Big 12 College Football Betting Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers at Kansas Jayhawks

West Virginia Mountaineers at Kansas Jayhawks
Memorial Stadium – Lawrence, Kansas

Saturday, November 16, 2013, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports Net
Opening Line: West Virginia -7 1/2
Current Line: West Virginia -7 (+110)
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 48 1/2
Opening Money Line: West Virginia -230 / Kansas +192
Current Money Line: West Virginia -250 / Kansas +210

West Virginia is a 7 point road favorite at Kansas Saturday.
West Virginia is a 7 point road favorite at Kansas Saturday.

The 4-6 West Virginia Mountaineers need to win their last two games in order to become bowl eligible. Fortunately, the Mountaineers close with the two worst teams in the Big 12, at Kansas and at home against Iowa State. Both the Jayhawks and Cyclones are 0-6 in the Big 12, while the Mountaineers are 2-5 in conference. Kansas is 2-7 overall. This is only the third meeting all time between Kansas and West Virginia and the first in Lawrence. West Virginia is 2-0 all time against Kansas including a 59-10 rout last season in Morgantown.

West Virginia is coached by Dana Holgorsen. The Mountaineers have home wins over William and Mary 24-17, Georgia State 41-7, and Oklahoma State 30-21, plus a road win at TCU 30-27 in overtime. The Mountaineers have road losses at Oklahoma 16-7, Maryland 37-0 (in Baltimore), at Baylor 73-42 and at  Kansas State 35-12. West Virginia has home losses to Texas Tech 37-27 and last week against Texas 47-40 in overtime.  West Virginia is 3-7 ATS and the total is 4-6 this season. The Mountaineers were 6.5 point underdogs against Texas and the total was 55.

West Virginia took an early 9-0 lead against Texas but the Longhorns took a 10-9 lead early in the second quarter. The Mountaineers would take a 19-13 lead into halftime. In the third quarter, West Virginia would expand the lead to 26-16. Texas closed the third with 14 straight points to take a 30-26 lead. The Mountaineers took a 40-37 lead with 7:39 left. Texas kicked the game tying field goal with 13 seconds left to send the game into overtime. Texas scored a touchdown on their first possession in overtime and kept WVU out of the end zone to avoid the upset. The Longhorns had 435 total yards including 283 passing and 152 rushing yards. The Mountaineers had 399 total yards including 290 passing yards. West Virginia nearly pulled off the upset despite 5 turnovers. Texas has two turnovers.

West Virginia is being outscored 32-25 this season. WVU is #85 nationally in scoring and #82 in points allowed, out of 125 teams. The Mountaineers are averaging 398 yards per game on offense, including 254.7 passing and 143.3 rushing yards. WVU is #78 in total offense and #89 in rushing nationally. On defense, West Virginia is allowing 451.2 total yards per game, including 276.8 passing and 174.4 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are #102 i total defense and #116 against the pass nationally.  West Virginia is -1 in turnovers with 25 takeaways and 26 giveaways. The Mountaineers are averaging 50 penalty yards per game, and opponents are averaging 58. WVU is 53/169 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 75/168. West Virginia has allowed 24 sacks and forced 14 this season. The Mountaineers are 26/32 scoring in the red zone with 16 touchdowns, and opponents are 40/47 with 26 touchdowns. West Virginia has 3 defensive touchdowns and has allowed 1 this season.

West Virginia quarterback Paul Millard started the first two games but was largely ineffective. He was benched in favor of freshman Ford Childress for the next two games. Childress has completed 57.1% of his passes for 421 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Childress injured his pectoral muscle and is out indefinitely. Florida State transfer Clint Trickett has started the last six games including the upset over previously undefeated Oklahoma State. Trickett has thrown for 1,249 yards with 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with a rushing touchdown. Trickett left the Texas game with a possible head injury and is questionable Saturday. Millard relieved him and will likely start if Trickett can’t go. Millard has thrown for 877 yards with 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

Running back Charles Sims has 168 carries, 847 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 41 catches for 341 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dreamius Smith has 94 carries, 424 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 2 catches. Wendell Smallwood has 28 carries, 174 yards and a touchdown, along with 9 catches for 90 yards. Receiver Kevin White has 30 catches, 471 yards and 3 touchdowns. Daikiel Shorts has 37 catches, 420 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Ronald Carswell has 20 catches, 413 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is suspended indefinitely.  Ivan McCartney has 9 catches, 132 yards and a touchdown. K.J. Myers, Devonte Mathis, and Mario Alford will also get significant catches. Eight Mountaineer defensive players are listed on the injury report including five linebackers.

Kansas is coached by Charlie Weis. The Jayhawks have home wins over South Dakota 31-14 and Louisiana Tech 13-10. Kansas has road losses at Rice 23-14, TCU 27-17, Texas 35-13 and last week at Oklahoma State 42-6 , along with home losses to Texas Tech 54-16, Oklahoma 34-19 and against Baylor 59-14. The Jayhawks are 3-6 ATS and the total is 4-5 this season. Kansas was a 31.5 point underdog at Oklahoma State and the total was 56.

Oklahoma State took a 28-0 halftime lead against Kansas last week. The Cowboys allowed 2 Jayhawk field goals in the second half and cruised to a 42-6 victory. Kansas had 316 total yards including 202 rushing yards. Oklahoma State had 359 total yards including 274 passing yards. The Jayhawks had 8 penalties for 80 yards and a turnover.

Kansas is being outscored 33-16 this season. The Jayhawks are #98 in points allowed and #118 in scoring out of 125 FBS teams. Kansas is averaging 295.3 total yards per game (#119 nationally) including 153.4 passing (#115) and 141.9 rushing yards (#91). On defense, the Jayhawks are allowing 436.9 yards per game (#94) including 244.3 passing (#93) and 192.6 rushing yards (#92). Kansas is +4 in turnovers with 18 takeaways. The Jayhawks average 61 penalty yards per game and opponents average  43. Kansas is 44/161 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 60/145. The Jayhawks have forced 16 sacks and allowed 24 this season. Kansas is 17/24 scoring in the red zone with 10 touchdowns, and opponents are 35/41 with 25 touchdowns. Kansas has a pick six and a blocked punt for a touchdown, and has allowed a pick six, a punt block for a touchdown and a kick return for a touchdown.

Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps has completed 50.2% of his passes for 1,204 yards with 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, plus a rushing touchdown. Back-up Montell Cozart has thrown for 133 yards and also has 33 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Running back James Sims has 165 carries for 703 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 21 catches for 145 yards. Darrian Miller has 67 carries for 322 yards, along with 2 catches. Brandon Bourbon has only 21 carries for 122 yards but has 2 rushing touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 95 yards. Running back Tony Pierson has 23 catches, 323 yards and a touchdown, plus 18 carries for 167 yards. He returned against Oklahoma State after missing the previous four games with a concussion. Tight end Jimmay Mundine has 16 catches for 181 yards and 4 touchdowns. Two linebackers are listed on the Kansas injury report as questionable or out.

West Virginia is 11-0 ATS against teams with losing home records, 5-2-1 against teams with losing records, 1-4 in Big 12 games, overall and after allowing more than 280 passing yards, and 0-4 on fieldturf.

Kansas is 13-3 ATS against teams with losing road records, 7-3 after after allowing more than 40 points, 16-7 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 2-5 after passing for 170 yards or less, 3-8 after a straight up loss of more than 20 points, 1-4 against teams with losing records, 2-8 on fieldturf, 1-5 at home, and 1-8 after rushing for more than 200 yards.

Kansas has lost 6 straight games and Weis has a good shot of being fired at the end of the year. West Virginia is trying to become bowl eligible. I think Kansas keeps it close for a while but West Virginia pulls away late for the win.

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