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Big 12 Football Pick
Even with two losses and an already disappointing season, Oklahoma still has a solid bid to make it to a BCS bowl. On the other end of this game is West Virginia who is just hoping they can make it to a bowl game as they need just one more win in their last three games. After five straight wins to start the season, the Mountaineers have lost four straight and can't find their footing in the Big 12 conference. Oklahoma will probably finish second in conference play unless something unexpected happens in the next month.
Being West Virginia's first year in Big 12 play, the last time these schools played each other was in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl when Pat White took out Sam Bradford. Neither team has been overly successful against the spread this season. West Virginia hasn't covered in four straight and are 2-7 for the season. Oklahoma has a positive 5-4 ATS record, but is only 1-2 in their last three. The Sooners come into this game as 11-point road favorites at most sportsbooks.
West Virginia comes into this game with one of the worst defenses in the conference/country allowing over 41 points per game. Things won't get easier for them against Landry Jones who could be in for a field day. Jones hasn't had too many statistically big games as we've seen in years past, but that doesn't mean he's not playing well. He hasn't thrown for less than 252 yards since Week 1 against UTEP, that's called consistency. His 18 touchdowns probably isn't where he'd like it to be in his senior season, but that has a lot to do with Blake Bell getting the call in the red zone as he has 10 rushing TDs. Running back Damien Williams has been dealing with an injury the last few weeks, but still managed 99 yards and two TDs against Baylor. It shouldn't matter too much if he or Brennan Clay gets the carries in this one as they both average more than six yards per carry. Kenny Still has been Jones's favorite target this year, but Jones spreads the ball around enough that defenses can't focus on one guy.
The one thing that the Mountaineers are good at is scoring points. The only problem is that they haven't been able to score enough these last four games. Geno Smith was once a Heisman candidate until the fall off. His numbers are still awesome with a 31-3 TD-INT ratio on the season, but he only has seven TDs and three INTs in his last four games. That's why they're not winning games. Stedman Bailey finished with 14 grabs for 225 yards and a TD last week yet they still lost by 21 points. Tavon Austin is more of the short yardage slot receiver and gets plenty of looks as he averages over 10 catches per game. While the passing game is great, West Virginia hasn't really been able to rush the ball all year. Andrew Buie has only been able to surpass 82 rushing yards once and has five TDs on the year. It's a little easier when defenses can focus on just the passing game.
The Sooners are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a winning home record while the Mountaineers don't really have any friendly trends. WVU is 3-13 ATS in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The over has hit in five straight conference games for the Sooners and is 8-3 in the last 11 Mountaineers games.
There's nothing in the handicapping process that could possibly lead us to the West Virginia side here, even as 11 point home dogs. Could they hang within this number? Sure. Anytime you have an offense that can score like this one, it's possible. Can they possibly win? Sure, we wouldn't be shocked beyond belief if they did. There's simply nothing here to suggest that is going to happen. West Virginia comes in with a yards per point number defensively that is 4th worst in the nation, placing them with teams like Colorado and Idaho. Oklahoma ranks #20 offensively, using yards per point. That's a problem for WVA.
Our model predicts a 25 point Oklahoma win and while we likely won't be playing this one for real, it's the only way to go here when making a recommendation for this write up. Oklahoma -11
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