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Dec 27, 2021

Guaranteed Rate Bowl Picks, Predictions and Odds: West Virginia vs. Minnesota

Dec. 28, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

The final Bowl Game set for Monday this week features the West Virginia Mountaineers against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Guaranteed Rate Bowl is set for a late 10:15 p.m. ET start time that will air on ESPN from Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona.

Score Prediction

Minnesota 23, West Virginia 17

Best Bets

Under 45 (-110) at Circa Sports

Guaranteed Rate Bowl Predictions

Neal Brown is entering a make-or-break 2022 campaign with the West Virginia Mountaineers. He is 17-17 in his three seasons in Morgantown, and more than two dozen players have entered the transfer portal in 2021. A bowl win would mean more to him than most coaches, but the Mountaineers are underdogs to the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

This should be a low-scoring game. Minnesota had one of the best defenses in the country this season, but this offense had a lot of trouble moving the ball. The Golden Gophers want to keep it on the ground, and they will do enough to get the win, yet it won’t be pretty.

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Guaranteed Rate Bowl Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 12 vs. Big 10
  • Date: Tuesday, December 28, 2021
  • Venue: Chase Field
  • Location: Phoenix, Arizona
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 10:15 p.m. ET

West Virginia Mountaineers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 6-6
  • ATS: 6-6
  • O/U: 5-7

West Virginia closed out its season with wins over Texas and Kansas in order to become bowl eligible. The Mountaineers played in a lot of close, low scoring games this year, and four of their five wins over FBS foes were by one possession. Three of their losses were by one possession too though.

Jarret Doege completed almost two-thirds of his passes for 7.5 YPA this season. Doege had problems with interceptions though, tossing six interceptions in his last five games. He is not mobile, leading to him being sacked 30 times too.

Leddie Brown was one of the top running backs in the Big 12, picking up 1,065 yards (4.8 YPC) and 13 touchdowns. However, West Virginia averaged just 3.6 YPC as a team this season, and the Mountaineers just barely rank in the top 100 in rushing offense.

The star of the defense is Dante Stills. He has yet to determine whether or not he will come back to West Virginia in 2022, but the Mountaineers would love to have him back. Stills was named First Team All-Big 12 with six sacks, and this front seven did a decent job of getting to the quarterback.

Minnesota Golden Gophers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-4
  • ATS: 7-4-1
  • O/U: 6-6

It was tough for Minnesota to lose star running back Mohamed Ibrahim in the season opener. Ibrahim ran all over Ohio State, but he suffered a season-ending injury. That threw this offense into disarray, as the Golden Gophers have thrived on play action under P.J. Fleck.

Tanner Morgan was not as effective without a great ground game and two NFL receivers on the perimeter. Morgan completed less than 60% of his passes on the season, and he played poorly in losses to Bowling Green and Illinois. He never threw for more than 210 yards in any game this year.

Fleck ran the ball with Ibrahim often in 2020, but three running backs shared the workload for Minnesota this season. Ky Thomas, Markeise Irving, and Trey Potts all had at least 100 carries for 550 yards, but none of the trio averaged more than 5.0 YPC.

Minnesota had one of the best defenses in the nation this season. The Golden Gophers ranked 10th in scoring defense (18.3 PPG) and fourth in total defense (284.9 YPG). They don’t create a lot of havoc plays, but they play very fundamental defense and don’t allow opponents to post a lot of big plays.

Inside the Stats - West Virginia Mountaineers

  • Record: 6-6
  • VI Ranking: 56
  • Points Scored: 332
  • Points Allowed: 292
  • PS/G: 26.8 (81st)
  • PA/G: 24.3 (48th)

Inside the Stats - Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Record: 8-4
  • VI Ranking: 47
  • Points Scored: 313
  • Points Allowed: 219
  • PS/G: 26.1 (85th)
  • PA/G: 18.2 (9th)

Key Players to Watch

  • WVU: Jarret Doege - QB (254/386, 2,908 yards, 19 TD, 11 INT)
  • WVU: Leddie Brown - RB (223 carries, 1,065 yards, 13 TD)
  • MINN: Tanner Morgan - QB (141/237, 1,935 yards, 10 TD, 8 INT)
  • MINN: Ky Thomas - RB (145 carries, 680 yards, 5 TD)

Guaranteed Rate Bowl Betting Conclusion

This is a tough call in regard to the side. Neither team has been that impressive, but Minnesota has played a tougher slate of opponents and that gives them an edge. The under is the best play considering neither offense has a standout quarterback, and the Golden Gophers have an elite defense.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl Betting Trends

  • West Virginia has failed to cover the spread in nine straight games when playing in December.
  • Minnesota has gone UNDER the point total in six straight games when playing in December.
  • Minnesota has covered the spread in two straight games.


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