The Virginia Cavaliers have never reached an ACC title game and it’s been 24 years since they’ve had any claim to a conference championship. They will continue their quest toward breaking both of those droughts when they visit the Miami Hurricanes on Friday night. Kickoff from hard Rock Stadium is set for 8 p.m. ET. Virginia (4-1, 2-0) hasn’t earned a title game berth since the event started in 2005 and it last shared a part of the ACC title in 1995. But the No. 20 Cavaliers are leading the Coastal Division and can stay uneaten in conference play with a win over the Hurricanes. Miami (2-3, 0-2) reached the ACC title game in 2017 and was considered a front-runner to come out of the Coastal this season. But another loss will all but eliminate the Hurricanes from contention. The Hurricanes are 2-point favorites and the over-under for total points scored is 43.5 in the latest Miami vs. Virginia odds. Before settling your Miami vs. Virginia picks, see the college football predictions from SportsLine senior analyst Josh Nagel.
A Nevada-based handicapper with more than 20 years of experience in the sports wagering industry, Nagel specializes in collegiate athletics and was SportsLine’s top college football analyst last year by hitting 60 percent of his spread picks. He enters this week on a 6-3 run with his college football picks. What’s more, he has had a keen sense for the tendencies of these ACC programs, posting a sterling record of 11-4 on picks involving the Cavaliers or Hurricanes over the past two seasons.
Just last week, Nagel told SportsLine members that Miami (-14) was way overvalued against a struggling Virginia Tech team that was using its second-string quarterback. The inspired Hokies scored the game’s first 28 points and held off a furious Miami second-half rally to secure the straight-up victory. Anyone who followed Nagel’s advice picked up another easy winner, and those who have consistently followed him are way up.
Now, he has zeroed in on Miami (Fla.) vs. Virginia from every angle and released another confident against the spread pick. He’s sharing it only over at SportsLine.
Nagel has considered that Miami coach Manny Diaz comes from a defensive background and was Miami’s coordinator for three seasons under Mark Richt. After the unit gave up six touchdowns to Virginia Tech, the first-year head coach told the media he plans to immediately become more involved in coaching the defense. Diaz said he intends to work directly with the defense in practice and day-to-day preparation, while still leaving play-calling duties to coordinator Blake Baker.
The Hurricanes have shown flashes of promise on the defensive side. In their opener, they limited a potent Florida club to 304 yards of total offense and just 50 rushing yards. In last year’s 16-13 loss at Virginia, they held the Cavaliers to 235 total yards and forced three turnovers.
But the Hurricanes are far from a sure thing to cover the Miami vs. Virginia spread against a Cavaliers club that’s on a mission to make an appearance in the ACC title game.
The Cavaliers started their season with four consecutive victories that included wins over ACC foes Pittsburgh and Florida State. They faced a serious litmus test in their last outing against a Notre Dame team that is contention for a second straight playoff berth. Virginia had three long scoring drives in the first half and appeared to be the more prepared team while taking 17-14 lead into the intermission. Quarterback Bryce Perkins went 18-of-22 for 235 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
But the Fighting Irish adjusted with a relentless pass rush that repeatedly harassed Perkins in the second half. They still held a 338-322 edge in total yardage and limited Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book to 165 passing yards. Virginia has covered on its last four trips to Miami and is on a 5-1 run against the spread in the series.
We can tell you Nagel is leaning under, and he’s also identified the critical factor that has him all over one side of the spread. He’s only sharing it at SportsLine.
Who wins Virginia vs. Miami? And what critical factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Virginia vs. Miami spread you should jump on Friday, all from the seasoned expert who has hit 73 percent of his picks on these teams, and find out.