College Football Pick
This season has turned into a mess for Baylor and it’s not all that surprising. After starting well, the Bears have fallen off and lost their last five Games. Because of that, West Virginia is a -17.5 point home favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
Last year’s matchup resulted in a shootout that Baylor won 62-38, but there’s little to take away from that Game as Baylor was ranked No. 2 in the country at the time and had its starting quarterback.
This time, the Bears will be starting freshman Zach Smith, who has thrown Four interceptions in the last two Games. Smith hasn’t been terrible with six touchdowns, but when the defense can’t stop anyone, turning the ball over won’t win Games. The Bears have given up at least 42 points in their last Four Games.
West Virginia isn’t a high scoring team, but neither is TCU nor Kansas State, both of whom scored a bunch on Baylor. The Mountaineers had thoughts of a Big 12 title, but faltered against the conference’s best in losses to OK State and Oklahoma. Still, they’ve clamped down on mediocre teams in the Conference at home, most notably a 24-point win against TCU. With one of the better defenses in the conference, WVU could easily limit this Baylor attack to less than 20 points.
Despite their losses, the Bears can still run the ball fairly well, however, it may not be as easy in this Game. But whether it’s Terence Williams, Shock Linwood or JaMycal Hasty, Baylor usually has a rusher with 100-plus yards. Covering this Game may come down to what Smith can do, though. again, he hasn’t been terrible, but they have lost the last two Games by 21 and 19 points. West Virginia is as good as those last two opponents if not better.
The biggest thing for West Virginia to cover will be on offense. It hasn’t even looked like Baylor is trying on defense lately so the Mountaineers could be in for another 40-point Game after dropping 49 at Iowa State last weekend.
Between running backs Justin Crawford and Martell Pettaway, it’s expected one of them will go off. Crawford ran for 331 yards against Oklahoma and then Pettaway had 180 yards against ISU. Those two should combine for 200-plus again and that should mean more trouble for Baylor. As for quarterback Skyler Howard, his main goal will be to not turn it over. WVU has struggled when Howard throws interceptions, as expected, but getting this cover may come down to those turnovers. The Baylor defense has one interception in its last Four Games and just gave up 500 yards and six touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes.
Given how WVU has looked against weaker teams this year and how little motivation Baylor seems to have, the Mountaineers look to be in the better spot.
The Bears are 0-6 ATS in their last six road Games and have failed to cover in their last five overall. The Mountaineers are 1-4 ATS in their last five home Games and 1-4 ATS in their last five Games following an ATS win.
Our Pick – West Virginia -17