TCU vs. West Virginia Odds & Picks: Mountaineers Underrated in Home Big 12 Matchup on Saturday
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege.
- The ascending West Virginia Mountaineers may be underrated as they play host to TCU on Saturday afternoon.
- Not only did WVU topple the Horned Frogs on the road last season, but it also boasts one of the nation's top defenses.
- Below, Reed Wallach offers his full-game betting analysis, including updated odds and his pick for this afternoon's Big 12 game.
TCU vs. West Virginia Odds
|TCU Odds||+3 [BET NOW]|
|West Virginia Odds||-3 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+130 / -157 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||44 [BET NOW]|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Saturday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.|
Gary Patterson’s TCU Horned Frogs travel to Morgantown for a date with the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday in a key Big 12 showdown.
The Horned Frogs enter the game looking to avenge their 20-17 home loss to the Mountaineers last season.
TCU has fallen a bit short of preseason expectations but has won two consecutive games. On the opposite side, West Virginia has continued its upwards trajectory in the second year of the Neal Brown era, entering this contest with a 4-3 record.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU has undergone a bit of an in-season makeover around sophomore quarterback Max Duggan.
After focusing on a more pass-happy offense early in the season to mixed results, the offense has begun to establish the run with impressive returns. Why the switch? The Horned Frogs have a paltry 33% Passing Success Rate, per CollegeFootballData.
TCU ran all over Texas Tech last weekend to the tune of 270 yards on 49 carries, including an icing 81-yard scamper by the shifty Duggan. That performance came after the offense averaged 5.6 yards per carry on 44 rushes in a road win over Baylor.
However, the unit is going to have trouble against a stout West Virginia defense that ranks in the top 12 nationally in tackles for loss. It also allows little success on the ground.
Duggan has proven to be a capable passer, but it seems Patterson is pushing him to keep the rock more. This season, Duggan has 28 carries in comparison to 46 pass attempts the past two games.
Both teams’ strength lies on the defensive end, and if Duggan can keep drives alive on the offensive side, expect the defense to hold strong in what should be a low-scoring battle.
The defensive unit allows little to no passing success, with an impressive 31% Opponent Passing Success Rate and a completion percentage of a shade under 54 percent.
While the team locks down passes, it gets burned badly when it gets hit. TCU is toward the bottom of the ranking in defending explosive passes, which has cost it opportunities to compete with the likes of Oklahoma at home. The positive side is it might be better suited against a West Virginia team that’s ranked 88th in chunk passing plays.
West Virginia Mountaineers
TCU has seemingly altered its play-calling on the fly, and the game script may have allowed it to do so due to early leads, but West Virginia has stuck to its true form all season.
The offense lets junior quarterback Jarret Doege sling it a bit, which has led him to complete 65% of his passes on a nice serving of 40 passes a game. However, its bread and butter is feeding running back Leddie Brown and controlling the clock.
Brown has nine touchdowns in seven games, breaking the 90-yard mark in all but two games. Brown also serves as the team’s third-leading receiver, providing a great safety valve for Doege. That could play pivotal against a TCU front that — like West Virginia — finds its way into the backfield often.
While the Mountaineers rank eighth in the country in Havoc generated, the Horned Frogs are not too far behind in 15th place.
West Virginia is the second-slowest team in the country in seconds per play out of teams that have played more than once. The Mountaineers lean on their rugged defense to set the tone, with the offense strictly looking to chew up clock.
If West Virginia can control the game script with an early lead, possessions may be tough to come by for the TCU offense.
As I alluded to earlier, this game features two of the nation’s strongest defenses. However, West Virginia grades out a bit better than TCU in major metrics on both sides of the ball. The Horned Frogs’ strength may be limiting passing success, but the Mountaineers shut down the run completely.
West Virginia’s defense allows 3.26 yards per carry, and is one of the best at limiting explosive runs. Duggan is going to struggle to find success through the air — Brown’s defense is 13th in passes defended this season — but will also struggle to establish the run like TCU’s offense has done the past two weekends.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Big 12 teams continue to beat up on each other, creating a market that can be traded week-to-week, based on recent performance. This is a TCU team fresh off back-to-back, double-digit wins and covers. On the other side, West Virginia lost in a competitive scrap with Texas but did wind up covering the spread in Austin.
Now back in Morgantown, this underrated West Virginia team is only laying three points to a TCU team that might be a bit overrated.
There are more avenues to victory for the Mountaineers, who have more consistent success on the ground and through the air. Even though TCU poses a formidable defensive threat, West Virginia’s defense is downright elite at all levels, allowing a yard less per play compared to its opponent.
That being said, I’m going to lay the points with the home team to cover and maintain the cannibalistic Big 12, where no team can find its footing in any way.
I like this play up to West Virginia -4. I don’t think oddsmakers are giving enough credit to the job the Mountaineers have done so far this season.
Pick: West Virginia -3 (up to -4)