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Guaranteed Rate Bowl 2021: West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers — Picks and Best Bets

Because there’s more to the game than the game

NCAA Football: Texas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve followed The Smoking Musket long enough, you’re well aware that we like to put on our Degenerate Gambler hats from time to time and dabble in the money-making side of sports. It’s a way to put a little extra cheering interest into a game and is something that I want this site to lean into as we begin looking for new ideas throughout the basketball season and into next Fall, so get used to seeing me lose a lot of money.

It’s a fact of life that we all have a budget, so, rather than be reckless with my money, I’m going to be placing no more than $250 on this particular game and will track the results following it. Call it accountability, an archived cold take for when it doesn’t go as planned — and, folks, it has been known to not go as planned. If you want to follow along and live life on the wild side but with a smaller budget, just scale the picks to fit your needs. Only want to risk $25 per game? Divide the pick amounts by 10. Hurray for math.

2021 Guaranteed Rate Bowl Picks & Best Bets

Odds current at time of publication and provided by DraftKings*

Thoughts/Commentary: There hasn’t been a lot of line movement on this game since the opening odds were released at Minnesota -5.5. Early bets came in on West Virginia, moving the line down to Minnesota -3.5 before Leddie Brown made the decision to opt out of the game. The gamblers have since jumped back on the Golden Gophers’ side, moving the line to Minnesota’s favor. I, personally, have no idea what to expect from this game, but I know that sometimes I just need to trust my instincts and go against the grain. I think West Virginia’s defense is better than anyone wants to give them credit for, and will be the difference for the Mountaineers. Here’s how I’m spending my $250 for the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bowl:

$100 - West Virginia +5 (-110) LOSS
$75 - Over 45 total points (-105) LOSS
$25 - West Virginia: Over 2.5 Total Points - 1st Quarter (-165) LOSS
$20 - Minnesota to lead at halftime, West Virginia to win (+1100) LOSS
$15 - West Virginia to win by 1-6 points (+425) LOSS
$15 - Minnesota under 25.5 total points (-125) WIN

For those keeping score at home, I lost $223 on this game. It’s probably a good idea to fade my picks in the future.

*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.