"It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times."   -- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 

It was the best of games, it was the worst of games. If you're watching it should be a good game.  For bettors, it's the worst of games. 

The Sugar Bowl matches two very equal teams. Both should be happy to be there and trying hard to win.  Michigan is 10-2.  Virginia Tech played an extra geme and is 11-2.  Tech has the better quarterback, but not by much.  Va Tech averages 40 more yards per game through the air, but Michigan averages 47 more yards per game on the ground. 

The two teams are exactly equal in defensive yards allowed per game.  Michigan has averaged 6 more points per game, but that doesn't mean much in college football. Va Tech has managed slightly more sacks per game on the oppostion quarterback. 

Va Tech has been intercepted fewer times, but Michigan has intercepted the opposing quarterback more often.  Michigan has the edge in fumbles forced by less than one per game.  Michigan's offense has been penalized 16 yards less per game on average, but Va Tech's defense has been penalized 26 fewer yards per game. 

 
The above 10 yard advantage for Michigan in penalties and the fumble advantage is balanced by Virginia Tech's slightly better special team numbers. 

Michigan is favored by 3.  So,in an equally matched game we should take the points, right?  Wrong.  I can't recommend a play at all.  The problem is that the game can't end in a tie.  That dissolves much of the advantage of the extra 3 points.  If everything plays out as it should, the winner of this game will be the team that scores last. To a great extent, that it is a matter of luck, as is whether the final score is a field goal or a touchdown.  Field goals have lesser importance in college ball than in the NFL.  A line of 3 pushes just half as often in the NCAA as in the NFL, and less often than the numbers 7 and 10. 

Luck is the enemy of the skilled handicapper.  There is simply not enough edge for a play on either team.