Miami-Va. Tech Odds

Blacksburg, VA It's been several years since Miami and Virginia Tech were both among the nation's elite.

Bet College Football Week 4

While it's still early in the season, the No. 9 Hurricanes and No. 11 Hokies realize Saturday's meeting at Blacksburg has the potential to define their respective seasons.

Oddsmakers from online sports book have made Miami -1.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on Miami -1.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

Miami (2-0, 2-0 ACC) and Virginia Tech (2-1, 0-0) head into their game at Lane Stadium both ranked for the first time since 2005, as the Hurricanes in particular have enjoyed a return to national prominence.

The Hokies and Hurricanes faced one another seven straight times as ranked opponents from 1999-2005, but in recent years both programs have suffered through comparatively lean times. When they met last year, neither team was ranked - the first time a game played between the two didn't feature a top 25 team since 1998.

Miami has burst back into the national spotlight despite a schedule that had the potential to break its season. The Hurricanes are opening the season playing four consecutive games against ranked opponents teams, but led by quarterback Jacory Harris, they've won the first two to move into the top 10 for the first time since the final regular-season poll of 2005.

After splitting playing time as a freshman with Robert Marve last season, Harris has led the Hurricanes to victories over Florida State and Georgia Tech in his first two games as the full-time starter. Harris went 20 of 25 for 270 yards and three touchdowns in Miami's 33-17 win over the then-14th-ranked Yellow Jackets on Sept. 17.

Harris, who threw for 386 yards and two touchdowns in the opener against the Seminoles, credits the additional time the team has had between games for his early success. Miami had 10 days to prepare for Georgia Tech, and has the same amount of time off before this contest.

"It really has helped us," Harris said. "It's given us more time to watch film. Sometimes when you watch film for the first time, you tend not to see a lot of things. You just scan through it and just look at basically the matchups and stuff like that. But when you go back through it again, you start seeing different things that show up and occur a lot."

Miami is averaging 35.5 points and leads the ACC with 465.0 yards of total offense per game. Last season, the Hurricanes averaged 326.0 yards and 27.1 points.

Much of that improvement can be attributed to Harris. The Hurricanes passed for 196.8 yards per game in 2008, compared with 328.0 yards early this season, although the quarterback extends the credit to the other side of the ball.

"We're clicking because of the defense," said Harris, who has completed 69.5 percent of his passes. "The defense ... they go out there and they show us that they can stop the team (Georgia Tech) that last year put up over 400 yards rushing on us and when they showed us that, it gave us motivation."

Miami is looking to win three consecutive games against top 25 opponents for the first time since 2001, when they won their final three regular-season games against ranked teams, then beat fourth-ranked Nebraska to win the National Championship.

While Harris and the Hurricanes boast one of the ACC's best offenses, Virginia Tech (2-1, 0-0) is still trying to find its offensive identity.

The Hokies squeaked out a 16-15 victory over then-No. 19 Nebraska last Saturday. After managing only 195 yards of offense in the first three quarters, quarterback Tyrod Taylor connected with Danny Coale on an 80-yard pass, setting up an 11-yard touchdown toss to Dyrell Roberts three plays later with 21 seconds remaining.

"This is one of those games that could turn things around if you build on it and learn from it," coach Frank Beamer told the Hokies' official Web site. "We need to learn from it - not only the great plays at the end, but all those things in between that we need to get better at. When you can win one like that and improve from it, that's important to your season."

Taylor finished 12 of 27 for 192 yards. The Hokies tallied 278 yards of offense - only 86 on the ground - as they again struggled to put up numbers against a top 25 foe.

In their two games against ranked opponents, including a 34-24 loss to then-No. 5 Alabama on Sept. 5, Virginia Tech has averaged 216.5 yards of offense - 75.0 on the ground. It gained 605 total yards in a victory over unranked Marshall on Sept. 12.

Taylor's inability to find running room hasn't helped. The junior, who rushed for 738 yards last season - seventh-best among quarterbacks - has run for negative yardage in two of the first three games.

The Hokies expect to have senior cornerback Stephan Virgil in the lineup after he missed two games with a bruised left knee. Virgil, who had 31 tackles last season, is looking to help improve a defense that is giving up an uncharacteristic 364.3 total yards per game.

Virginia Tech and Miami have split the last four meetings at Blacksburg, with the Hokies winning the last one, 44-14 in 2007. Miami leads the all-time series 17-9.

Bet College Football Week 4

Posted: 9/23/09 8:44AM ET

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