A number of interesting College Football games kick off at noon on Saturday, but perhaps the most intriguing one on the schedule involves a pair of Big 12 rivals. The West Virginia Mountaineers hit the road to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and points look to be in the forecast.
This game has a massive projected total of 73.5 points, and these two high powered offenses could very easily become involved in a shootout. Skill position players abound on both sides, and we could be in for a real treat in the early afternoon window as a result.
Let’s take a closer look at a game that appears poised to be an entertaining affair.
West Virginia @ Texas Tech, 12 PM EST, ESPN2
- West Virginia -3.5 (-110)
- Texas Tech +3.5 (-110)
- West Virginia -170
- Texas Tech +150
- Over 5 (+100)
- Under 5 (-120)
West Virginia vs. Texas Tech pick
The West Virginia Mountaineers enter this game with a perfect mark of 3-0. The school opened up the season with a big 26-point victory over the Tennessee Volunteers. That was followed up by an even larger victory over Youngstown State the following week by a final score of 52-17.
Week 3 turned out to be an unexpected bye week due to Hurricane Florence, but the Mountaineers didn’t lose a beat when they got back in action last week, as they convincingly took down the Kansas State Wildcats by a margin of 35-6.
Senior signal caller Will Grier has been outstanding so far. He’s completing 74.7 percent of his passes for 1,117 yards, 14 touchdowns, and three picks. Grier is considered to be a legitimate contender for the Heisman Trophy.
A committee approach has taken hold in the Mountaineers backfield, while Grier has a trio of talented pass catchers at his disposal. To date, junior Marcus Simms has posted a line of 15/295/1, senior David Sills V checks in with 19/246/4, while fellow senior Gary Jennings Jr. has posted 15/241/4 thus far.
While the offense is getting the headlines, West Virginia has been far from slouches on defense. The team is holding opponents to averages of 185.3 passing yards, 118.7 rushing yards, and 12.3 points per game. The unit has also generated seven sacks and two turnovers.
For Texas Tech, the team has rifled off three impressive wins after a season opening loss to Ole Miss. The Red Raiders have been an offensive machine, generating averages of 435.8 passing yards, 187.8 rushing yards, and 52 points per game.
Freshman QB Alan Bowman has been electric. Through three games, Bowman has completed 72.1 percent of his passes for 1,557 yards, 10 scores, and two interceptions. Freshman Ta’Zhawn Henry and senior Demarcus Felton have formed an explosive one-two punch in the backfield.
Henry has produced a line of 46/231/6 so far, while Felton checks in at 35/193/4 on the year. While Bowman has a plethora of pass catchers at his disposal, junior Antoine Wesley has moved to the head of the class.
Wesley has hauled in 30 passes for 511 yards and four scores, but his stats are inflated by his massive line against Houston – 13/261/3. On defense, Texas Tech is giving up an average of 284 passing yards, 153.3 rushing yards, and 28.3 points per game. The unit has also generated seven sacks and seven turnovers thus far.
Looking ahead to the rest of the way, oddsmakers are giving West Virginia a better chance of taking down the Big 12 with odds of +400, while Texas Tech checks in at +1200. The Oklahoma Sooners remain the favorite to win the conference with odds of -150.
These clubs have hooked up in each of the past six years. West Virginia hols a mark of 4-2 straight up and 2-4 against the spread over that span. While points have been in the forecast each time these two squads have played, the Over has been the right call just twice.
For last year’s matchup, West Virginia won by a score of 46-35 over visiting Texas Tech. The Mountaineers were favored by 5 points for that one, a game which featured a projected total of 77.5 points. Oddsmakers are being slightly more conservative this year with a projected total of 73.5 points.
Texas Tech enters this one riding high off of a big 41-17 victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The latter entered the game ranked as the #15 team in the nation, and a 15-point favorite to boot. The Red Raiders had other ideas, and they have been rewarded with a #25 ranking after the impressive win.
West Virginia enters this one ranked at #12. The schedule has been friendly so far, but competition picks up this week as the school heads into the meat of its schedule. There are number of other matchups between nationally ranked squads this week, and a victory here could potentially move the needle on next week’s rankings for the victor.
While the potential is there for an offensive explosion from both clubs, the Under has come in three of the last four years when these two teams step on the field. Over that span, two of the games wound up with totals over 70 points, while the rest didn’t hit that lofty mark.
Said another way, recent history suggests that a shootout between the two squads is far from a sure thing. From our perspective, we certainly expect to see some fireworks. However, the Mountaineers have actually been pretty solid on defense so far.
It’s unrealistic to expect them to completely hold the explosive Red Raiders offense in check, but slowing them down doesn’t appear to be too much to ask. On offense, Grier is playing at a high level, and the Mountaineers should have little trouble putting up points on the porous Texas Tech defense.
We’ll take West Virginia to win outright and cover the spread to boot.