The West Virginia Mountaineers (6-6) clash with the Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-4) in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl as Bowl Season continues in college football. Both teams closed out the regular season with two wins in a row and look to end their respective seasons on a high note.
Tuesday’s kickoff is at 10:15 p.m. EST at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ. Minnesota is a 5-point favorite, and the over-under total is 45 points.
What to Know – West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia got victories over Texas and Kansas over the final two weeks to lock up a bowl bid for the second season in a row. The Mountaineers will try and end the season like they did last year when they knocked off Army in the Liberty Bowl.
During the regular season, the Mountaineers averaged 26.8 points and 384.8 yards of offense per game. West Virginia surrendered 24.3 points and 350.0 yards defensively, one of the top units in the Big 12.
Jarret Doege threw for 2,908 yards and tossed 19 touchdown passes while completing 65.8 percent of his passes during the regular season. Doege looks to spread the ball around, with five different pass-catchers having over 250 yards receiving this year. Leddie Brown was the team’s leading rusher, compiling 1,065 yards on the ground and 13 touchdowns.
West Virginia finished 6-6 against the spread and are 2-4 ATS over their last six games against teams from the Big Ten. The Mountaineers are 0-9 ATS in their last nine games played in December.
What to Know – Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Golden Gophers return to bowl season after missing out last year. Minnesota is making its third appearance in a bowl game under fifth-year head coach P.J. Fleck. Fleck is 2-0 in bowl games as the leader of the Golden Gophers.
Minnesota’s offense scored 26.1 points and averaged 360.3 yards per game during the regular season. Defensively, the Golden Gophers held teams to 18.3 points and only 284.8 yards of offense.
Tanner Morgan took nearly every snap under center for Minnesota, throwing for 1,935 yards and ten touchdowns. Chris Autman-Bell, who will be playing on Sunday’s next season, was Bell’s favorite target, catching 35 passes for 490 yards and six touchdowns. Minnesota had three rushers carry for over 550 yards, led by Ky Thomas with 680 yards.
Minnesota was 7-4-1 ATS and 6-2 over their last eight contests. The Golden Gophers are 4-0 ATS in their last four bowl games.
The Pick is In
A pair of solid defenses will square off in a game that is expected to be low-scoring. Big plays and key turnovers will be pivotal. Minnesota has the better playmakers on offense and expect the Golden Gophers to wear the Mountaineers down their three-headed rushing attack.
Minnesota runs to their recent bowl record ATS to 5-0 with a touchdown victory over the Mountaineers in the desert.
Betting Pick: Minnesota Golden Gophers -5