West Virginia vs Miami Russell Athletic Bowl Pick, 12-28-2016
West Virginia Mountaineers vs Miami Hurricanes Russell Athletic Bowl
Free Pick by: Johnny Pham of BetSheet.com
Odds: Miami -2.5, 57.5
Time: December 28th, 5:30pm EST
West Virginia Mountaineers
(10-2 SU, 5-7 ATS)
The 10 win Mountaineers must be happy they aren’t playing a team from the state of Oklahoma. West Virginia had a terrific season with only two losses on the season to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the two top teams in the Big 12.
The Big 12 was certainly down this season and WVU had only 3 non-conference wins that came at the start of the season to Missouri, Youngstown State and BYU. Strength of schedule kept this team out of a New Year’s Day bowl game. Nevertheless, they will have their hands full with “The U”.
West Virginia is lead by QB Skyler Howard who threw for 3,194 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The West Virginia Mountaineers ground game is averaging 239.5 yards per contest, and Justin Crawford leads the way with 1,168 yards and four touchdowns.
The Mountaineers defense allowed 431 total yards and were susceptible to both the pass and run. They gave up only 23 PPG but this defense did not play well enough in key games, most notably their 2 losses.
(8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS)
A close one point loss to Florid State may have triggered a 4 game losing streak. Miami had a commanding 13-3 lead at half but the Seminoles were more inspired in the 3rd quarter, scoring 14 points to change the momentum. This was a tough loss for the ‘Canes as they then proceeded to lose to UNC, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.
Miami turned their season around and ended the regular season on 4 game win streak and they look to win their 1st bowl game since 2006.
The ‘Canes are lead by QB Brad Kaaya who threw for 3,250 yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Playing in a prototypical pro style offense, Kaaya’s numbers aren’t overly impressive but the junior quarterback certainly has NFL aspirations. Miami averages only 157 rushing yards per game but RB Mark Walton managed 1065 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 5.5 YPC. Look for Walton to exploit this Mountaineers defense.
The defensive edge goes to Miami in this matchup, conceding only 19 PPG and only 353 total yards per game. This Miami defense may be one of the toughest West Virginia has faced all season.
West Virginia vs Miami Russell Athletic Bowl Pick
What is Johnny Pham Predicting?
Miami may have had higher expectations than an 8 win season and perhaps lost some games they shouldn’t have lost. West Virginia had a 10 win season and landed in the Russell Athletic Bowl which may have been a slight considering their record. The Hurricanes enter this game winners of their last 4 games and may have more motivation to win their first bowl game since 2006. A 10 year bowl drought is astounding considering the talent “The U” recruits.
Miami is 4-0 ATS their last 4 games and 6-1 ATS L7 following a SU win. WVU is just 1-6 ATS their last 7 bowl games and 1-6 ATS their last 7 neutral site games.
My feeling is that Miami is a better team than their record indicates and their defense is much better than West Virginia’s. The Hurricanes felt the after shock of losing to Florida State for too long during the middle of the season but they bounce back to win four straight and I think they make it 5 tonight. Look for the ‘Canes to win their first bowl game since 2006 and cover the small spread.