West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, October 3, 12:00pm
Where: Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium – Norman, Oklahoma
TV: FOX SPORTS 1
by Bob, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WVA +6.5 / OKL -6.5
Over/Under Total: 58.5
This Saturday there will be a top 25 showdown when the West Virginia Mountaineers travel into Norman to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Not only does this game have national ranking implications, but it will be both teams first Big 12 game of the 2015 season. Both come in at 3-0 and with the exception of Oklahoma playing Tennessee, neither of them have really faced a quality opponent yet. To me, this makes this game very hard to gauge and anything can happen.
The line opens with Oklahoma as a 6.5 point home favorite over the Mountaineers. Like I mentioned earlier, this game is not easy to predict since neither team has really played a quality power five opponent. The over under on this Monday morning has yet to be set. Looking at the early betting patterns, West Virginia has the early lead getting 54% of the betting action while Oklahoma gets 46% as a home favorite. Both teams are 3-0 overall and both are also 2-1 against the spread in 2015. Not only that, both have very similar statistics. West Virginia is averaging 43 points per game while Oklahoma puts up around 41 per contest. The Mountaineers however have played much better defense only allowing opponents to score 7.7 a game while Oklahoma is allowing a tad over 21 points per contest. This stat should not be looked into too far however, many times teams put up garbage points and can skew this category, but it is still impressive what West Virginia has done through their first three games.
So West Virginia is still one of the newer teams in the Big 12 and if they have any desire to win this conference, this game is a must win. With teams like Oklahoma State, Baylor, and TCU (IN THAT ORDER!!) coming up on their schedule, each and every win they can steal is important. West Virginia has looked pretty strong all season. Being a Georgia native, I really thought that the Georgia Southern Eagles were going to go up there and give them a gamewrong! I then thought that Maryland would hang with them and at least make it a contestwrong! The Mountaineers have been absolutely dominant so far in 2015. Led by quarterback, Skyler Howard, the Mountaineers are putting up huge numbers on offense. They are averaging nearly 555 yards per game and Howard has thrown for nine touchdowns and just one interception all year. Not only is Howard leading the passing attack, West Virginia is also putting up over 220 yards per game on the ground, led by Wendell Smallwood who has 330 yards and 4 touchdowns in just three games. This team can play some offense! Now, onto the defense. This is something that West Virginia lacked for many years. However, in 2015, these guys have been shutting people down. It could potentially be due to the talent or lack of that they have matched up with, but I dont care, 7.7 points per game allowed through three games is impressive. Not only many FBS teams could boast numbers like that. And that my friend is the key for the Mountaineers this weekend. They need to play defense and shut down Oklahoma. I do not like West Virginia in a shootout. I dont know why, but if this game gets in the upper 30s or 40s for both teams, I just like Oklahoma to make more plays.
What will it take for Oklahoma to cover 6.5? A complete effort. We are already looking at a noon kickoff which sometimes for some reason plays into the advantage of the road team. Oklahoma so far this season has been very comparable to West Virginia. Technically, Oklahoma could easily be 2-1 but Tennessee has problems with clock management and putting games away. Oklahoma battled back late to win that one in week two. So far in 2015, Oklahoma has scored 41, 31, and 52. These guys know how to score the football and that is what they will need to do in order to get this win and cover over West Virginia. Oklahoma is also pretty well balanced on the offensive side as well. Quarterback, Baker Mayfield has already thrown for over 1,000 yards and ten scores in just three games while the running game is being led of course by Samaje Perrine. Perrine has gained 263 yards in three games on the ground, while Baker Mayfield has been able to get another 163 yards running the ball rather than passing. With a dual threat QB like Mayfield, and a stud running back like Perrine, this offense can be scary. In order to win and cover the spread this weekend, Oklahoma will need to get the offense clicking. I am pretty sure they will score more than 7 points on West Virginia, but in order to cover a 6.5 point spread, they probably need to AT LEAST score in the 30s.
This is actually a pretty simple pick for me. When I see an early kickoff that is a conference showdown between two pretty even teams I know nothing about, take the underdog, especially when the spread is near a touchdown. I will say this though. The early cash is on West Virginia to cover, so if you are feeling like that is the play you want to make, bet it NOW. If the money continues to get put on WV, then this could drop to 4.5-3.5 very soon. If you like Oklahoma, wait it out, because you may get a better value Saturday morning. With that said, I, personally, am taking the Mountaineers plus the points. I think Oklahoma wins, but I do not trust them yet to beat a conference foe by more than a touchdown. I like Oklahoma to win this game 31-28 on a late field goal.
Bobs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK THE WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS +6.5
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