West Virginia vs. Texas Odds & Pick: Betting Value Lies With Mountaineers
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Ehlinger.
- The West Virginia Mountaineers will travel to Austin on Saturday to take on the Texas Longhorns in a Big 12 matchup.
- Can the Mountaineers stop Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorn offense on the road?
- BJ Cunningham breaks it down and shares a betting pick with updated odds below.
West Virginia vs. Texas Odds
|West Virginia Odds||+5 [BET NOW]|
|Texas Odds||-5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+155/-195 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||54 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET|
The West Virginia Mountaineers travel to Austin on Saturday for a huge matchup against the Texas Longhorns. With both teams dropping two games already in conference play, they both need a win to keep their hopes of playing the Big 12 Championship alive.
The Mountaineers pummeled 16th-ranked Kansas State last weekend, 37-10, holding the Wildcats to only 41 yards rushing. This season has been a tale of two stories for West Virginia, as it’s undefeated in Morgantown but winless on the road. It’ll need its defense to ball out again on Saturday if it wants any chance of winning.
Texas has gotten its season back on track after pulling off an upset in Stillwater last weekend. Sam Ehlinger has been putting the Longhorns on his back this season, as their defense has been average at best. If the Longhorns are going to pick up their third straight win, Ehlinger is going to have to continue his high level of play.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Jarret Doege has been pretty efficient for the Mountaineers this season, throwing for 7.3 yards per attempt and 11 touchdowns. One benefit Doege had coming into the season is his entire receiving corp returning after last year. He’s developed a nice connection with Winston Wright Jr., who already has 32 catches and is averaging 12.2 yards per catch. He’ll be a tough matchup for Texas, which is weak at the cornerback position.
Where West Virginia has struggled is in the run game. The Mountaineers rank 67th in Rushing Success and are carrying the ball for only 3.7 yards per carry. The main issue is they have a very weak offensive line that lost their best two starters from last season.
The key for West Virginia’s offense is to not become one-dimensional. In both of its losses this season, it’s failed to rush for over 100 yards. Coincidentally, in the Mountaineers’ four wins, they’ve rushed for over 100 yards and have averaged 5.07 yards per carry. If they can’t establish the run against a good Texas run defense, they may have difficulty consistently moving the ball.
The Mountaineers’ front seven is stout with a ton of talent and experience this season. The Stills brothers — Darius and Dante — have been wreaking havoc on the defensive line, combining for 39 tackles and 5.5 sacks on the season. Those two have led West Virginia to be one of the best teams against the run in the Big 12. The Mountaineers are allowing only 3.1 yards per carry and rank 11th in Defensive Rushing Success.
Coming into the season, it looked like West Virginia was going to struggle versus the pass since it lost its two starting corners to graduation. However, that has not been the case. The Mountaineers have been dominant in the secondary, allowing a measly 5.5 yards per attempt while ranking seventh in the country in Defensive Passing Success. Sam Ehlinger is going to be the best quarterback they’ve faced all season, but their secondary should be up to the task.
The offense hasn’t been an issue for Texas this year. Sam Ehlinger has been a one-man show, throwing for over 1,650 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. The issue for Texas offensively is Ehlinger has had to do it all and isn’t getting much help.
So far this season, he’s the team’s leading rusher, running for over 284 yards after the Longhorns rolled with a committee in its backfield.
Ehlinger also had to deal with losing his top targets — Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson — to the NFL. He’s developed a nice connection with Joshua Moore and Jordan Whittington, who have stepped in nicely. However, Whittington is out for Saturday with a knee injury, which is a huge blow for the Longhorn offense.
Texas will once again have to play through Ehlinger, but this may be the best defense it’ll face all season.
Although Texas’ defense has given up a ton of yards and points, it’s actually been fairly efficient. The Longhorns are allowing only 3.4 yards per carry on the ground and 6.7 yards per pass attempt.
The reason their run defense has been stellar is because they boast an elite defensive line. With all four starters back, the Longhorns rank eighth in Defensive Line Yards and 12th in Stuff Rate, so that may force West Virginia to become more one dimensional on Saturday.
The key for Texas defensively in this game is to shut down Doege and the West Virginia passing attack. The Longhorns rank 86th nationally and second-to-last in the Big 12 in Defensive Passing Success, so they will need to step up their level of play on Saturday if they want to walk away with a win.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The key in this game is going to be Ehlinger versus the West Virginia defense. Also, for West Virginia to win, Doege and the West Virginia offense will have to move the ball effectively on Texas’ weak secondary. If the Mountaineers’ are able to do that and keep Ehlinger in check, then I think they have a fantastic chance at pulling off an upset in Austin.
I only have Texas projected as -0.30 favorites at home, so I think there is plenty of value on the Mountaineers to cover the 6.5-point spread.
Pick: West Virginia +6.5 (down to +4)