The game of the day in the Big 12 takes place this Saturday night (7:00pm ET) in Austin, TX where the red-hot and 7th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers (4-0) take on the 9th ranked Texas Longhorns. West Virginia is 1-3 ATS this season, and has not covered their last 3 wins including an 11.5 point line in last weeks’ 70-63 shootout win over Baylor in Morgantown. In contrast, Texas has covered their last 3 wins, including a 41-36 win at Oklahoma State last week as a 2 point favorite as I correctly predicted last week.
The West Virginia offense and quarterback Geno Smith (1,728 yards passing, 20 TDS and no INTs) had a day for the ages last week against Baylor, the Mountaineers hot the ground running in their first taste of Big 12 action piling up 70 points and 807 yards of total offense, including 656 yards and 8 TDs through the air. It was a historic performance for Smith that catapulted him to the top of the Heisman race. Not surprisingly the Mountaineers rank in the top 10 in scoring offense with 53 points per game (3rd), passing with 441.5 yards per game (1st) and total offense with 598.5 YPG (3rd). The WVU defense has not been as stellar, ranking 96th in scoring defense with 32.5 PPG allowed and 108th in total defense with 474 YPG allowed. Their pass defense has been absolutely shredded, ranking 122nd with 352.8 YPG allowed.
Texas has been a much improved offensive unit from a year ago, and the Longhorns rank 9th overall nationally in scoring offense with 47.2 PPG, and 23rd overall in total offense with 495.8 YPG. Quarterback David Ash (1,007 yards passing 10 TDs, 1 INT) has locked down the starting job after splitting time last season with Case McCoy, and has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate early on in the race. The Longhorn defense ranks 41st nationally in scoring defense with 21 PPG allowed, and they rank a mediocre 65th in total defense with 390.2 YPG allowed.
West Virginia vs. Texas Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
West Virginia Mountaineers +6.5
@ Texas Longhorns -6.5
Over 73.5 (-110)
Under 73.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
West Virginia vs. Texas Pick:
West Virginia is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 road games against teams with a winning home record, and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS loss. The Longhorns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games against winning teams and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The over is 4-1 in West Virginia’s last 5 conference games, 11-4 in their last 15 games overall and 5-2 in their last 7 road games. The under is 18-7-1 in Texas’ last 26 games in Austin.
These two teams have both been very productive offensively this season to say the least, but their defensive performances have differed pretty substantially. West Virginia gave up 700 yards of total offense to Baylor last week, and over 500 yards to a 2-3 Marshall team that has been productive, but is not operating at nearly the same level as the Longhorns offensively. Texas also allowed 36 points and over 500 yards of total offense, including 300 yards through the air, in their win at Oklahoma St. last week to a team starting a freshman at quarterback. With Geno Smith coming to town, there will certainly be some fireworks Saturday night. West Virginia’s woeful defense should allow Ash and company to at least math, if not exceed the offensive output of West Virginia. This figures to be another shootout for West Virginia, and with so much offensive talent it is difficult to recommend a spread play here as it could be anyone’s ballgame. The safe play here is to take the over and lock it in as quickly as you can if the total is posted at 75 or less. Take the over here and enjoy the show.
PICK = Over 73.5