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Liberty Flames vs. Virginia Cavaliers

Liberty v Virginia

NCAA FB: Saturday, November 10, 2018 @ 3 pm (Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.)

Lines and Odds: Liberty v Virginia (-23.5)  Over/Under: 60

FREE NCAA FB: Liberty v Virginia

The Liberty University Flames make the hour and a half trek northbound to Charlottesville as they take on the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Liberty looks to rebound after a triple-overtime loss to the University of Massachusetts. Virginia also looks to rebound after a 23-13 loss to Pittsburgh.

Liberty University Flames

The Liberty Universtiy Flames have had moderate success in their first season as an FBS program. They have played to the tune of a 4-4 record, including a 3-1 record at home. Granted, they are also 1-3 on the road, and they haven’t faced the “big boys” of college football. That is sure to come in the next few seasons, but for now, we just have to take the Flames for what they are.

Offensively, the Flames can light up the scoreboard. Liberty averages 36.5 points per game, and has scored 41 touchdowns on the season. This stems from an offense that sits in the top 40 overall in yards per game at 477, and in the top 20 in passing yards per game at 323. Steven Calvert guides this offense, averaging 316 yards per game to go with 18 touchdowns. Accuracy issues have plagued him this season, as Calvert owns a 55 percent completion percentage and 11 interceptions. Look for Biletnikoff Award finalist Antonio Gandy-Golden to have an impact. He’s hauled in 51 passes for 844 yards and 9 touchdowns on the year.

Defensively, the Flames have played like a dumpster fire. They’re giving up 38 points a game. Outside of Jessie Lemonier’s 9 sacks, they don’t apply a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Don’t even get me started on the run defense. Opposing running backs have bowled their way to 238 yards per game, and 5.3 yards per run. This defense has more holes than Swiss cheese and old socks combined.

Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia’s loss to Pittsburgh dropped them into second place in the ACC Coastal Division. They will have opportunities to gain ground, as the Cavaliers still have meetings with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech to end the season. The only downside is that both of those games are on the road, and Virginia has not played all that well on the road. Their 1-2 record features losses to both Indiana and No. 14 North Carolina State.

Offensively, the Cavaliers are, how should I put it, not that solid. They do average 170.2 yards per game on the ground, but everyone and their mothers can do that. Passing wise, Virginia is near the bottom of the rankings at 204 yards per game. Bryce Perkins is trying to do it all for the Cavs this season, averaging 203 passing yards and 63 rushing yards per game. Accurate passing is not the problem for Perkins, as he has completed 63.9 percent of his passes and has chucked 16 touchdowns to just 8 interceptions. Look for Jordan Ellis (729 yards, 7 touchdowns, 5.2 yards per rush) and Olamides Zacchaeus (60 catches, 721 yards, 6 touchdowns) to take pressure off of Perkins.

The defense will carry Virginia. They average 326 yards against and just under 20 points a game. They may not do it in flashy ways, but they go nose to the grindstone. Look for Chris Peace (6 sacks) and Juan Thornhill (4 interceptions) to make impacts.

Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends

Liberty University has handled the transition to FBS well from a betting standpoint. They come into this one with a five-game road winning streak against the spread, as well as a four-game winning streak ATS against ACC opponents. Overall, the Flames have covered in 15 of their last 18 non-conference games, but that’s not saying much, considering they are an independent team. The only trend that could cool their jets is the fact that they struggle in games following huge bursts of offense. Liberty has failed to cover the spread in four of their last five games the week after scoring 40 or more points.

Virginia gets the benefit of playing at home. The Cavaliers have covered the spread in five of their last six in front of their home fans. On top of that, they ride a six-game winning streak against the spread against independents. Less is more for Virginia, as they have covered in four of their last five following a week they score 20 points or less. November is when this team starts to fade, as the Cavaliers have gone 2-7 ATS during the month.

FREE NCAA FB: Liberty v Virginia

We have a matchup featuring a hot offense vs a stout defense on one side, with a stagnant offense against a porous defense. So betting on the over/under is an exercise in futility.

That being said, Liberty should cover in this one. Virginia’s offense can do just enough to win, but 23 points for a team that struggles to move the ball through the air is way too wide. Especially with how the Flames can strike back quickly when they need to.

Bottom line: Virginia wins the game, Liberty covers the spread

Pick: Liberty +23.5

Adam Darling
Adam Darling
A New Englander transplanted to the Deep South, Adam goes all over the map for his teams. He recently finished his degree in journalism and history at the University of Maine and has featured on Eastern Bias and Casual Hoya to discuss Black Bear hockey and basketball. He hosted his own baseball talk show for WMEB 91.9 FM and has written and edited for The Maine Campus.