West Virginia Mountaineers (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date/Time: Saturday December 5th, 4:30PM EST
Where: Snyder Family Stadium Manhattan, K.S.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WVU -6.5/KSU +6.5
Over/Under Total: 57.5
While the majority of the nation will be watching conference championship games play out this Saturday, there will be a regular season finale taking place in Manhattan when the Kansas State Wildcats host the West Virginia Mountaineers inside Snyder Family Stadium. The Mountaineers have been on a hot streak during the 2nd half of the season scoring 4 straight wins and are looking to lockup a nice bowl berth as 6.5 point favorites. Meanwhile, the Wildcats are simply trying to become bowl eligible as they are on the verge of having the worse record since Bill Snyder made his return to Manhattan in 2009.
Despite the 5-6 record, I dont think you can really blame Snyder for the works that have unfolded in Manhattan this season. The Wildcats have suffered more critical injuries than any team in college football. There was a time this season when the team was on their 5th quarterback and there have been a number of injuries outside of the quarterback position. During the midpoint of the season, Kansas State suffered 6 straight losses but they have since battled back with consecutive wins over Iowa State and Kansas. Despite the injury issues that have plagued their 2015 campaign, the Wildcats could still savage the season and earn a bowl berth with a victory this Saturday.
In order to score the mild upset, Kansas State is going to have to find a way to slow down a West Virginia team that has outscored their last 4 opponents by a score of 148-52. The Mountaineers have been really strong on both sides of the ball especially in recent weeks as they outscored Iowa State and Kansas by a combined score of 79-6. Quarterback Skyler Howard has continued to find ways to make plays with both his arm and his feet. Howard has rushed for more than 200 yards and 2 touchdowns in the last two games. Meanwhile, running back Wendell Smallwood has been sensational rushing for 1,306 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. Smallwood has passed the 100 yard mark in 4 of his last 5 games and he will be one of the key playmakers to watch this Saturday.
The thing that makes this 6.5 point betting line a little scary is that West Virginia has the firepower that could make this game get out of hand rather quickly. Kansas State is not a fast striking offense as they put the majority of their focus towards running the football. Kansas State quarterback Joe Hubener is completing an excruciating 49% of his passes on the season resulting in 9 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Therefore this Wildcats offense is not designed or equipped to play catchup in this game especially under the pretense that West Virginia gets off to a fast start.
However, there is a good reason that this line is just 6.5 points despite Kansas States concerns on offense and defense for that matter. The Wildcats, as stated before, do a great job of running the football and finding ways to exploit holes in opposing defenses. Running back Charles Jones and Hubener have combined for 1,200 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns on the season. While those numbers may not sound out of this world, they are very respectable. When you add in the fact that West Virginia is giving up 170 yards per game on the ground, then the betting line starts to make more sense. The Mountaineers have struggled mightily against the run this season and that could set the stage for a long/frustrating afternoon if they cannot find ways to get off the field.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think the beginning of this game will be important in deciding the pace throughout the contest. If Kansas State can find a way to make some plays early, then they have a chance to hang around. However, the probabilities of that happening are not strong. Not to mention, West Virginia has the offense to overcome a bad start and makeup for it as well. I like the Mountaineers to cruise in this one! Take WVU -6.5!
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