Line Moving In West Virginia’s Favor Vs. Oklahoma, But Look At Total

oklahoma

Jay Pryce

Monday, November 19, 2018 5:24 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 5:24 PM UTC

A trip to the Big 12 title game is on the line when No. 6 Oklahoma plays at No. 13 West Virginia. Despite the Sooners' dominance in the series, early money is favoring the hosts. However, our pick is targeting the pending total. 

No. 6 Oklahoma at No. 13 West VirginiaFriday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free NCAAF Pick: 'Over'Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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It’s a simple scenario when No. 6 Oklahoma (10-1 SU, 4-7 ATS) squares off against No. 9 West Virginia (8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS) in Morgantown on Friday night: The winner advances to the Big 12 championship. The Mountaineers have dropped all six meetings since joining the conference, and by a 16.3 average margin.

Oddsmakers installed the Sooners 7-point favorites in Games of the Year lines in May. They relisted the number at -2.5 for the visitors Sunday, but early sharp action has seen the odds dip to a pick ‘em across the top online sportsbooks. The adjustment comes despite two-thirds of the bets backing Oklahoma as of publication.

A number on the total will be released within 24 hours, but bettors can expect it to be in the 70s. It will likely not be enough.

Swiss-Cheese Defenses

This is easily one of the worst defenses in recent memory for Oklahoma, yielding 425.8 yards per game. Not only does it let opponents march down the field with ease, but is utterly toothless inside the 20-yard line. The Sooners rank 128 out of 130 in the FBS in opponent red zone scoring percentage, allowing points on 97.3 percent of drives into the area.

The unit is somehow regressing as the season marches along, too, despite firing defensive coordinator Mike Stoops a month ago. Take last week’s 55-40 home victory over Kansas as an example. The Jayhawks rumbled for 348 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns in defeat. They found the end zone nine times on the ground all season prior.

West Virginia’s defense is showing signs of deterioration late as well. Although more efficient than the visitors, surrendering 0.327 points per play, it’s allowed four of its last six opponents to surpass their projected team total.

The bottom dropped out in last weekend’s 45-41 loss at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys torched the unit for a season-high 604 yards, overcame four turnovers, and erased a 17-point halftime deficit in the win. Not the momentum one wants with one of the nation’s most high-powered offensive attacks coming to town.

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Just keep winning.

🔗 https://t.co/QLBpRUUtfn pic.twitter.com/YPnBS1cmAZ

— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) November 18, 2018
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Holgorsen’s Lament

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen has faired poorly at stopping the Big 12’s best offenses. He allows 41.4 points per game to conference foes averaging better than 40.0 points per game on the year. This includes four of the six contests against the Sooners. Oklahoma scored 45 (2014), 44 (2015), 56 (2016), and 59 (2017) points in those meetings.

Oklahoma Race

Oklahoma has been able to run away from virtually any opponent expected to compete offensively on the college football odds board. Since Lincoln Riley assumed head coaching duties, the Sooners are 17-1 SU and 10-7-1 ATS with a game total of 62 points or higher. The "over" is 12-4-2 (75.0 percent) overall, Oklahoma averaging 49.1 points per game in this situation. In contests with a smaller over/under number, the Sooners are 5-2 SU and 2-5 ATS, their scoring dipping to 42.0 per tilt.

Pick

The two teams have combined to go 15-5-2 to the "over" this season. Although savvy bettors would expect this record to regress to the middle late in the year, few signals point to a low-scoring affair here. Both defenses have little confidence and trending the wrong way. Couple this with a pair of Heisman candidates under center in QBs Will Grier and Kyler Murray, and the combined score has a good chance at eclipsing the century mark. Pick "over" the number.

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