Maryland vs. Virginia Tech New Era Pinstripe Bowl Picks and Predictions

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Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa #3 of the Maryland Terrapins. Rich Schultz/Getty Images/AFP

Former ACC member Maryland, now of the Big Ten, faces current ACC member Virginia Tech on December 29 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?  Keep reading to check the NCAAF odds board and get some expert betting advice.

Maryland Terrapins vs. Virginia Tech Hokies 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021 – 02:15 PM EST at Yankee Stadium 

Four bowl games on Wednesday, December 29th, and the second of them features Maryland of the Big Ten taking on neighboring Virginia Tech of the ACC in the Pinstripe Bowl from Yankee Stadium, certainly one of the more unique bowl locations. 

The Pinstripe Bowl has been held since 2010 but was canceled last year. Neither of these schools has played in the game previously. It has been Big Ten vs. ACC in the past six games and the Big Ten is 5-1 in those.  

Wednesday will mark the 32nd all-time meeting between the Terps and Hokies, who were both members of the ACC from 2004-2013. Of course, then Maryland shocked many by leaving for the Big Ten and more money. The Terps lead the series 16-15. The favorite is 4-1 ATS at BMR’s top-rated books in the past five meetings.  

Maryland in Bowl for the First Time in Five Years 

A weird season for Maryland as the Terps started 4-0 and then lost six of seven. They had to win at Rutgers in the regular-season finale on Nov. 27 to get bowl eligible and did, 40-16. 

The Terps can definitely score behind quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of former Alabama star and current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Taulia has been named a finalist for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award. Tua won that twice.  

Taulia set school records this season for passing yards (3,595), completions (308), and 300-yard passing games (seven). He’s among national leaders in completion percentage (68.4%), completions per game (25.67), passing touchdowns (24), and total offense (303.3). He’s two TDs shy of tying the school single-season record set by Scott Milanovich in 1993.  

Taulia has an excellent tight end in Chigoziem Okonkwo, who over the past four games caught 29 balls for 259 yards, the most receptions ever by a Maryland tight end over a four-game span and the most by any Maryland player since D.J. Moore had 30 in the first four games of the 2017 season. Okonkwo contemplated skipping the bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft but said he would play because he has never played in the bowl. 

The reason this team isn’t better is a pretty sorry defense, although Jakorian Bennett is one of the better defensive backs in the Big Ten. His 16 pass breakups lead all Power Five players.  

It’s the 28th all-time bowl game for the Terps and the first since 2016. They are 11-14-2 in them. Maryland hasn’t played a game in New York City since 1936. The Terps are 5-1 ATS on the NCAAF picks in their past six non-conference games.  

Virginia Tech in Major Transition 

It was a very disappointing season for the Hokies (6-6) as they fired Coach Justin Fuente. Interim coach J.C. Price will guide the team in the bowl but the new full-time guy is former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry. He worked as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech in the 1990s under former coach Frank Beamer. 

Tech got bowl eligible with a 29-24 upset win at Virginia in the regular-season finale but you will barely recognize this team from the one that took the field that day as several players have either transferred out or declared for the draft and opted out of the bowl game.

That list includes starting quarterback Braxton Burmeister, who entered the transfer portal on Monday. He started every game this year, passing for 1,960 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions and added 521 rush yards, which ranked second on the team, and two rushing touchdowns. 

Thus, the likely starter for this game will be junior Connor Blumrick. The Texas A&M transfer saw the field a few times this year, completing 7-for-16 for 42 yards and two TDs. The team’s top two receivers also are out.

Virginia Tech actually opened as a favorite in this game but the spread has done a 180 with all the Hokies’ losses. Running back Raheem Blackshear has declared for the draft but will play. 

It’s the 34th bowl game for Tech, which is 13-20 in them. The Hokies have achieved bowl eligibility for 29 straight seasons, the longest streak in the nation. They opted out of playing one last year, though. Tech is 1-5 ATS in its past six non-conference games.  

I actually don’t love the spread at Terps -3.5 so I'd recommend the money line instead of as I do think Maryland wins but maybe not by more than a field goal.  

NCAAF Pick: Maryland (-162) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Maryland (-162)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.