Big 12: West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Texas Longhorns Pick
West Virginia Mountaineers (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. Texas Longhorns (6-2 SU, 3-5 ATS)
When: Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 – 3:30 ET
Where: DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX
Point Spread: WVU +2.5 / TEX -2.5
Poll Rankings: West Virginia (10) / Texas (15)
Takeaways From Week 9
The Mountaineers enter off a bounce-back win against the Baylor Bears at home last Thursday when WVU defeated BU by a score of 58-14 as a 14.5-point favorite. Previous to this, the Mountaineers had a bye week that seemed to erase the memory of an ugly loss they suffered on the road at Ames, Iowa against the Cyclones of Iowa State. Entering into that contest with the Clones, the Mountaineers were the No. 6 in the country and favored on the road, but ISU dominated. The result in Morgantown showcases the fact that the Mountaineers are disciplined enough to not ruminate on the set-back and also not be caught looking forward to this showdown with Texas in Austin.
The Longhorns were the victims of an upset in Stillwater, Oklahoma at the hands of the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday night. The Burnt Orange still control their own destiny in the Big 12 Conference despite the setback. From the encounter with the Pokes, a few deductions could be made. First, Texas does not play half as good on the road as they do at home, as both their losses were suffered away from Austin this year. Secondly, though Texas’ defense is far friendlier this year to opponents compared to last season, the Hook-Ems can make the stops they need to either win the game or get back into it. Oklahoma State led by as much as 17 at one point against the Longhorns. The final tally was 38-35, Pokes.
How the Public is Betting the Texas-West Virginia Game
Currently, 60% of the consensus like West Virginia here as the dog against Texas. We have yet to see any line movements to reinforce this lean but given the effects of the Burnt Orange being upset last week, the public will show a propensity towards the Mountaineers all week.
In the last four meetings between both teams, each side has won two of those contests. Last year, Texas defeated the Mountaineers by a score of 28-14 as a three-point underdog, but it is worth mentioning that West Virginia was playing with a backup quarterback. Now, Texas has to deal with arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the country Will Grier throwing haymakers at them for four quarters.
There are no prevalent injury concerns for either team at the moment for either side.
When Texas Has the Ball
Sam Ehlinger is the driving force of the Texas offense as he has thrown for 1,817 yards while also leading the team in touchdowns with eight rushing scores. Ehlinger displayed his dual-threat ability against Oklahoma State when he scampered for two TD’s on the ground while also throwing for two through the air. Ehlinger tossed the pigskin for 283 yards and running for 47. He is going to have to attain similar success on Saturday to outduel Will Grier and help Texas get the W.
When West Virginia Has the Ball
The West Virginia offense can score at will as they average 39.9 points per game (16th nationally) and accumulate a 15th-ranked 479.1 yards of total offense per game. Then there is the passing game which sits as a top-ten unit across America. The Mountaineers average 331.3 yards per outing through the air, and Will Grier has been a monster. The WVU quarterback has effectively completed over 70% of his passes, throwing 25 touchdowns with seven interceptions, while collating 2,272 passing yards on the year. Grier will look to distribute the ball effectively against a Texas Longhorns defense that sits 90th nationally against the pass averaging 245.2 yards per game.
If there was a betting trend that can perhaps push bettors further away from Texas, it is the fact that the Longhorns are 1-6 ATS in their previous seven games in November. Furthermore, West Virginia is 4-0 ATS in their last four games where they won by more than 20 games. These trends carry little weight in the overall analysis of this event but nonetheless will attract takers to WVU regardless of the fact.
The weather forecasts a lukewarm Texas afternoon in Austin with temperatures meandering in the 60’s. Percent of precipitation sits at 25% at the moment.
Keith Pick to Cover the Spread: Texas -2.5
It’s very easy to put the brakes on Texas here in spite of what took place last week. However, as we mentioned previously, the Horns play at a higher level in Austin. After losing to Maryland in D.C. in the first week of action this season, the Longhorns managed to win six straight, four victories of which were earned at home. Some of the assailed were a credit to Texas’ performance portfolio as they defeated ranked opponents TCU and USC in back-to-back weeks by double-digit margins. However, our last glimpse of West Virginia in a hostile road environment was a grim one as Iowa State blasted WVU by a score of 30-14. This was a game that also saw Will Grier look mediocre throwing for just 100 yards, a touchdown, and a pick. With this considered, this spot makes West Virginia a dubious proposition as any jitters here can lead to a long day for the Mountaineers. Texas is the best team WVU will play season-to-date, and it doesn’t help that it is also in the most animated environment that they will step into so far this year. This is the perfect time to take advantage of a short-sold Texas team and swallow the points.