On Saturday, November 17, 2017, the 6-3 West Virginia Mountaineers travel to Snyder Family Stadium to take on the 5-4 Kansas State Wildcats in this Big12 showdown. West Virginia is coming off a huge victory last weekend over Iowa State, moving them to six wins and making them bowl eligible. That also gave them three victories in their last four games, winning the three by a combined total of 15 points.
Kansas State has been in a mini-slump, losing three games to Texas, TCU, and Oklahoma in successive weeks in October, but have rebounded against their arch-rivals, the Kansas Jayhawks on the last weekend in October, then downing Texas Tech last weekend in overtime. They look for their third win in a row before facing what could be the toughest portion of their schedule, closing out against Oklahoma State and Iowa State. A victory would make them bowl eligible.
Both of these teams enter this game 4-5 against the spread this season. West Virginia is 0-5 against the spread in their last five games against Kansas State, and have gone 1-4 straight up in the last five games between these two teams. When these two teams have met, the total has gone under in each of the last five contests, however, West Virginia has gone over in four of their last six contests overall. The Mountaineers are 1-4 against the spread on the road in their last five games.
In the last seven games for the Wildcats, they are 2-5 against the spread but have gone 9-4 straight up in their last 13 games. The total has gone over in 10 of their last 15 games played and they have gone over in six of the last eight at home.
West Virginia is coming off a huge victory over Iowa State last weekend, which pretty much sank the Cyclones hopes of winning the conference title. It was the ground game of the Mountaineers that made a huge difference, rushing for 208 yards on 47 attempts. Justin Crawford gained 105 yards on the day, moving his total this season to 788 yards and seven touchdowns. Crawford is difficult to contain, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and should have the opportunity to have a big day against the Wildcats defense.
Will Grier has thrown for 3088 yards for West Virginia, with 30 touchdowns and a 64.97 completion percentage. The Mountaineers quarterback is among the leaders across the country and several categories. The only blemish this season has been that he has thrown 10 interceptions in 334 attempts. Because Grier is so talented and has such a powerful arm, he will force balls into areas where there are double or triple coverage. That could give Kansas State some opportunities to turn the game around should they find themselves behind early.
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
The Wildcats have a solid defense, averaging less than 25 points per game allowed. The numbers are by no stretch of the imagination eye-popping, but this is just a group that plays solidly together. They have 16 sacks, eight interceptions, and eight fumble recoveries, but for players on this team have at least two sacks this season, and D.J. Reed leads the team with three interceptions.
The offense is led by Alex Barnes, who has rushed for 587 yards and five touchdowns. Barnes has an impressive 5.8 yards per carry average, and Alex Delton is second on the team and rushing, gaining 342 yards at averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Delton also has five scores.
Delton has taken over the quarterback position for Kansas State, after Jesse Ertz had completed just 55 percent of his passes through the first five games of the year. The two have split time at the quarterback position during the season, but this now looks like it is Delton’s job to lose.
Mountaineers vs.Wildcats Betting Lines
To be honest, it is somewhat surprising that Kansas State is favored to win this game. West Virginia has the better weapons, and has the momentum going with them as well. It truly looks like the Mountaineers should dominate this game. The only concern has to be that playing the Wildcats at home has been a real challenge for opponents so far this season. Don’t expect that for West Virginia, however. Take the Mountaineers and the points and expect this game to go slightly above 62.5.