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Champs Sports Bowl

West Virginia vs. NC State

Betting Line: West Virginia -2.5 o/u 49

12/28/10

The 8-4 North Carolina State Wolf Pack likes to refer to their offense as the "Perfect Storm". They have it all; an experienced QB, good running game, experienced offensive line, and a stock of WRs. All will need to be used against a West Virginia Mountaineers that finished 9-3 on the year. The Mountaineers have an incredible running game to go along with a good QB and a strong defense. Both of these teams will have to bring their best games to win the Champs Sports Bowl. Will it be the ACC Wolf Pack or the Big East Mountaineers? Read ahead to find out!

NC State enters this game as a 3 point underdog. The wagering favors the Mountaineers at 55% to 45%. The Wolf Pack stands at 8-3 ATS this year compared to 7-3-1 for the Mountaineers. NC State averages 32.6 PPG compared to 26.7 for West Virginia. The Mountaineer defense is very strong as demonstrated by only allowing 12.8 PPG. The Wolf Pack is giving up 22.5 PPG. This will be the first meeting of the two schools. NC State is 2-0 in their last two games against Big East opponents with a win over Pittsburgh in 2009 and a win over Cincinnati this year. The Mountaineers defeated ACC foe Maryland this year but lost to Florida State last year in the Gator Bowl.

The West Virginia offense is led by QB Geno Smith. He has done a very good job replacing Jarrett Jefferson. The sophomore has completed 219 passes for 2,567 yards and 23 TDs this year. One of his best games came near the end of the year when he tossed 3 TDs. Smith isn't the key to this offense though. That honor belongs to top RB Noel Devine. He cut up Maryland for 131 yards and gained 122 against Syracuse. This will be his last collegiate game and you know Devine wants to go out with a bang. RB Ryan Clarke will also get a few carries. The sophomore had 3 TDs in the season finale against Rutgers. 

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QB Russell Wilson leads the Wolf Pack offense aka The Perfect Storm. He is a dual threat as he may scramble or throw the ball down the field. One of his best games of the year came against Florida State when he threw for 178 yards, 1 TD and rushed for 69 yards and 3 TDs. On the year he has passed for 26 TDs and ran for 9 more. Freshman Mustafa Greene leads the RB charge. He has 131 carries for 584 yards and 4 TDs this year. Owen Spencer is the top WR for this team. He has 57 catches for 868 yards and 4 TDs this year. He enters this game with a 3 game TD streak on the line. Fellow senior WR Jarvis Williams has 46 catches for 636 yards and 4 TDs. They have a big challenge ahead of them in the form of the West Virginia defense.

The West Virginia defense is among the stingiest in all of college football. Minus games against Marshall and Pittsburgh they haven't allowed a team to get more than 300 yards this year. They do an excellent job at getting at opposing QBs. In their last 5 games they own a whopping 17 sacks. Winning the TO war will be crucial for the Mountaineers. They were -2 and -4 in two of their losses.

North Carolina State has an average defense. Throughout the season they had good games and bad games. They have had success against the run as proved by totally shutting down Clemson's running attack. They have also failed to do so as proved by giving up 317 rushing yards to Virginia Tech.

Unfortunately, from a betting standpoint, this game comes in right at our number. We have West Virginia winning this one by a score of 20-17. So while we would lean towards West Virginia here, no official play. Our prediction however, does come in a full 12 points under the posted total on this game  of 49. So we'll go ahead and call this a strong opinion on the under 49 points in the Champs Sports Bowl.
 

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