West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Miami Hurricanes NCAAF Pick - Russell Athletic Bowl Odds
In a throwback to their old Big East days, the Big 12’s West Virginia Mountaineers will renew their rivalry against the ACC’s Miami Hurricanes in this season’s Russell Athletic Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 28. Kickoff from Camping World Stadium in Orlando is set for 5:30 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
West Virginia vs. Miami Game Overview
West Virginia was in position to make a run at a much bigger bowl and a possible spot in the College Football Playoff following a straight-up 6-0 start, but losses to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma ended those dreams. The Mountaineers are still an impressive 10-2 SU on the year, but they fall to a costly 5-7 against the spread. The total has stayed UNDER in six of their last nine games.
Behind quarterback Skyler Howard and running back Justin Crawford, West Virginia had one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the Big 12 this season. Howard ended the season with 3,194 yards passing and 26 touchdown throws against 10 interceptions. Crawford gained 1,168 yards on the ground while averaging 7.4 yards a carry. The Mountaineers were 45th in the nation in scoring with 32.6 points a game and they were ranked 50th in points allowed (23.4).
The Hurricanes come into this game with a record of 8-4 both SU and ATS. They closed out their season on a strong note with four wins in a row both SU and ATS while scoring an average of 38 points a game. The total went OVER 54.5 points in a season-ending 40-21 romp against Duke as 16-point home favorites after staying UNDER in three of their previous four contests. Miami is a solid 8-2 ATS this season when closing as a favorite.
This is another team that had a good balance between the pass and the run with an average of 431.3 yards of total offense a game. That resulted in a scoring average of 34.6 points a game that was aided by that late-season run. Quarterback Brad Kaaya led the passing attack with 3,250 yards and 23 scoring strikes and Mark Waiton was Miami’s leading rusher with 1,065 yards and 14 scores on 192 carries. The Hurricanes were also solid on the other side of the ball with a points-allowed average of 18.9 that was ranked 28th in the country.
West Virginia vs. Miami Game Betting Trends
- The Mountaineers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven bowl games and against the ACC they are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games. The total has gone OVER in eight of their last 11 games in a postseason bowl.
- The Hurricanes have failed to cover ATS in their last five bowl games, but they have gone 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a SU win. The total has gone OVER in five of their last six games against a team from the Big 12.
- These two teams have not played one another since 2003, but going back to this head-to-head matchup when both teams were still in the old Big East, the underdog has covered ATS in seven of the last nine meetings with the total staying UNDER in three of the last five meetings.
West Virginia Mountaineers at Miami Hurricanes Free Game Prediction
While it has been quite some time since these former rivals have met on the football field, it should not take all that long for the intensity to pick right back up. West Virginia gets the slight edge in overall talent on offense, but Miami comes in with a slight edge on defense. No matter how you add things up this should be a close, hard-fought battle that lasts all four quarters.
I am going to take the Mountaineers and the three points on the current spread as my ‘best bet’ pick in a game that is too close to call straight up.
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