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Russell Athletic Bowl - Preview, Picks and Prediction

NCAAF Russell Athletic Bowl Picks

West Virginia meets Miami, Florida in the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl and is the only bowl game matchup between the Big 12 and ACC. The ACC had a strong year, while the Big 12 was down, hence, the reason the Canes are a three point favorite, despite the Mountaineers 10-win season. The game is being played in Orlando and you would think that would give the edge to Miami, but the Mountaineer nation is passionate about their team and thousands of their fans will make the trip to support their troops. The question is whether Miami’s fans show up. This should be an entertaining game that will go right down to the wire.

Date and Time: December 28, 2016 - 5:30 p.m., ET
Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
TV Coverage: ESPN

OPENING LINE: Miami, Florida -1.5, Total 56
CURRENT LINE: Miami, Florida -3.5

Odds courtesy of BookMaker.eu

A big movement on the line in the early stages. The Hurricanes opened up as a slight betting favorite of -1.5 and quickly moved to -3.5. I guess West Virginia isn’t getting much respect, despite a 10-2 record. The Big 12 Conference was down this year and the ACC was one of the top two conferences in the nation.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS 10-2
ATS: 5-6-1

The Mountaineers won 10 games on the year but really didn’t beat anyone. Their marquee wins were over Kansas State and Texas and the Longhorns didn’t even make a bowl game. Their schedule was soft and I will be curious to see how motivated they are to play against a revived Miami, Florida squad. West Virginia was ranked as high as No. 8 in the rankings but after losses to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma they quickly fell out of sight. It seemed like the Mountaineers got worse as the season progressed and they will have to find some sort of motivation if they want to win this game.

MIAMI, FLORIDA HURRICANES 8-4
ATS: 8-4

Led by junior signal caller Brad Kaaya, the Canes have a high powered offense. Kaaya became the first Canes quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in his first three seasons at the U. Miami sputtered early and lost four games in a row but finished the year strong, winning their last four. They should be able to move the ball on West Virginia as they averaged nearly 34 points a game and rolled up 430 yards per week. The Canes are young and hungry to become a top ten team. A win in this game should provide some spark for next year and return the Canes to a top ten ballclub.

PREDICTION: The public are all over the Hurricanes and for good reason. In the past the Cane’s have been an over valued team but this year they were undervalued and beat the spread 8 of 12 times. They weren’t given the respect as in past years. West Virginia has a solid defense that ranked a top the Big 12 conference and should have the horses to slow down Miami, Florida’s offense, however, the Hurricanes will be highly motivated to bring first year coach Mark Richt a bowl victory and motivation is often times the key in these bowl games. It’s been a decade since Miami has won a bowl game and that all changes this year as Miami, Florida wins, 34-28.

The Miami, Florida Hurricanes meet the West Virginia Mountaineers in the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl on Wednesday, December 28, 2016. Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida will host the game and ESPN will televise the game live.