TV:
ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN

Storylines

Virginia Tech: The Hokies find themselves searching for answers after a season that was very unlike what we have come to expect not only from Virginia Tech as one of the prominent powers of the post-expansion ACC era, but even from what we've seen from Justin Fuente in his short time as the leader of the program. Perhaps a step back was inevitable after 19 wins in his first two seasons since arriving in Blacksburg, but this group needed an overtime win against Virginia and a rescheduled game against Marshall in order to continue the nation's longest active bowl streak (26 consecutive seasons). It's gut-check time for this group, and how the Hokies perform might be an indicator of the mood around the program following a disappointing season. 

Cincinnati: Luke Fickell spent 15 years at Ohio State, his alma mater, before taking his first full-time head coaching gig at Cincinnati in December 2016. The Bearcats' leap from last season to this season reflects the impact that Fickell and his staff have had on the program, and the makeup of the team suggests that this six-win jump from 4-8 to 10-2 is a good sign of things to come. Cincinnati is one of the five youngest teams in FBS, with only 13 seniors and 81 underclassmen on its 112-person roster. The team's success has been anchored by its defense, Fickell's calling card as the former Ohio State defensive coordinator, which ranks in the top 10 among all FBS teams in scoring defense and total defense. 

Game prediction, picks

Motivation should be a factor when considering this game. Virginia Tech has been through a draining season, starting the year with the elation of beating Florida State on the road only to see both its team crushed by injuries and that FSU win lose its luster while the Seminoles slid to the bottom of the ACC. Meanwhile, a young and hungry Cincinnati team is looking to cap off its breakthrough 10-2 season with a Power Five win. Pick: Cincinnati -5.5

Who wins Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati? And which side of the spread hits in nearly 70 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see the pick for the 2018 Military Bowl, all from the model that has returned over $4,000 in profit for $100 bettors!

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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