The North Carolina Tar Heels will take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in Week 1 of college football action. It’s time to continue our College Football Odds series and make a North Carolina-Virginia Tech prediction and pick.

After an incredibly exciting season last year, expectations are high for the Tar Heels. Head coach Mack Brown thinks that his team is ready to contend with the Clemson Tigers in the ACC, and proving that starts in Week 1 against a familiar opponent.

Virginia Tech nearly pulled off an upset of the Tar Heels last year, but fell just short. The Hokies would love to deal a huge blow to their rival’s aspirations to start the season, and they have a great opportunity to do it in front of their home crowd.

Here’s how the bookmakers have set the lines for Friday’s game.

CFB Odds: North Carolina-Virginia Tech Odds

UNC Tar Heels -5 1/2 (-115)

Virginia Tech Hokies +5 1/2 (-105)

Over 64 points (-112)

Under 64 points (-108)

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Why UNC Could Cover The Spread

UNC’s strength has always been on the offensive side of the ball, and it remains that way this season despite plenty of offseason departures. Quarterback Sam Howell is getting some early Heisman hype after leading a 2020 offense that averaged 41 points per game and 7.2 yards per play. All five starters return on the offensive line, and the transfer portal has given Mack Brown some good choices at running back. This offense will see a step back from last season, but they should still be one of the nation’s best.

Regardless of any regression, the offense should put up points easily against Virginia Tech. The Hokies allowed 32 points per game and nearly six yards per play a year ago, and they lost five defensive starters. Star defensive backs Caleb Farley and Divine Deablo both left for the NFL, leaving VT with a questionable secondary. This team allowed 56 points to UNC last year, and they’re on track for a similar performance after plenty of players hit the road in the offseason.

Why Virginia Tech Could Cover The Spread

Luckily for the Hokies, they have a chance to keep up when this game turns into a shootout. Quarterback Braxton Burmeister is an upgrade over Hendon Hooker, and all of Virginia Tech’s leading receivers are back for this season. Rutgers transfer Raheem Blackshear will take the majority of work at running back, and he should be able to fill Khalil Herbert’s shoes. The offensive line should be decent at the very least after a year where they performed incredibly well.

It helps that UNC’s defense isn’t a great unit. They return 10 out of 11 starters from last year, and the Hokies dropped 45 points on them in a loss last season. The Tar Heels should see some regression on defense, as their one departure was star linebacker Chazz Surratt, who’s currently a Minnesota Viking. It helps that Virginia Tech is playing at home, as Lane Stadium is a notoriously difficult place to play for visiting teams.

Final North Carolina-Virginia Tech Prediction & Pick

This is a great spot for an upset pick. The Hokies have improved over the offseason, and the same can’t be said for UNC. The game is on Virginia Tech’s home field, helping the Hokies’ somewhat questionable defense. VT managed to score 45 points against this Tar Heels defense last season, and they’ve only gotten better on offense. Take Virginia Tech to cover in what should be an incredibly exciting game.

FINAL PICK: Virginia Tech Hokies +5 1/2 (-105)