Virginia Tech’s college basketball program continues to improve under third-year head coach Buzz Williams as the Hokies’ achieved their first 20-win season since 2011. Coming off that impressive campaign (2015-2016), Williams enters the 2016-2017 season with a roster brimming with experience and depth.
Last year’s unexpected success was predicated upon the growth and maturation of two freshmen – Justin Robinson (7.3 ppg) and Chris Clarke (8.4 ppg), both of whom are enjoying solid sophomore seasons.
The Hokies are extremely well-balanced, rating 8.9 points per game better than average offensively (83.3 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 74.4 points per game) and 5.1 points per game better than average defensively (72.1 points per game to teams that would combine to average 77.2 points per game).
The Hokies are also a perfect 9-0 SU at home this season where they are averaging 88.7 points per game on 51.3% shooting from the field and 39.2% from beyond the arc. Virginia Tech ranks 24th-nationally in field goal percentage, 22nd in three-point field goal percentage, 26th in scoring offense and 47th in scoring margin (11.3).
Meanwhile, Syracuse arrives in Blacksburg off back-to-back wins over Miami Florida and Pittsburgh, but the Orange have yet to win or cover a road game this season (0-4 SU & ATS). The Orange are averaging just 60.2 points per game away from home on 33.9% shooting from the floor and 28.6% from three-point territory.
The Orange will struggle to score tonight against a very good Virginia Tech defense that is limiting opponents to 69.0 points per game on 39.9% shooting from the field within the friendly confines of Cassell Coliseum.
From a technical standpoint, Virginia Tech is 16-5 ATS in its last 21 home games, 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games following a loss, 19-7 ATS in its last 26 games versus .601 or greater foes and 35-17 ATS in its last 52 conference affairs. The Hokies are also 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as favorites, including 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as favorites and 4-0 ATS as home favorites in that range.
Virginia Tech takes the floor having lost its past two games (SU and ATS), which is significant in that the Hokies are 6-0 ATS at home following a conference loss and 10-2 ATS after failing to cover the Vegas number. My math model favors the Hokies by five points so we’re also getting solid line value with the better team at home (playing with triple revenge helps as well).
With Virginia Tech standing at 8-1 ATS in its last nine January tilts and 5-2 ATS in its last seven meetings with the Orange, lay the points with the Hokies as Oskeim Sports’ Free College Basketball Best Bet and invest with confidence.
Oskeim Sports’ Free College Basketball Best Bet: Virginia Tech (-3) (-110)