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Hyundai Sun Bowl: What bettors need to know

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. UCLA Bruins (-7, 47)

Game played at Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas.

HYUNDAI SUN BOWL STORYLINES

1. The Bruins, who play Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 in El Paso, Tex., have one of the top defensive ends in the nation in Anthony Barr and a talented sophomore quarterback in Brett Hundley, who must soon decide whether to enter the NFL Draft. But no player has generated more buzz than Myles Jack. The freshman linebacker added running back to his duties last month and totaled 267 yards and seven touchdowns in the final four games.

2. The Hokies weren’t a strong ground team before losing leading rusher Trey Edmunds to a fractured right tibia Nov. 30 in the regular-season finale against Virginia. Now they’ll have to lean on J.C. Coleman, who has carried the ball just 75 times for 262 yards this season, and possibly gamble with freshman Jerome Wright, who's yet to touch the ball.

3. Virginia Tech is dealing with a handful of other injuries that could impact the game, most notably to cornerback Kyle Fuller, who underwent surgery Nov. 19 to repair core muscle damage in his lower abdomen. Fuller, a first-team all-ACC pick last season, is hoping to play his final collegiate game alongside his younger brother, Kendall, a freshman defensive back for the Hokies.

TV: 2 p.m. ET, CBS.

LINE: UCLA opened -7 and has been bet up to as high as -7.5. The total moved from 47 to 47.5.

WEATHER: Clear skies and temperatures in the high 40s with winds blowing SW at 3 mph.

TRENDS:

* Hokies are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Bruins are 6-1 ATS in their last seven non-conference games.
* Under is 9-4-1 in Hokies' last 14 games overall.
* Under is 6-2 in Bruins' last eight games in Decemb

ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (8-4, 4-7-1 ATS): Logan Thomas hasn’t improved on his 2011 season when he was a second-team All-ACC selection, but the Hokies quarterback impressed enough this fall to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl next month. Thomas continues to get dinged by interceptions, compiling 13 more this season to give him 39 over the last three years. He cleaned things up a bit during the last two months of the regular season, going without an interception in five of the final eight games.

ABOUT UCLA (9-3, 8-4 ATS): The Bruins are aiming for their first 10-win season since 2005, a year that also culminated with a victory in El Paso, Tex. Hundley has played a major role in UCLA’s outcomes this season, not only leading the Bruins in every passing category but also leading the team in rushing. He has been careful not to get too attached to a particular receiver, as both Shaquelle Evans (43 catches, 617 yards) and Devin Fuller (42-464) have taken turns leading the team in receiving.

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