Big 12 College Football Picks: #12 West Virginia Mountaineers at Oklahoma State Cowboys

#12 West Virginia Mountaineers at Oklahoma State Cowboys
Saturday, October 29, 2016, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Boone Pickens Stadium – Stillwater, Oklahoma
Opening Line: West Virginia -1
Current Line: West Virginia -3 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 62 1/2
Current Total: 65
Opening Money Line: West Virginia -180 / Oklahoma State +160
Current Money Line: West Virginia -185 / Oklahoma State +165

West Virginia is a 3.5 point favorite against Oklahoma State on the road Saturday.
West Virginia is a 3.5 point favorite against Oklahoma State on the road Saturday.

The West Virginia Mountaineers and Baylor Bears are both 6-0 and 3-0 in the Big 12. Both teams face tough road games this week though. West Virginia travels to 5-2 Oklahoma State Cowboys who are 3-1 in conference. Baylor travels to 3-4 Texas. Oklahoma leads the Big 12 at 4-0.

West Virginia leads the series 4-3 against Oklahoma State including 2-1 in Stillwater. The Cowboys won last year in Morgantown 33-26 in overtime.

West Virginia is coached by Dana Holgorsen. The Mountaineers have home wins over Missouri 26-11, Youngstown State 38-21, Kansas State 17-16, and TCU last week 34-10. West Virginia has a neutral site win over BYU 35-32 in Landover, MD plus a road win over Texas Tech 48-17. West Virginia was a 5.5 point favorite against TCU and the total was 65. The Mountaineers are 3-3 ATS and the total is 2-4 this year.

Oklahoma State is coached by Mike Gundy. The Cowboys have home wins over SE Louisiana 61-7, Pittsburgh 45-38 Texas 49-31 and Iowa State 38-31. OSU has a road win over Kansas 44-20 last week. The Cowboys lost at home to Central Michigan 30-27 on a controversial Hail Mary on the last play of the game and lost at Baylor 35-24. OSU has won three straight games. Oklahoma State was a 23 point favorite against Kansas and the total was 61. The Cowboys are 4-3 ATS and the total is 5-2 this season.

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West Virginia is outscoring teams 33-18. The Mountaineers are #15 nationally in points allowed. WVU averages 510 yards per game on offense including 304 passing and 207 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are #10 in total offense and #20 in passing. On defense, West Virginia allows 392 yards per game including 234 passing and 159 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are +3 in turnovers with 11 takeaways. West Virginia averages 55 penalty yards per game and opponents average 60 per game. The Mountaineers are 45/91 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 48/109. WVU has forced 12 sacks and allowed 9 this season. The Mountaineers are 27-31 scoring in the red zone including 17 touchdowns and opponents are 17/21 with 9 touchdowns.

Quarterback Skyler Howard has completed 66.5% of his passes for 1,821 yards with 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 60 carries for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Running back Rushel Shell has 96 carries for 465 yards with 5 touchdowns, plus 10 catches for 91 yards. Justin Crawford has 68 carries  for 371 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 9 catches for 50 yards and a touchdown, He is probable with an ankle injury. Kennedy McCoy has 15 carries for 176 yards plus 3 catches and a touchdown.

Receiver Shelton Gibson has 25 catches for 501 yards and 3 touchdowns. Daikel Shorts has 31 catches for 492 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ka’Raun White has 27 catches for 303 yards with 2 touchdowns. Jovon Durante has 20 catches for 222 yards and a touchdown. Six defensive players are out indefinitely.

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Oklahoma State is outscoring teams 41-27 this season. OSU is #14 nationally in scoring. The Cowboys average 480 yards per game on offense including 336 passing and 144 rushing yards per game. Oklahoma State is #11 in passing but #99 in rushing nationally. On defense, OSU is allowing 449 yards per game including 266 yards and 183 rushing yards. OSU is #104 in total and #106 against the pass. The Cowboys are +7 in turnovers with 16 takeaways. Oklahoma State averages 51 penalty yards per game and opponents average 54 per game. The Cowboys have converted 46/110 on third and fourth downs and opponents are 41/118. OSU has forced 18 sacks and allowed 23 this season. The Cowboys are 23/29 scoring in the red zone with 23 touchdowns, and opponents are 14/19 with 11 touchdowns.

Quarterback Mason Rudolph has thrown for 2,259 yards with 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.  Back-up Taylor Cornelius has taken a few snaps and has a rushing touchdown.

While the rushing game has improved somewhat from a dismal 2015, it is still a little too inconsistent. Justice Hill has 109 carries for 564 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 4 catches for 44 yards. Rennie Childs has 40 carries for 188 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus 5 catches. Chris Carson has 20 carries for 104 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 7 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Jeff Carr and Barry Sanders, Jr. will also get some carries and catches.

Receiver James Washington has 37 catches for 740 yards and 6 touchdown. Jalen McCleskey has 38 catches for 536 yards and 4 touchdown.  Jhajuan Seales has 21 catches for 335 yards and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Marcell Ateman is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Dillon Stoner is out for the season with a foot injury.

West Virginia is 5-2 ATS in conference games, 4-10 after allowing 170 passing yards or less, 4-12 in October, 2-6 in road games, 2-7 against teams with winning records, and 1-4 against teams with winning home records.

Oklahoma State is 6-0 ATS after rushing for 200 yards or more, 26-10-1 in October, 5-2 after allowing more than 450 yards, 10-4 after a straight up win  of 20 points or more, 2-5 in conference games, and against teams with winning records, 1-5 after a straight up win, 1-6 after allowing 200 rushing yards or more, 0-4 after scoring more than 40 points, and after a cover.

West Virginia is by no means great on defense, but in the defense optional Big 12 they might as well be Alabama. Oklahoma State looks great sometimes but are too inconsistent. Even though this game is in Stillwater, I don’t see the Cowboys being able to stop the Mountaineers on offense. I like West Virginia to win a high scoring shootout.

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