West Virginia vs. Syracuse Camping World Bowl Pick
No. 16 West Virginia Mountaineers (8-3 SU, 6-3-2 ATS) vs. No. 20 Syracuse Orange (9-3 SU, 8-3-1 ATS)
Camping World Bowl Preview
Date/Time: Friday December 28th, 2018. 5:15PM (EST)
Where: Camping World Stadium Orlando, F.L.
Point Spread:WVU -1.5/SYR +1.5
Over/Under Total: 68
The Camping World Bowl will provide one of the most intriguing postseason match-ups when the no. 16 West Virginia Mountaineers meet the no. 20 Syracuse Orange in Orlando, Florida. Both the Orange and Mountaineers have produced somewhat breakout seasons. At 9-3 SU, Syracuse just concluded their best regular season record since the 2001 season and will have a chance to reach 10 wins for only the 2nd time in the last 25 years. Meanwhile, despite an 8-3 SU record and losing their previous two games, West Virginia possesses one of their most talented teams in recent memory. The Mountaineers would probably be bigger favorites, but they will enter the Camping World Bowl without their most important player which in itself leads many to question if the wrong team is favored?
West Virginia QB Will Grier to forego bowl game
Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier is one of many high profile players that has elected to forego their team’s postseason bowl opportunity in lieu of preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft. The loss will definitely be difficult to overcome from West Virginia because Grier has been the biggest benefactor for the Mountaineers offense that has averaged 42.3 points per game on the year. Grier posted staggering numbers by completing 67% of his passes for 3,864 yards with 37 touchdowns and just 8 picks. Obviously having a player of Grier’s caliber sidelined is damaging especially for a team like the Mountaineers that relies heavily on the passing attack.
Mountaineers turn to QB Jack Allison
The Mountaineers will now turn the control of the offense over to sophomore quarterback Jack Allison. Allison has played just a handful of garbage time snaps this year making it difficult to predict his effectiveness against a tough Syracuse defense. I looked up Allison’s high school recruiting tapes, and he appears to be a very accurate passer. However, I did not see many throws down the field which has been part of West Virginia’s explosiveness this year. The good news is that Allison has two of the best receivers in the Big 12 to target in the likes of Gary Jennings Jr and David Sills. The two receivers have combined for 1,800 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns this year and will definitely capture the attention of this Syracuse defense.
Syracuse offense looking for big bowl performance
Despite the uncertain performance expectations for Allison, the Syracuse defense will obviously be tested against a dangerous WVU offense. For the Orange to win this game, they need a big offensive performance against a West Virginia defense that has given up 27 points per game. Syracuse QB Eric Dungey is an effective dual-threat quarterback that can cause trouble on the ground or through the air against opposing defenses. The Orange will have plenty of opportunities in this game with the help of running back Moe Neal to move the football on the ground. If they can get the ground game going as I expect, it will open up plays down the field. The Mountaineers defense, while improved, has still given up several big plays this season and the Orange will need a few to pull out this victory.
West Virginia vs. Syracuse betting trends
Syracuse is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games and also 4-1 ATS on the season as underdogs. West Virginia is hovered around the .500 mark for bettors throughout the 2nd half of the season specifically going 2-3-2 ATS in their last 7 games. The Mountaineers have hit the ‘over’ in each of their last 5 games. Syracuse has hit the ‘over’ in 5 of their last 7 games overall.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This should be an interesting game with some fireworks on both sides of the ball. However, I believe Syracuse is in the best position to win the game outright. The Orange is better on the defensive side of the football and will get the opportunity to showcase their skills against an inexperienced quarterback. The Mountaineers closed out the season with two straight losses, and I think it would be hard for them to get their confidence back. Take Syracuse +1.5