West Virginia-Texas Betting Guide: Are Last Week’s Results Creating Value?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tom Herman and Will Grier
West Virginia at Texas Betting Pick, Odds
- Spread: Texas -2.5
- Over/Under: 58.5
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
We have two teams coming off high-profile games that couldn’t have ended more differently — West Virginia’s blowout win over Baylor on Thursday night and Texas’ loss to Oklahoma State in prime time on Saturday.
Is that skewing this line and creating value? Let’s dive in.
>> All odds as of 7 a.m. ET on Friday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.
Market Moves for Texas-West Virginia
By Danny Donahue
Bettors are completely split. As of Friday morning, West Virginia has a slight edge, getting 51% of bets. Despite the even betting, the Mountaineers have moved from +2.5 to +2, then back to +2.5. Their bettors have accounted for 69% of money wagered.
While they may be split on the teams involved, bettors seem to be in complete agreement on the over. Getting 87% of bets and 93% of dollars wagered, the over in in this game is one of the most popular plays in all of college football this weekend.
A few books have nudged the total up from 58 to 58.5, but most are holding steady at 58 despite the heavy majority expecting a high-scoring game.
High Winds Hitting Austin
By Steve Petrella
Winds of about 17 mph are expected at Darrell K Royal Stadium on Saturday, according to our weather dashboard at Sports Insights.
Games with winds of at least 15 mph have hit the under against the closing total at a 57.4% rate since 2005 and a 62.8% clip in the last six years, as college football has gotten more pass happy. This trend is just 5-5 in 2018, though.
Be sure to monitor the weather on Saturday, because as Stuckey details below, West Virginia’s passing attack against Texas’ secondary could be a make-or-break matchup in this game.
West Virginia Can Expose Texas Secondary
Will Grier and the West Virginia passing attack might pose plenty of problems for a Texas defense that remains extremely vulnerable against the pass, as we saw against both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State already this season.
West Virginia averages more than 330 yards passing per game (top 10 in the country) and 10.2 yards per pass attempt (top five in the country), which doesn’t bode well for a Texas defense that gives up a very average 7.2 yards per pass (62nd) and more than 245 yards through the air per game (90th).
The advanced metrics tell the same story. West Virginia has the 16th best S&P+ passing offense, while Texas ranks 62nd in that same category on defense.
Those aren’t great omens for Texas, but the real trouble could come through big plays. The Longhorns defense ranks 117th in passing explosiveness, which spells disaster against a WVU offense that ranks in the top 30 in both passing and rushing explosiveness.
Texas also doesn’t really get to the quarterback (115th in adjusted sack rate), which is how you slow down the potent offense of a WVU team that has struggled in pass protection (87th in adjusted sack rate and 110th on passing downs). Grier should have plenty of time to hit a handful of huge plays down the field against a Texas defensive backfield ripe for the picking.
On the other side of the ball, the Texas offense has almost no explosiveness — as it ranks 115th in IsoPPP+ (WVU ranks 11th in comparison). The Longhorns actually rank DEAD LAST in the country in rush explosiveness. Texas’ 112th ranking in big-play rate to West Virginia’s ninth tells you all you need to know as to which team will hit the bigger plays on Saturday night.
Throw in the fact that WVU should win the field-position position battle as it has for most of the season and that the Mountaineers are better at finishing drives, and I think West Virginia gets its revenge from a 28-14 loss in its home finale last season on the back of Grier. He got hurt in the first quarter of that game and was lost for the season.
Stuckey’s Pick: West Virginia +2.5
The Best Team West Virginia Has Played
By Ken Barkley
This was a really interesting game for me to go through, because I think these are two teams who were equally thought of as dark horses to win the conference before the season.
They come into the game with similar profiles: Texas has one more loss, but both are in the upper part of the Big 12 standings. This game, in some way, almost determines who was right before the season with respect to which team they picked. It’s like a referendum on preseason discussion. That isn’t a handicapping angle at all, it’s just what’s going to happen in the media.
What stands out immediately about the teams’ profiles is that they are pretty evenly matched in many areas, but that the information which is creating West Virginia’s profile has occurred against inferior opponents. This will be the best team West Virginia has played (and I don’t even think Texas is that good). We were always going to get to this part of the Mountaineers schedule and finally learn more about them. The “appetizer” game against Iowa State — a blowout loss — was not inspiring, nor did it create optimism about what they can do here.
But yes, this is the best team West Virginia has played, and it’s maybe the best defense the Mountaineers have played (Iowa State and Texas are pretty close in S&P+ defensive rankings, 31st and 42nd, but Texas has more overall talent and a great coordinator). Texas’ defensive numbers took a hit against Oklahoma State a little, but the Longhorns also didn’t have their best corners on the field for large portions of the game, especially early on. They got behind and never recovered.
If this number is indicating West Virginia is actually better on a neutral field, considering the body of work for both teams so far, I think that’s a mistake. I would have this Texas -3, maybe even -3.5, and I like the fact that I can take Texas and fade West Virginia just a week after such negative/positive performances from each team.
This is a buy-low, sell-high spot if there ever was one given last week’s results and against-the-spread margins. I will take Texas.
Barkley’s Pick: Texas -2.5
Texas-West Virginia Trends to Know
By Evan Abrams
Texas has been favored by a touchdown or more in 16 of the Longhorns’ 24 home games under Tom Herman, and is 14-2 straight up … but 4-12 ATS.
When Herman’s Longhorns are either favored less than a TD or an underdog at home, they are 7-1 SU and ATS, covering the spread by 13.6 PPG.
Herman and the Longhorns face maybe their most balanced opponent this season on Saturday in West Virginia. Dana Holgorsen, Grier and the Mountaineers are averaging 39.9 ppg while allowing 19.6 ppg so far this season.
At both Texas and Houston, Herman has faced six opponents averaging 35 ppg and allowing less than 21 ppg, and he is 5-1 SU and ATS, including an unbeaten 4-0 SU and ATS at home.
Since 2005, Texas has faced this profile of an opponent at home 18 different times: under Herman, they are 2-0 ATS; under Charlie Strong and Mack Brown, they were 6-9-1 ATS.