An important Big 12 battle headlines the Week 9 college football schedule on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET when the Baylor Bears visit the West Virginia Mountaineers. West Virginia hopes to bounce back from its first loss of the season, while rebuilding Baylor could get a signature win by pulling the upset. Both teams come off a bye week with significant goals in sight. West Virginia is still fighting for a potential Big 12 title-game berth, while Baylor is working toward becoming bowl-eligible. The Mountaineers are 13.5-point sportsbook favorites and the over-under for total points scored is 66 in the latest West Virginia vs. Baylor odds. Before you make any West Virginia vs. Baylor picks, check out what SportsLine senior analyst Josh Nagel has to say.
A Nevada-based expert with 20 years of experience in the sports wagering industry, Nagel specializes in handicapping college football. He’s having another solid season for SportsLine members, hitting on 60 percent of his spread selections. Moreover, he has had a sharp eye for handicapping these clubs, with a record of 10-3 on against-the-spread picks involving either Baylor or West Virginia. This run includes a remarkable 6-0 record on Baylor games.
Just two weeks ago, Nagel advised SportsLine members that Baylor was likely to catch Texas in a letdown spot following the Longhorns’ upset of Oklahoma. He recommended backing Baylor as a two-touchdown underdog and, sure enough, the Bears pushed Texas to the wire in a 23-17 loss. Anyone who followed Nagel’s advice picked up another easy winner.
Now, Nagel has scrutinized West Virginia vs. Baylor from every possible angle to reveal a strong point-spread pick that he’s sharing only at SportsLine.
He knows high-powered West Virginia (5-1) rolled through its first five games with an average margin of victory of 23 points. But two weeks ago, it ran into an Iowa State club that has developed a habit of playing spoiler to playoff-contending Big 12 opponents. The Cyclones dominated in the 30-14 victory. The Mountaineers were held to 152 total yards and went scoreless in the second half.
Even so, Heisman candidate Will Grier leads an offense that is averaging 37 points and 320.5 passing yards. The defense also has been stout, allowing just 20.5 points per contest. In last year’s 38-36 win over the Bears, Grier threw for 375 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions as the Mountaineers racked up 493 yards of total offense.
But that doesn’t mean West Virginia is destined to cover against a Baylor team that is making strides in its second season under Matt Rhule.
The Bears (4-3) followed an impressive win over Kansas State with a hard-fought effort on the road against conference-leading Texas. They held the Longhorns scoreless in the second half while coming up just short on a rally from a 13-point deficit. Tennessee transfer Jalen Hurd scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to make it a one-score game in the fourth quarter.
The Bears were in position to win despite 10 penalties and allowing Texas to rush for 170 yards. Quarterback Charlie Brewer had a solid game with 240 passing yards with a touchdown and an interception.
We can tell you Nagel is leaning toward the Over, but he also has identified a crucial x-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He’s only sharing it at SportsLine.
Who covers in Baylor vs. West Virginia? And what crucial x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over Thursday, all from the expert who’s hitting 77 percent of his spread picks involving these teams.
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