Russell Athletic Bowl West Virginia vs Miami NCAA Football Odds
One of the best early bowl matchups of the 2016 season takes place on Wednesday evening as the West Virginia Mountaineers head south to sunny Florida to take on the Miami Hurricane. These two teams formerly met yearly when they were in the Big East, but now Miami plays in the ACC while West Virginia hails from the Big 12. Both teams bring powerful offenses to the field, so this could end up as a real shootout. Check out our betting advice for this bowl game as well as all of our college football odds for the upcoming bowl games and the College Football Playoff.
NCAAF: Russell Athletic Bowl West Virginia vs Miami (FL)
When: Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 5:30pm ET
Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG / Miami Hurricane Network
Live Stream: WatchESPN
NCAAF Odds: Miami (-2.5), O/U 56.5
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) December 27, 2016
Why should you bet on the Mountaineers?
West Virginia finished in a tie for second place in the Big 12 with the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Their ten-win season was only marred by road losses to Oklahoma State and the Oklahoma Sooners. The team held on to win games against BYU, Texas, Baylor and Kansas State, so it is difficult to say just how solid a team this is, given their lack of powerhouse opposition. However, West Virginia enters a bowl game for the fifth time in the last sixth seasons, and this marks their best performance in the Big 12 since they came over from the now-defunct Big East. Quarterback Skyler Howard takes the field for his last college game on Wednesday, having thrown 26 touchdown passes on the season. Tailback Justin Crawford picked up 1,168 yards on the season. One area of improvement for the Mountaineers this year was on defense, but they still allowed almost 24 points per game. Cornerback Rasul Douglas picked off 8 passes on the year, tied for the nation’s lead.
Why should you put your money on the Hurricane?
Miami (8-4) took a number of strides under first-year head coach Mark Richt. They had Florida State on the ropes, but then the Seminoles blocked an extra point to help seal the win, and then the Hurricane went on a four-game losing streak. They lost to North Carolina by seven and Notre Dame by three. However, they righted the ship and finished the season with a four-game winning streak, knocking off Pitt, Virginia, North Carolina State and Duke, all handily. Junior quarterback Brad Kaaya threw for 3,250 yards and 23 touchdowns on the year, and this could be his final game as well as he has to decide whether to come out for the NFL draft or not. Tailback Mark Walton carried the ball for 1,065 yards and 14 touchdowns, earning the team’s MVP award. This is a young team at many of the skill positions, which bodes well for a bowl game just up the highway.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
West Virginia plays tough football, especially on their home field, but they could not hold off the opposition in big games away from the mountains. I lke Miami to win this contest in their home state by a score of 34-24.