Free College Football
Pick – Analysis
Oklahoma State is undefeated and ranked, but that isn’t reflected in the spread against West Virginia. The Mountaineers are coming off a 20-point loss to Oklahoma, but are a firm -7 point home favorite against the Cowboys this weekend (at mybookie.ag).
West Virginia has had the edge in this matchup in recent meetings, taking down OK State 34-10 on the road last season. Neither team has been great against the spread so far, mainly due to inconsistent play.
The Cowboys opened the season by struggling at Central Michigan and their first two Big 12 Games have come down to the wire with OK State not looking overly exceptional in either one. WVU had an easy non-Conference Schedule and just weren’t ready for Oklahoma last weekend. They fought and were down by just a field goal late in the third quarter, but a couple miscues later and it was a 20-point Game.
Because of that, West Virginia still seems like a bit of an unknown. Their offense is fairly balanced as long as quarterback Skyler Howard isn’t passing to the other team. After a great start against subpar teams, Howard completed just 53.1% of his passes for 173 yards and three interceptions against Oklahoma. For West Virginia to become a relevant team in the Big 12, Howard cannot afford to turn over the ball that much, especially against good teams.
The Mountaineers have a good running Game with Wendell Smallwood (442 yards, 4 TDs) and Rushel Shell (218 yards, 3 TDs), but when the quarterback throws costly interceptions, that doesn’t matter as much.
The result of that Oklahoma Game easily could have been different for WVU outside of a few big plays, a pick-6 included. They held Oklahoma to 107 yards on the ground and bottled up Samaje Perine for the most part.
Oklahoma State already doesn’t have much of a rushing attack, so this Game will be on Mason Rudolph’s shoulders. Rudolph hasn’t been great, but he’s done just enough every week to get the win. He’s completing 65.9% of his passes for 9 TDs and 4 INTs on the year. The running Game was without Chris Carson and Rennie Childs against KSU, so that was an immediate problem as they abandoned the rush for most of the Game.
The one difference that has helped Oklahoma State to five wins this year has been their play on the defensive line. Through the early going, they have been one of the best teams at sacking the opposing quarterback. If that continues and they can get to Howard, that should do enough to keep the Cowboys around. As seen last week, Howard has issues when under pressure.
After that performance, the Mountaineers will probably go run heavy as long as they are leading or the score is close. There’s no reason for them to put Howard in those situations against a great defensive front when Smallwood and Shell have been solid all season.
Can the luck keep going for Oklahoma State? A win here could make things interesting in the Conference as they get to host TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma.
The over is 4-1 in OK State’s last five vs. a winning team, while the under has hit 10 times in West Virginia’s last 11 Games on field turf.
Our Pick – West Virginia padded the stat column with wins against Liberty, Georgia Southern and Maryland. In their first test they were throttled bu the Sooners. We just don’t trust them as a favorite. We’ll side with the team that’s had success against a stronger Schedule and is more battle tested at this point. Oklahoma State +7