Everything has opened up for Oklahoma in the past few weeks in that all it has to do is win out and it’s in the College Football Playoff. Ahead of the Big 12 title Game, the Sooners get a favorable Game against a West Virginia team that just lost its starting quarterback. That being the case, this spread can only go higher with Oklahoma as -22 point favorites as of Monday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Will Grier was everything to West Virginia this season and without him, it’ll be hard to trust this team. Grier was one of the best QBs in the Conference with 34 touchdowns and will be replaced by sophomore Chris Chugunov, who managed to put 14 points on the board against Texas last week. While the Oklahoma defense isn’t good, Chugunov has limited experience in his two years and not many will be backing him, especially with a win meaning close to nothing for the Mountaineers. With Chugonov, they’ll likely try and run a little more behind Justin Crawford and Kennedy McKoy, who are each averaging at least five yards per carry. If that works, there’s a chance WVU will be in range for a cover, but that’ll be hard to bet on.
There’s a chance this Game gets ugly, similar to last year’s contest when OU won 56-28. The surprising thing is that the Mountaineers ran for 388 yards in that Game and yet still lost by a ton. West Virginia’s defense has been even worse than Oklahoma’s and that’s not going to work against Heisman favorite Baker Mayfield.
There’s been plenty of criticism for Mayfield’s antics, but there’s no denying his numbers, completing 70.8 percent of his passes for 34 touchdowns and five interceptions. Even after losing his top wide outs and running backs, he’s still posting career best numbers on 11.6 yards per attempt. The big thing for this Game is that he isn’t starting for Oklahoma, which could make things interesting. That said, who knows how long that will be and it’s unlikely the Sooners will put a chance in the Playoff up for grabs by keeping him on the bench for too long. Conveniently, WVU struggles a bit more against the run so look for Rodney Anderson to get plenty of action early as he’s gone for at least 100 yards from scrimmage in the last five Games.
Even with West Virginia’s defense playing better in recent weeks, having not allowed more than 28 points the last three Games, this Oklahoma team is at the same level of OK State, which dropped 50 on them a month ago. If the Sooners reach 40 points, it’s hard to see the Mountaineers keeping up with Chugunov leading the way. That said, outside of the Kansas Game, Oklahoma has given up points to every opponent it has faced. So even with Chugunov, there’s a chance the Mountaineers grab a late touchdown to cover and still lose by 20 points.
The Mountaineers are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five Conference Games and 2-7 ATS in their last nine on grass. The Sooners are 10-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 9-1 ATS in their last 10 home Games. The over has hit in five of the last six meetings, but backing that trend will require some faith in Chugunov.
Our Pick – WVA +23