Champs Sports Bowl Predictions: NC State vs. West Virginia Odds and Picks
by Robert Ferringo - 12/23/2010
No two conferences in the country catch as much flak as the ACC and the Big East. Sometimes the criticism is warranted and sometimes it‘s not. But, unfortunately, two of the best teams from both leagues won’t get a shot to prove themselves against the rest of the country because they will be slugging it out with one another.
North Carolina State will take on No. 22 West Virginia at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 28 in the Champs Sports Bowl. While the combined 17-7 straight up record of these two clubs may not turn any heads, they have been two of the best bets in the nation this year, posting a combined 14-5-1 record against the spread in their last 20 games.
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N.C. State finished tied for second place in the ACC Atlantic Division this year, just one game behind Florida State. Because the Wolfpack had beaten the Seminoles in their meeting this year, N.C. State could have clinched a spot in the ACC Title Game and a shot at BCS bowl game. But they dropped their last game of the season at Maryland, 38-31.
West Virginia was even closer to a BCS berth. They actually finished in a three-way tie with Connecticut and Pittsburgh for the Big East title. However, they lost a series of tiebreakers, which allowed the Huskies to represent the league in the Fiesta Bowl. The Mountaineers needed to win their last four games in order to have a shot at the BCS – which they did – but in the end it turned out to be too little, too late.
The Mountaineers also faced Maryland this year, beating the Terps, 31-17, at home back in September.
West Virginia boasts one of the top defenses in all of college football. Their stop unit is ranked No. 2 in the nation in total yards, rushing yards and scoring. This group is also No. 10 in pass defense and they surrender just 12.8 points per game. They will be without top corner Brandon Hogan, who was injured in the lead-up to the game, but their physicality and depth is as good or better than anything N.C. State has faced this year.
Russell Wilson will test them. The N.C. State quarterback leads the No. 18 passing attack in the country and he is a stellar NFL prospect. The Wolfpack tallied 30 or more points in seven of their 12 games this year, including a 30-19 victory over Big East foe Cincinnati early in the season.
Champs Sports Bowl Betting Odds: West Virginia vs. NC State
This line has been one of the firmest of the college bowl game schedule. West Virginia opened as a 2.5-point favorite, according to college football lines, and they have remained so, with few exceptions, up to this point. The betting action is split nearly 50-50 in this game although over 80 percent of the moneyline wagers have come in on the underdog. The total has even held at 48.5 almost across the board.
Champs Sports Bowl Betting Trends: West Virginia vs. NC State
Wolfpack are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 Bowl games.
Wolfpack are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Wolfpack are 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 games as an underdog.
Mountaineers are 7-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Mountaineers are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a S.U. win.
Mountaineers are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite.
Mountaineers are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 vs. ACC.
Mountaineers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 Bowl games.
Mountaineers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 Bowl games as a favorite.
Champs Sports Bowl Predictions and Picks: West Virginia vs. NC State
This game is a tricky one because I am a fan of both of these teams and was looking forward to betting on both in their respective matchups. But if I had to lean on one here I would go with West Virginia. The Big East was a horror show this year. But I felt like West Virginia was the best in the league and an underrated group nationally. They did have a fluke home loss to Syracuse. But beyond that their only defeats were hard-fought games at LSU (by seven) and at Connecticut (by three in overtime). Both of those teams are playing in major bowl games and there is no shame there.
I wonder if the sting of missing out on the ACC Championship is lingering wit this NC State team. I am a big Wilson fan. But if the Wolfpack can’t run the ball to assist him I don’t think that State can win with a one-dimensional attack. Take the Mountaineers here and look for the Big East to gain a little respect this winter, starting here.
Robert Ferringo is a writer and a professional sports handicapper for Doc’s Sports. You can sign up for his college football and NFL picks and get more information here.
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