Baylor Bears vs. West Virginia Mountaineers Betting Picks and Predictions
03 October 2020
|Date:||Saturday, October 3rd|
|Time:||12:00 PM ET|
The 1-0 Baylor Bears will go on the road Saturday to face off with the 1-1 West Virginia Mountaineers at 12:00 PM ET in Mountaineer Field. The Bears are 2.5-point road favorites and books are expecting a lower-scoring game with just a 53.5 over/under. Both of these teams are looking to find a top-25 ranking and this is a crucial contest for both. Whoever loses will be digging themselves out of a hole instead of hoping for a conference championship. Let’s dive into how this one will go and who will cover the spread.
When the Baylor Bears Have The Ball
The Baylor bears opened their season with a commanding 47-14 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks. While they did blow Kansas out, it was a bit flukey as they only outgained Kansas 352-328 in total yards. RB Trestan Ebner saved the day with two return touchdowns on top of a rushing and receiving score. He made a mark all over this game and you have to think Baylor will pepper him with targets moving forward.
He’s this offenses Swiss Army knife, and the Bears find ways to get the ball in his hands. He returns both kicks and punts and is targeted multiple times every drive. They didn’t run the ball much in week one, but WR RJ Sneed led the squad with five carries (51 yards) and he looked good during them. He’s a dynamite athlete with a ton of upside this season as a premier target.
This offense goes as QB Charlie Brewer goes. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards a season ago and will have to regain chemistry with a new set of pass-catchers after Denzel Mims is off to play pro. Sneed and Josh Fleeks have stepped into bigger roles and were targeted a combined 13 times by Brewer last Saturday. One of those guys will have to emerge as a superstar if Baylor wants to throw for over 250 yards at any point.
Against a West Virginia team that is all-around solid, Baylor will have to take better care of the football. They’ll also have to make some individual stops and not rely on their running back bringing back two kickoffs to the house. The talent is here for Baylor, but they must play a lot better than they did a week ago.
When The West Virginia Mountaineers Have The Ball
After beating up on Eastern Kentucky to open the season, West Virginia was handedly taken care of by the Oklahoma State Cowboys 27-13. The Mountaineers actually outgained the Cowboys 353-342, but that doesn’t matter much when you’re outrushed 203-68. Chuba Hubbard and LD Brown each put up 100+ yards and West Virginia will need to step up against a Baylor team that can get creative on the ground.
QB Jarret Doege is starting his first year for West Virginia and he’s been decent through two starts with 513 yards and four touchdowns. He has taken good care of the ball, which is no surprise as this is his fourth year in college. He started at Bowling Green for two seasons before transferring to WVU. He does a great job of driving the ball downfield while still taking care of it.
When he drops back, he’ll be looking for Winston Wright and Sam James. Each have nine catches to this point with a combined 250 yards and two TD’s. They’re complemented by T.J. Simmons and Bryce Ford-Wheaton, who are threats to go deep on any given play. Simmons should step up soon and become one of the best playmakers on the team.
At running back, Leddie Brown and Alec Sinkfield are an excellent duo. Sinkfield is the thunderous back while Brown is more of a lightning rod. He’s run for 227 yards and two touchdowns on just 36 carries. While the WVU offense as a whole didn’t have much success against Oklahoma State, the Cowboys have an elite defense and they won’t deal with the same issues against Baylor. This is a crucial game for the Mountaineers as the schedule only gets scarier from here.
Baylor and West Virginia are extremely similar in talent and it all depends on what form of each shows up to the field. For Baylor, it comes down to the offensive line protecting Brewer against a West Virginia defense that can get to the QB with the best of them. For West Virginia, it comes down to taking care of the ball and making plays. The Baylor defense is aggressive, but they can give it up like crazy through the air.
The Mountaineers have the better defense in this game and it will ultimately decide this game. Jarret Doege is also the better QB, though the public certainly doesn’t see that yet. West Virginia is packed full of weapons on the offensive side and Doege is picking up familiarity with them every single week. Winston Wright Jr. has asserted himself as one of the best receivers in the nation and he can make game-changing plays all on his own.
The Pick: West Virginia -2
This is an accurate number and this total bet isn’t one I’m a fan of on this slate. With that being said, these are two extremely potent offenses that have been a bit underwhelming to this point. That should turn around this week as they face off with defenses that don’t move the needle all that much. The defensive lines aren’t terrible, but the secondaries aren’t great and both offenses will find plenty of success early and often.
The pace of this game won’t be incredibly high, but that doesn’t matter with the efficiency we’ll be seeing on both sides. Brewer and Doege are both pro-style passers that take care of the ball and focus on getting it to their playmakers. Give me the over here as I expect this one to turn into a back-and-forth affair in the second half.
The Pick: Over 53.5
Final Score Prediction: West Virginia 30, Baylor 26