A rising program and one that must rediscover it’s footing head to Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium on Monday, December 31 for the 2018 Military Bowl betting matchup that kicks off New Year’s Eve action.
The Cincinnati Bearcats remain ranked after a surprisingly good regular season. Playing in the same conference as powerful Central Florida, Cincinnati battled their way to a 10-2 record, only losing to Temple and UCF. The Bearcats are one of the top up-and-coming programs in college football.
Contrasting Cincinnati’s rise, Virginia Tech failed by almost any measure during the regular season. The Hokies were a favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division and battle Clemson in the championship. VA Tech didn’t touch the title game. Not only did they fail to sniff the championship, but they finished in fifth place in the division, losing half of their conference battles.
Virginia Tech will look to salvage something from a disappointing 2018 while the Cincinnati Bearcats will try to carry momentum in 2019. Who takes the Military Bowl betting battle on Monday?
2018 MILITARY BOWL BETTING
#24 Cincinnati Bearcats vs Virginia Tech Hokies
Monday, December 31st – Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium– 12:00pm ET
Odds: Cincinnati -5.5 (54.5)
Bearcats Hope to Finish Season Ranked in Top 25
At one point this season, the Cincinnati Bearcats looked like a legitimate contender to Central Florida’s American Athletic Conference dominance. The Bearcats were 5-1 and had already beaten Tulane, Miami-Ohio, and UCLA.
The Bearcats didn’t look back. A loss to Temple during the middle of the season could have derailed them. They bounced out of that loss with wins over SMU, Navy, and South Florida. After UCF dropped them 38-13, Cincinnati could have folded. Instead, they finished the regular season with a 56-6 win over Eastern Carolina.
Now facing a team with a lot of history, the Bearcats hope to end the regular season in the College Football Playoff Rankings Top 25. If they accomplish their goal, Cincinnati knows 2019 could be even better than their 2018 breakout season.
VA Tech Can Salvage Disappointing Campaign
The season started well enough for the Virginia Tech Hokies. They threw down the gauntlet with a 24-3 win over then ranked Florida State. They followed the win over Florida State with a great 62-17 blasting of overmatched William and Mary. It didn’t seem like anything could derail a team with a top returning quarterback in Josh Jackson and a defense that had always impressed.
But, Jackson got hurt 3 days after the historic 35-49 loss to Old Dominion. With Jackson no longer under center, Virginia Tech’s season went south in a hurry. The Old Dominion game also affected the entire program in a bad way. So much so, that VA Tech dropped games to Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Miami. In other words, it created a sense of vulnerability that opponents took full advantage of.
The Hokies did finish the season with 2 wins, though. One of the wins, 34-31 over UVA as a +4 dog, must be considered a quality victory. If Virginia Tech can carry some momentum into this game, they could upset Cincinnati as a 2018 Military Bowl betting underdog.
2018 Military Bowl Betting Trends and Pick
College football handicappers didn’t buy into Cincinnati as a 6-point favorite. They’ve bet the Bearcats down to 5.5 and, even at that price, most handicappers are going the other way and backing Virginia Tech.
Trends mean something in this game. Surprisingly, the trends favor the dog. VA Tech is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 after scoring more than 40 points in their previous. They’re also 9-4 in their last 13 in December. The Bearcats are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 bowl games and 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 in December.
Cincinnati appears to be the better team, but Virginia Tech might have turned things around with wins over Virginia and Marshall. It makes no sense to fight the trends.
2018 Military Bowl Betting Free Pick: Virginia Tech +5.5