West Virginia vs Miami Russell Athletic Bowl Spread, Free Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Tuesday,December 27, 2016 8:52, EDT in

Miami has lost six straight bowl games, last winning one in the 2006 MPC Computers Bowl in Boise, which signaled the transition from Larry Coker to Randy Shannon as head coach. But the Hurricanes are slight favorites to end that skid when they play former Big East rival and No. 16 West Virginia in Wednesday’s Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.

West Virginia vs Miami Russell Athletic Bowl Spread, Free Pick & TV Info

When: Wednesday, Dec. 28, 5:30 PM ET
Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando
TV: ESPN
Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: West Virginia / Miami
Opening NCAA Football Lines: Miami -2.5 (57)

Why Bet on West Virginia?

WVU beat every team on its schedule this season except the two Oklahoma schools in the Big 12. The Mountaineers managed to give up only 255 yards a contest in a conference that loves to play offense. Cornerback Rasul Douglas is tied for first nationally in interceptions with eight. Douglas is also one of the top players in the Big 12 in passes defended and broken up. Against Miami’s passing attack, Douglas will be a key component for an underrated Mountaineers defense.

It’s just the ninth time in school history the Mountaineers have won 10 or more games in a season, and the second time Coach Dana Holgorsen has done it. A win in this game would match the Mountaineers’ record for single-season wins. West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard leads an attack that ranks 12th nationally in total offense. Howard has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 3,194 yards and 26 touchdowns this year. In 29 career games, Howard now ranks third in school history in career passing behind Geno Smith and Marc Bulger with 7,168 career yards and 60 touchdowns. WVU’s defense has held opponents to 21 points or less in nine of their 12 games.

These two schools haven’t met since 2003, a 22-20 win for the Hurricanes. Overall this is the 20th meeting between the two schools with the Hurricanes holding a 16-3 advantage. West Virginia last beat Miami in 1997 a 28-17 win in Coral Gables but since then the Hurricanes have won the past six meetings in the series between the two teams.

Last year, Holgorsen’s Mountaineers defeated Arizona State, 43-42, in the 2016 Motel 6 Cactus Bowl. It will be West Virginia’s 35th bowl appearance and the fifth under Holgorsen, now 46-30 in his sixth season with the Mountaineers.

Why Bet on Miami?

First-year coach Mark Richt returned to his alma mater after a long stint at Georgia and led the Hurricanes to an 8-4 season. The Canes have responded from a four-game midseason losing streak by winning their final four games of the year all by at least two TDs, including a 23-point win over Pitt, which beat Clemson the following week.

QB Brad Kaaya’s 9,686 career passing yards surpassed former Hurricane star quarterback Ken Dorsey for first place in school history. Kaaya has completed 61.2 percent of his pass attempts for 3,250 yards and 23 touchdowns this year, 58 throws those going to Stacy Coley for 703 yards and nine touchdowns.

Sophomore running back Mark Walton reached 1,000 yards for the season against Duke and now shows 1,065 yards heading into the Russell Athletic Bowl. He has scored 25 touchdowns in 25 career games with the Hurricanes.

Miami’s defense has gotten progressively better this year, limiting Virginia to just 14 points and NC State to 13 points in recent wins and holding seven opponents this year to 20 points or less. Richt will be coaching in his 15th career bowl game, holding a 9-5 record during his career. This will be the first time that Richt will be coaching against West Virginia’s Holgorsen and the second time he has gone against the Mountaineers with the first being a loss in the 2006 Sugar Bowl.

West Virginia vs Miami Russell Athletic Bowl Free Pick: Miami Hurricanes

Mountaineers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
Over is 8-3 in Mountaineers last 11 bowl games.

Go Miami and over the NCAA Football betting total.