College Football Week 5 Picks: Baylor Bears vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

No. 25 Baylor Bears at No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers
Saturday, 9/29/12, 12:00 PM EST, TV:  FX
Opening Point Spread:  West Virginia -12.5
Current Betting Line:  West Virginia -12.5
Opening Total:  79.5
Current Total:  79
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

West Virginia Mountaineers WR Tavon Austin leads the nation in averaging 11.3 receptions per game

Baylor moved its win streak to nine games with a 47-42 victory over Louisiana-Monroe as 8.5-point road favorites last week, while climbing over the total for the second time this season in as many tries.  The Bears have scored at least 47 points in all three games this year, as they lead the nation in going above 45 in seven consecutive games.  Quarterback Nick Florence definitely isn’t Robert Griffin III in terms of running the football, but he’s done a nice job taking over for him.  Baylor is 0-5 ATS on the road when the total is greater than 70, which is significant when making your college football picks this week.

The Bears defense continues to cause turnovers with coordinator Phil Bennett on the sidelines, as they’ve won all eight when creating two or more miscues.  Baylor has forced a turnover in all 16 games under his direction.  Offensively, the team is one of just six nationally that’s averaging 300-plus passing yards and 200-plus rushing yards on the season.  Florence has plenty of weapons on the perimeter, with the program possessing four 1,000-yard wide receivers on its roster.

West Virginia is set to play its first-ever game as a member of the Big 12 Conference, as it faces an opponent that’s gone 6-57 on the road in this situation.  The Mountaineers weren’t exactly sharp in last week’s 31-21 victory over the Maryland Terrapins as 26-point home favorites, as they only won the statistical battle by 12 yards.  “We’ll get back to work this week after watching tape on all three sides of the ball,” commented Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen.  “There’s plenty of room for improvement.”  West Virginia is 3-0 ATS after two or more consecutive losses against the spread the last two-plus seasons.

The Mountaineers are explosive offensively with quarterback Geno Smith, especially when he finds Tavon Austin down field, who ranks first nationally in averaging 11.3 receptions per game.  West Virginia has gone 24-7-1 at Milan Puskar Stadium in Homecoming games, while the program has gone 78-3 when scoring 30 or more points since 2000.  On the other side of the ball, the defense leads the conference and ranks 14th nationally in averaging 3.33 sacks per game.

Sports bettors will likely back the Mountaineers due to their 7-2 ATS mark after playing two straight non-conference games, while the Bears are 0-6 ATS on the road.

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  1. Geno Smith is the leading Heisman contender. He is being billed as this year’s RGIII, albeit most would agree he is not quite as good RGIII was. Geno currently is second in the nation in individual Total Offense.

    Who is ahead of Geno Smith and actually leads the nation in Total Offense? That would be the quarterback from Baylor not named RGIII.

    It’s funny to me that the article tries to compare Geno Smith to RGIII, and then makes a point of saying that Nick Florence is definitely no RGIII. Why is it then that Florence is currently more productive than Smith, but nobody seems to notice?

  2. Florence hasn’t faced anybody in his career, Smith at least has some numbers against some better competition

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