2018 Camping World Bowl Betting - #16 West Virginia vs. #20 Syracuse

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D.S. Williamson

December 27th, 2018

A couple of Top 20 ranked teams head to Orlando, Florida on Friday for the 2018 Camping World Bowl betting bonanza. Up until back-to-back losses to Big 12 rivals Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, West Virginia had been ranked in the CFP Top 10 and were considered a College Football Playoff Contender.

On Friday, the Mountaineers hope to prove that they deserved a spot in a New Year’s Day Bowl instead of having to play on Dec. 28. West Virginia faces an uphill climb without starting quarterback Will Grier, who decided to forego playing in the Camping World Bowl to concentrate on the NFL Combine. It's a fair play. Will Grier is one of the top quarterback prospects in the country, and was a top-3 Heisman candidate up until the end of the season when he lost straight up to eventual winner Kyler Murray.

WVU’s opponent on Friday night, the Syracuse Orange, are excited to play in a bowl game. Syracuse was one of this season’s biggest surprises, winning 9 games while losing only 3. Two of the 3 losses were to CFP participants Clemson and Notre Dame.

Will the Orange prove that their program is back? Can West Virginia win without their starting quarterback?

2018 CAMPING WORLD BOWL BETTING #16 West Virginia Mountaineers vs #20 Syracuse Orange Friday, December 28th– Camping World Stadium– 5:15pm ET Odds: WVU -1.5 (54.5)

Mountaineers Must Win Without Will Grier, Tackle Yodny Cajuste

Will Grier transferred to West Virginia a couple of seasons ago after two years at Florida. Before the season, many college football fans had Grier at the top of their Heisman Trophy lists.

Although he didn’t dominate the way Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Heisman winner Kyler Murray did, Grier had a really good season. He only threw 8 picks, threw for 3,864 yards, and tossed 37 touchdowns. That’s why he’s sitting out the Mountaineers’ bowl game. He believes he could be a Round 1 NFL Draft pick (though many scouts will say otherwise).

Without Grier, beating a quality squad like Syracuse will be tough. Without one of the players that protects Grier, beating the Orange could be next to impossible. Like Grier, Cajuste will skip the 2018 Camping World Bowl betting matchup to ready himself for the NFL Combine.

The giant offensive tackle would have blocked for whomever WVU coach Dana Holgorsen decided to start under center. Without Grier and Cajuste, the Mountaineers might have to play close to perfect to stick with Syracuse.

Orange Quarterback Dungey Healthy

Like West Virginia, Syracuse played an experienced, talented quarterback this season. Unlike WVU, the Orange’s quarterback will suit up on Friday.

Eric Dungey didn’t produce stats close to what Grier did. All Dungey did was win football games. He played great in the 23-27 loss to Clemson early in the season, but like what’s happened throughout his career, Dungey got hurt in Syracuse’s key game against Notre Dame.

After the loss, he returned to lead Syracuse to a 42-21 win over Boston College. With Eric Dungey under center, the Syracuse Orange have a big shot of upsetting West Virginia against a tight line. The fact that he's had a month off to recover from his ailments, get his mind right and focus on this game is a big reason why many are flocking to take Syracuse as a dog.

2018 Camping World Bowl Betting Trends

The line dropped 5 points after Grier and Cajuste said they were skipping the game. Now at +1.5, Syracuse is looking pretty good. It helps that all the trends point to the Orange beating WVU.

West Virginia is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games, 0-5 ATS in their last 5 bowl games, and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 versus the ACC. Syracuse is 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 following a straight up win, 4-1 ATS versus a team with a winning record, and 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games.

Based on those trends, along with Grier and Cajuste’s absences, the Orange might be the favorites by kickoff. Back Syracuse early because an undermanned West Virginia side is going to have trouble pacing with a fully powered Syracuse team. Everyone knows this, and will rush to get in on the Orange.

2018 Camping World Bowl Betting Free Pick: Syracuse +1.5