Free Big East Betting Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers at Cincinnati Bearcats

West Virginia Mountaineers at #23 Cincinnati Bearcats
Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, November 12, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ABC or ESPN GP
Opening Line: Cincinnati -3
Current Line: Cincinnati -4
Opening Total: 66 1/2
Current Total: 66
Opening Money Line: Cincinnati -170 / West Virginia +150
Current Money Line: Cincinnati -180 / West Virginia +160

Zach Collaros and the Cincinnati Bearcats are 4 point favorites at home against West Virginia Saturday afternoon in Big East action.

Cincinnati is starting to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the Big East. The Bearcats are 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the conference. Only Louisville is close with a 3-1 conference record. Every other team has at least 2 conference losses. Cincinnati hosts 6-3 (2-2 in the Big East)  West Virginia Saturday. Cincinnati is coached by Butch Jones, and has won 6 straight since a 45-23 loss at Tennessee. The Bearcats have home wins over Austin Peay 72-10, Akron 59-14, NC State 44-14, and Louisville 25-16, along with road wins at Miami-Ohio 27-0, South Florida 37-34, and last week at Pittsburgh 26-23. West Virginia is coached by Dana Holgorsen in his first year, and has home wins over Marshall 34-13, Norfolk St 55-12, Bowling Green 55-10, Connecticut 43-16, and road wins over Maryland 37-31 and Rutgers 41-31. The Mountaineers have home losses to LSU 47-21 and last week to Louisville 38-35, along with a road loss at Syracuse 49-23. West Virginia has dominated the series against Cincinnati 15-3-1. The Mountaineers have won 7 of the last 10 including last year 37-10 in Morgantown.

Last week, West Virginia hosted Louisville, and the Mountaineers were 12.5 point favorites on the college football betting line. The game was tied at 21 at halftime. The Cardinals took a 24-21 lead in the third quarter. The difference in the game happened in the fourth quarter when West Virginia was attempting an 18 yard chip shot field goal and the Cardinals blocked it and returned it all the way for a touchdown to take a 31-21 lead. West Virginia scored two more touchdowns but Louisville scored a touchdown also to make the final 38-35. West Virginia kicker Tyler Bitancurt also missed an0ther field goal in the loss. The Mountaineers had two turnovers. West Virginia had 533 total yards including 410 passing yards from quarterback Geno Smith who had 3 touchdown passes. Running back Shawne Alston had had 2 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Stedman Bailey had 8 catches, 118 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Tavon Austin had 7 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Louisville had 351 total yards, including 105 rushing yards.

The Mountaineers are averaging 487.8 yards a game, including 361 passing yards and 126.8 rushing yards. West Virginia is #13 in total offense the passing game is ranked #7 in the country. West Virginia is averaging 38.2 points, which is #13 in college football. West Virginia has 14 turnovers and has allowed 16 sacks. The Mountaineers are 59/135 on third and fourth down conversions, and 40/46 scoring in the red zone with 30 touchdowns. West Virginia is allowing 331.9 total yards a game, including 202 passing yards a game. WVU allows 133 rushing yards a game.   The Mountaineers are allowing 27.4 points a game. The Mountaineers have forced 14 turnovers and 14 sacks. West Virginia opponents are 56/149 on third and fourth down conversions, and 29/34 scoring in the red zone with 21 touchdowns. The Mountaineers have 2 defensive/special teams touchdowns, but have given up 5.

Smith is 240/374 passing, for 3,125 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions, plus a rushing touchdown. Running back Dustin Garrison has 96 carries, 581 yards, and 5 touchdowns, along with 19 catches for 160 yards. Alston has 54 carries, 292 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Vernard Roberts has 44 carries, 140 yards,  and 3 scores, along with 4 catches. Roberts missed the last 4 games but is expected to play against Cincinnati.  Andrew Buie has 34 carries, 106 yards, and a touchdown, along with 7 catches. Bailey has 51 catches, 933 yards, and 9 touchdowns.  Austin has 63 catches, 781 yards, and 4 touchdowns, along with 7 carries, 104 yards and a rushing touchdown. Austin has over 1,700 all purpose yards for the Mountaineers, and also has a kickoff return for a touchdown this season. Ivan McCartney has 41 catches, 536 yards, and 3 touchdowns.  Tyler Urban has 2 touchdown catches, and Brad Starks has 4. Bitancurt is 42/44 on extra points and 12/15 on field goals with a long of 45 yards. Linebacker Josh Rigg and Offensive lineman Josh Jenkins are both out for the season.

Cincinnati was a 3.5 point favorite last week on the road at Pitt. Pitt was up 16-13 at halftime and the two teams were tied at 23 at the end of the third. Cincinnati kicked a field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter to make the score 26-23 and neither team scored for the rest of the game. Pitt was up 23-13 early in the third, but Cincinnati scored the last 13 points of the game. Each team had two turnovers. Cincinnati had 366 total yards including 152 rushing yards. Bearcat quarterback Zach Collaros threw for 214 yards with 2 interceptions but did have 2 rushing touchdowns. Running back Isaiah Pead had 22 carries for 118 yards. Pitt had 397 total yards including 179 rushing yards.

Cincinnati is averaging 425.4 total yards including 194 rushing yards and 231.4 passing yards. Cincinnati is averaging 39.1 points a game which is the twelfth best scoring offense in the country. The Bearcats have allowed 11 sacks and have 12 turnovers. Cincinnati is 49/114 on third and fourth down conversions, and 33/39 scoring in the red zone with 26 touchdowns. Cincinnati is allowing 363.2 total yards a game including the fifth ranked rushing defense allowing only 86 yards a game. Unfortunately, the passing defense allows 277.2 yards a game which is #104 out of 120 teams. The Bearcats allow 19.5 points a game. Cincinnati has forced 26 sacks and 25 turnovers this season. Bearcat opponents are 44/129 on third and fourth down conversions, and 19/22 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns. Cincinnati has 4 defensive touchdowns this season.

Collaros is 147/232 passing (63.4% completions) with 1,784 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions, along 72 carries, 245 yards, and 8 scores. Pead has 136 carries, 821 yards, and 8 touchdowns along with 19 catches, 126 yards, and 2 touchdown catches. Six other players besides Collaros and Pead have rushing touchdowns this season.  Receiver Anthony McClung has 33 catches, 444 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Kenbrell Thompkins has 35 catches, 427 yards, and 2 touchdowns. D.J. Woods has 31 catches, 364 yards, and 2 touchdowns.  Adrien Robinson has only 6 catches, but has 135 yards and 3 scores. Kicker Tony Miliano is 32/35 on extra points and 12/15 on field goals with a long of 48 yards. Cincinnati defensive back Dominique Battle is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Cincinnati is 5-3 against the spread this season and the total is 4-4 in those games. West Virginia is 4-5 ATS and the total is 8-1 in those games. West Virginia has covered 2 in a row against Cincinnati and the total has gone under in both games. The Mountaineers are 4-0 ATS as a road underdog, 5-1 after a straight up loss, as a road dog of between 3.5 and 10 points, and in November, 4-1 after failing to cover, on the road and as an underdog, 6-2 in road games against teams with winning home records, as an underdog of between 3.5 and 10 points, 5-2-1 in conference, and 10-4 against teams with winning records. The Bearcats are 4-1 ATS as a home favorite, and on turf, 6-2 at home versus teams with winning road records, 5-2 as a favorite, 5-12 after failing to cover, 2-5 against teams with winning records, 4-11 after a straight up win, 1-4 in conference, 1-5 as a favorite of between 3.5 and 10 points, and 1-7 in November games.

This has trap game written all over it. People will look at this spread and think Cincinnati should be favored by at least a touchdown at home against a team that has been inconsistent this season. However, just because West Virginia hasn’t played up to potential, doesn’t mean the Mountaineers don’t have the talent to pull off the mild upset. I like the Mountaineers to win a close game straight up as they can’t afford another conference loss. Cincinnati has a little bit of breathing room as they hold the tiebreaker over second place Louisville.

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