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Russell Athletic Bowl 2012 odds and lines

Virginia Tech heads into its bowl game against Rutgers with a slight advantage, as oddsmakers consider the Hokies favorites by up to a field goal in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech is a slim favorite in the Russell Athletic Bowl after closing its 2012 season on a high note.

It's a surprise to some that the Hokies are even in a bowl game, let alone favored, after a stretch that saw them lose six of eight games with wins against Bowling Green and Duke. But they're in, by the skin of their teeth, after beating Boston College in overtime and Virginia by a field goal.

And not only are they in, they're expected to beat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Orlando, according to oddsmakers: The Hokies opened as 1 1/2-point favorites, but are now listed as favorites by anywhere from 2 to 3 points. It's surprising against a Rutgers team that won a share of their first Big East championship and started the year with seven straight wins -- more than Virginia Tech had all year - but the Scarlet Knights dropped three of their last five, including losses in their last two games where the Hokies won theirs.

Rutgers had one of the nation's top defenses, allowing only 14.3 points per game, making Logan Thomas' job harder. That said, the Scarlet Knights didn't play a single ranked opponent all year, a fact that surely helped them finish 9-3.