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UNC vs. Virginia Tech: The Hokies are favored at home against the Heels

UNC is the +21 point underdog for their visit to Lane Stadium

NCAA Football: Virginia at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Opening line: UNC +22

Current line (as of 4:11 PM 10/16): UNC +21

First impressions: There is a part of me that wonders if UNC can manage to keep this game from being a complete blowout. While that sounds absurd given how things have went for the team this year, one can’t help but wonder if the defense can give the team a chance.

Will UNC manage to get even a little bit going on offense? Larry Fedora has still been tinkering with what is left of his personnel, but one can imagine that this line is probably about right.

Why this is the line: Virginia Tech has played two ranked opponents so far this year in West Virginia and Clemson. Clemson proved to be too much for the Hokies, humbling them in a 31-17 victory — exceeding the line set by Vegas in the win. As rough a loss as this was, Virginia Tech has had little to no issues dismantling inferior opponents up to this point.

On the UNC side of things, there is still no offense to be found as was mentioned previously. Larry Fedora played Brandon Harris for an entire game for the first time this past Saturday, and the results were more of the same. The upside is UNC found a little bit of a ground game, so if Carolina stands any chance against the Hokies they will have to make them respect the run and try their hand at play action. Alas, there’s just no reason this line should be a smaller number than it has been set at.

How the line could still move: Since UNC is struggling right now, the line probably won’t increase in favor of the Hokies. UNC’s biggest loss this year was against Georgia Tech 33-7, and I would expect that the differential doesn’t exceed that for this Saturday. The line still has the potential to drop down to maybe 17 if Vegas decides UNC will keep things interesting. Expect no better than +17 and no greater than +24 before kickoff.

My advice: The reality of this situation for UNC this weekend is that the odds are stacked up against them in essentially every way possible. Traveling to Blacksburg just a week after the NCAA investigation concluded with a bruised and battered team is a recipe for nothing but bad things to happen against a top 25 ACC opponent. Expect Virginia Tech to cover the spread, but hope that UNC won’t get blown out by more than that.