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West Virginia vs. Utah - 12/26/17 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Utah Utes (6-6) at West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5)

College Football: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm (Cotton Bowl)

The Line: West Virginia Mountaineers +7 -- Over/Under: 55.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

The West Virginia Mountaineers and Utah Utes meet Tuesday in the college football Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl at the Cotton Bowl.

The West Virginia Mountaineers head into the bowl season splitting their last eight games and have a shot at least eight victories for the third straight year. The West Virginia Mountaineers have split their last 12 bowl games. Chris Chugunov is completing 54.8 percent of his passes for 407 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Chugunov enters this game with 67 career pass attempts under his belt. Gary Jennings and David Sills V have combined for 2,010 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns while Ka’Raun White has 58 receptions. The West Virginia Mountaineers ground game is averaging 160.4 yards per contest, and Justin Crawford leads the way with 1,061 yards and seven touchdowns. Defensively, West Virginia is allowing 31.6 points and 452.5 yards per game. Al-Rasheed Benton leads the West Virginia Mountaineers with 102 tackles, Ezekiel Rose has 4.5 sacks and Kyzir White has three interceptions.   

West Virginia vs. Utah - 12/26/17 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Utes have lost six of their last eight games and have not experienced a losing season since 2013. The Utah Utes are 10-1 all-time in bowl games under head coach Kyle Whittingham. Tyler Huntley is completing 65.4 percent of his passes for 2,246 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Huntley and Troy Williams have combined for 17 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions this season. Darren Carrington II and Raelon Singleton have combined for 1,397 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns while Siaosi Wilson has 20 receptions. The Utah Utes ground game is averaging 161.2 yards per contest, and Zack Moss leads the way with 1,023 yards and nine touchdowns. Defensively, Utah is allowing 23.9 points and 353.8 yards per game. Kavika Luafatasaga leads the Utah Utes with 76 tackles, Bradlee Anae has seven sacks and Julian Blackmon has two interceptions.

The Utes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Big 12, 9-3 ATS in their last 12 bowl games and 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games overall. The Mountaineers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 bowl games, 0-5 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The over is 4-1-1 in Mountaineers last 6 neutral site games and the over is 4-1 in Utes last 5 games overall.

This had the potential to be a fun bowl game, but Tyler Huntley is questionable and Will Grier is doubtful due to a finger injury. So, it's a battle of the backup quarterbacks. Both teams have been hit or miss the last couple of months, but the Utah Utes come into this game head and shoulders the better defensive team and are extremely well coached. Utah is always tough to bet against in the regular season, and there's a reason why this program has won 10 of the 11 bowl games under Whittingham. Some coaches you don't want to give extra time to prepare, and Whittingham is one of them. Troy Williams is also the more experienced quarterback, so if he's starting, you have to feel more confident than what West Virginia has to offer. Utah's blitz packagaes are sure going to give Chugunov a hard time. This is simply a coaching mismatch. I'll take the Utah Utes by double digits.

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