Georgia Tech has a must-win college football game on its hands on Thursday night (7:30 PM ET, ESPN) at No. 20 Virginia Tech, but I doubt it’ll cover its dog tag let alone win outright. Check out the NCAAF betting analysis and live in article odds from SBR.

The Yellow Jackets (5-3 SU, 3-5 ATS) are 12- to 13.5-point underdogs depending on the NCAAF betting odds outlet against the Hokies (6-2 SU, 6-2 ATS), but that won’t be enough room for them to cover the number.

Is it all about the Run?

GT is known for its triple-option run-heavy offense that has it ranked first in the nation in rushing (317.4 YPG), but it’s its inability to stop the run that has me fading it heading into Blacksburg.

The Jackets are only 75th against the run (162.2 YPG), and they’re up against quarterback Tyrod Taylor and the country’s 16th-ranked rushing attack (214.8 YPG) on Thursday.

The Hokies don’t depend entirely on the run, either, even if it is their bread and butter. Taylor has emerged as arguably the best dual-threat QB in college football to lead a VT offense that’s 14th in scoring (37.0 PPG).

After starting the season with a tough neutral site loss to Boise State and a shocking defeat to James Madison at Lane Stadium, the Hokies have run the table to become the hottest spread wager in the nation.

Virginia Tech with the momentum

Virginia Tech should be getting more press. Since going 0-2 SU and against the number through Week 2, the Hokies have reeled off six straight in the standings and at the window.

VT’s offense is rolling, too. Outside of a 19-0 shutout win at Boston College, the Hokies scored at least 41 points in the other five wins during their current streak.

Taylor, who isn’t in the Heisman Trophy discussion but very well could be, leads the ACC with a 171.1 passer rating to go along with over 1,600 yards passing, 15 touchdowns, and only three interceptions. On the ground, Taylor has added 527 yards, and that’s been huge for surging VT with top running back Ryan Williams banged up.

Williams (hamstring) is getting healthier coming off a bye week, and it looks like he’s ready to take on a bigger role in the offense after playing two series in the Hokies’ 44-7 win over Duke in Week 8.

If Williams can step in even as a change of pace, bettors could be in for a blowout in Blacksburg. Georgia Tech can’t stop the run as it is, and with Williams firing, it could be lights out in a hurry.

If there’s a knock on Virginia Tech’s profitable run, it’s that it hasn’t played a tough schedule in jumping out to first place in the ACC Coastal. Yes, the Hokies won 41-30 as 3.5-point chalk at an underrated North Carolina State team, but the list of the other opponents during their run looks like this: Duke, Wake Forest, Central Michigan, Boston College, and East Carolina.

Run down the College Football Betting Odds

The Jackets are also coming off a bye week as they prepare to contain Taylor and the Hokies. GT fell 27-13 at Clemson (-3.5) in Week 8, as it allowed 236 yards rushing to the Tigers.

In other games against notable opponents this season, the Jackets lost 45-28 at home to NC State (+8) and 30-24 at North Carolina.

Bettors should also be concerned with Georgia Tech’s virtually non-existent passing game. The Jackets rank second-last through the air in front of only Army this season with 84.8 yards passing per game.

Last season, Georgia Tech had wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, and he was key in its 28-23 win over Virginia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium last October.

QB Josh Nesbitt completed only one pass to Thomas in the payday as 3.5-point underdogs, but the threat of the big play kept the Hokies’ defense relatively honest. The Jackets won’t have that same luxury in this year’s matchup.

The total for Thursday’s game is listed at 56 nearly across the board, although one sportsbook has the number at 56.5. In addition to its strong ATS record, Virginia Tech is 6-2 O/U this season.