And just like that, Baylor is sitting alone atop the Big 12 standings. Sure, the Bears still have Texas and Oklahoma on the schedule, but they’re in the driver’s seat and have another winnable game against West Virginia, opening as -17.5 point favorites.
This spread is a bit funny mainly because West Virginia won last year’s meeting 58-14. Clearly, things have changed with the teams moving in opposite directions.
Baylor has oddly had closer games at home, edging past Iowa State and Texas Tech, which at least gives some hope to WVU. The Mountaineers are looking to regroup following the bye having lost their last three by large margins, though some of that had to do with level of opponent.
This one is far from a freebie for Baylor, who is allowing 19.1 points per game, but is by no means dominant. So far, it’s done just enough to remain undefeated and that’s the goal. The problem for WVU is that its offense simply isn’t working.
Austin Kendall has had his moments, yet is averaging 6.4 yards per attempt and has seven interceptions with his 11 touchdowns. Those numbers would be fine except the Mountaineers are averaging 2.9 yards per carry as a team with Leddie Brown and Kennedy McKoy struggling to find any room the last couple games.
If that continues, it’ll be up to Kendall to score and that’s already been a problem, which is why he threw four interceptions against Texas.
The other part of the problem is that they’re allowing 33.4 points and 178 rushing yards per game. Baylor doesn’t have the most explosive offense, but that probably won’t matter in this matchup.
The Bears will likely feed running backs JaMycal Hasty and John Lovett as much as possible, similar to the win against OK State. Considering those two are both averaging at least 6.5 yards per carry, that may be enough to win this game.
Of course, Charlie Brewer is also having a solid season, averaging 9.5 yards per attempt with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s not going to break open a game, but for the most part, he runs the offense well and outside of the Texas Tech OT win, hasn’t thrown interceptions.
Baylor is better on both sides of the ball and while that points to a possible blowout, it’s not like this team has been easy to trust. It probably should’ve lost to Tech a couple weeks ago before stealing a win in overtime. The Bears also could look ahead to the rest of their schedule that starts with a trip to TCU next weekend.
The over is 8-1 in WVU’s last nine conference games and WVU is 1-5 ATS in its last six games on grass. Baylor has failed to cover its last four games following a bye. The home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these schools and the Bears are 5-2 ATS in the last seven (the over is 5-2 in those games).
Our Pick – Over 57