The Virginia Cavaliers and Auburn Tigers are facing off in just three short weeks in Atlanta in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve. Interestingly enough, Vegas opened at dead-even for this matchup. Since then, the line has moved to 1.5 in Auburn's favor, though of course, it's still very, very early in the process.
The Tigers (7-5, 4-4 SEC) have been favored in just four games this season -- Utah State (-24), Florida Atlantic (-31), Ole Miss (-11.5) and Samford (HC) (-31.5). Not exactly the most challenging of opponents there, but Auburn has won in each of the four games. Of the remaining eight games in which the Tigers have been underdogs, they've won three of them and have lost the remaining five.
Virginia (8-4, 5-3 ACC) has been an underdog in five games this season - North Carolina (+10), Georgia Tech (+7), Miami (+13.5), Florida State (+17.5) and Virginia Tech (+5.5). The Cavaliers won three of those, losing to the Heels and the Hokies. Of the remaining seven games in which the Hoos have been favored, Virginia won five of them, losing to Southern Miss (who has outperformed all expectations) and NC State.
This is the first bowl game in the London Era. Under former head coach Al Groh, the Hoos were 3-2 in postseason games. Vegas has been wildly unsuccessful in predicting the performance of the Hoos during this time. Virginia was favored in two of these games, winning one (2003 Continental Tire Bowl vs. West Virginia) and losing one (2004 MPC Computers Bowl vs. Fresno State). In the three games in which the Hoos were underdogs, Virginia lost one (2007 Gator Bowl vs. Texas Tech) and beating the odds in two (2005 Music City Bowl vs. Minnesota and 2002 Continental Tire Bowl vs. West Virginia).
Each of Virginia's last three bowl games have been decided by a field goal (31-28 loss to Texas Tech; 34-31 win over Minnesota; 37-34 loss to Fresno State).
So when the Tigers are favored, they have won every time, though it's been against cupcake opponents. When the Hoos are underdogs, they've outperformed more often than not. For Virginia, at least, Vegas has had a hard time figuring out exactly what team takes the field on any given game day, so it's probably best that the line opened at 0.