West Virginia vs. Baylor Odds & Pick: Bet On a Tight Defensive Battle in Morgantown (Saturday, Oct. 3)
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Charlie Brewer.
- The Baylor Bears will look to move to 2-0 as they travel to Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers.
- In its quest, Baylor needs to not become one-dimensional on offense and take care of West Virginia's average offense.
- BJ Cunningham breaks down the game with updated odds and a pick below.
West Virginia vs. Baylor Betting Odds
|West Virginia Odds||+1.5 [BET NOW]|
|Baylor Odds||-1.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-102/-118 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||53.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET|
Baylor’s transition from Matt Rhule to Dave Aranda seems to have been a smooth after its home opener against Kansas. After a slow first half, the Bears went to another level, putting up 30 points in the second half on their way to a 47-14 victory.
Neal Brown’s first season in Morgantown didn’t exactly go according to plan. The Mountaineers went 5-7 and missed out on a bowl game for the first time in six years. However, they improved down the stretch, winning road games against Kansas State and TCU. West Virginia lost its opener at Oklahoma State, which was on a backup quarterback, so it seems the Mountaineers are still in rebuilding mode.
Check out our free NCAAF odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
The biggest piece of the Bears offense returns in 2020; Charlie Brewer will be back at the helm of the offense. Brewer had a phenomenal 2019 season, throwing for 8.1 yards per attempt and 21 touchdowns compared to only seven interceptions. However, outside of Brewer, it looks pretty bleak for the Bears on the offensive side of the ball.
Baylor returns three starters on the offensive line that allowed the most sacks in the Big 12 last year. The Bears also lost their top two receivers in Denzel Mims and Jalen Hurd.
The backfield is by far the deepest position that Baylor has. John Lovett appears to be the feature back, carrying the ball 17 times for 78 yards against Kansas. Lovett posted an impressive 2019 carrying the ball at a crazy 6.4 yards per carry, which led Baylor to a rank of 26th in rushing success. With inexperience at the receiver position, I expect Baylor to focus more on the ground game Saturday.
Aranda has a major rebuilding project on the defense side of the ball. The Bears lost 73% of their defensive production last year, including All-Americans James Lynch at defensive end and Grayland Arnold at safety. They do, however, get linebacker Terrel Bernard back, who led the team with 112 tackles last year. Other than Bernard, Baylor will have to replace starters at just about every position. They do have capable replacements at the other two linebacker positions, but they’re going to struggle up front and in the secondary with a lot of inexperience.
Baylor’s defensive calling card in 2019 was limiting explosive plays, as they ranked inside the top 30 in both defensive passing and rushing explosiveness. However, I think they’ll likely take a step back in 2020 as they go through a year of transition.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Jarret Doege took over for the final three games of the season in 2019, winning two of them on the road and securing his starting spot heading into the 2020 season. He was really efficient in the Mountaineers’ first two games against Eastern Kentucky and Oklahoma State, throwing for 9.1 yards per attempt and three touchdowns. He’ll also get his entire receiving corps back, so the passing game should be the calling card of the Mountaineer offense this year.
Where West Virginia is going to struggle on Saturday is in the run game. The Mountaineers ranked 130th in rushing success behind a weak offensive line. Things won’t get much better heading into 2020, as they have to replace their two best linemen from last season.
The key to West Virginia’s offensive success is to not become one-dimensional. If it’s not able to establish the run against an inexperienced Baylor front four, then Aranda will have a prime chance to blitz at will Saturday, vastly reducing Doege’s success through the air.
The Mountaineers’ front seven is stout with a ton of talent and experience coming back in 2020. The Stills brothers (Darius and Dante) are back on the defensive line, which should be welcoming news for Mountaineer fans, as the two combined for 26.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks last season. The linebacking corps was ravaged by injuries last year, but it’s finally healthy for 2020, so it should improve in the middle of the defense.
West Virginia will likely struggle is in the secondary. It lost both of its starting corners due to graduation, and it’s too early to tell how much of an impact that will have. With inexperience at the wide receiver position for Baylor, the Mountaineers have a chance at shutting down the Bears’ passing attack.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Check out our new CFB PRO Report, where we highlight factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.
The key in this game is whether or not West Virginia’s passing attack can be successful against an inexperienced Baylor secondary. The Mountaineers are in danger of becoming one-dimensional in 2020, and if they can’t find a running game against Baylor, it’s going to have a negative effect on their passing game. Baylor’s strength is on the ground, but it’ll be going up against one of the best run defenses in the Big 12 on Saturday. I have 47.23 points projected for this game, so I’ll take under 53.5 points. But I would only play it down to 52.5.
Pick: Under 53.5 points (down 52.5)