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West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Miami Hurricanes – Russell Athletic Bowl Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – December 28, 2016

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Miami Hurricanes – Russell Athletic Bowl Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – December 28, 2016

West Virginia vs. Miami (FL) Preview

Where: Camping World Stadium – Orlando, Florida

When: Wednesday, December 28, 5:30 PM ET

Line: West Virginia Mountaineers (+2.5) vs. Miami Hurricanes (-2.5); total 57.5 – view all NCAA Football lines

TV Broadcast: ESPN

Writer’s Pick: Miami Hurricanes (-2.5)

College Football News and Previews

Betting on the West Virginia Mountaineers (+2.5)

West Virginia had a good season all things considered. The Mountaineers went 10-2 – their best record since joining the Big 12 back in 2012 – but they couldn’t beat the best two teams in the conference – Oklahoma and Oklahoma State – and missed out on a much bigger bowl game.

The Mountaineers, who have what most consider to be the best defense in the Big 12, just couldn’t contain the explosive offenses of the Sooners and Cowboys. They weren’t helped by the offense, which made too many costly turnovers (seven in those two games).

However, they won’t figure to face an offense quite as explosive as the two Oklahoma teams when they face Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

The WVU defense finished 34th in the country in scoring offense, giving up just 23.4 points per game. They are equally good against the run and the pass, and won’t make too many mistakes on that side of the ball.

West Virginia’s offense (45th in scoring offense) has been similarly balanced for the most part, but it has leaned more on the run to end the season. In their last three games, the Mountaineers have averaged 323 rushing yards with junior Justin Crawford busting out for two 200-yard rushing games against Oklahoma and Baylor.

Betting on the Miami Hurricanes (-2.5)

Miami (8-4) had a solid first season under head coach Mark Richt. They had a rough four-game stretch in the middle of the year where they lost to arguably their four toughest opponents – Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame. However, they still had a good chance to win at least three of those games, which were all within one score.

The Canes did manage to end the season strong, as they beat Pitt, Virginia, NC State, and Duke all by two or more touchdowns, and averaged 38 points in the process. That was a good way to build positive momentum heading into next season, and they will be eager to continue that upward trajectory in the bowl game.

Miami will have the more talented quarterback in Brad Kaaya. The junior didn’t exactly take off as expected in Year 1 under Richt, but he did finish the season on a high. He torched Duke for 396 yards and 4 TDs in the season finale, and had a 10-1 TD-INT ratio in his last four games.

Meanwhile, the Miami defense has been very good for just about the entire season. The Canes are 13th in the nation in scoring defense, giving up just 18.9 points per game. Their rushing defense has been particularly noteworthy, as it gave up just 8 rushing touchdowns all year long, tied for the 7th-fewest in the country.

Furthermore, Miami will basically be playing a home game in Orlando, which should provided an added edge in terms of home state support.

Writer’s Prediction

Miami (-2.5) edges out West Virginia, 27-24.

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Written by Brad

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