West Virginia Mountaineers at TCU Horned Frogs Expert Picks and Betting Predictions
West Virginia Mountaineers at TCU Horned Frogs, Saturday Oct. 7, 3:30 p.m. ET
This is one of just two games on the fairly lackluster schedule of games this week that features two ranked teams. But the teams are in different places. TCU has gotten off to a stellar start, and voters are impressed - they sit eighth in the country. West Virginia, meanwhile, has a loss and is clinging to one of the last spots in the Top 25 - they sit 23rd and have no margin for error remaining. Both teams won their first conference game, so they can get a statement win here in the pursuit of a berth in the first Big 12 title game. Which team will rise up and seize that opportunity?
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West Virginia at TCU Betting Storylines
Let's start by saying what we really shouldn't have to point out. This is a serious coaching mismatch. Gary Patterson is a truly elite coach, and he could have had his choice of top jobs if he had ever decided to leave Fort Worth. Despite resources that fall far behind other schools, he has finished the season ranked in the Top 10 in six of his 17 seasons - and four of those were even more impressive because they came when the team was still in Mountain West, so the accomplishment was tougher. What has been most impressive in his tenure has been the willingness he has shown to change and adapt. He led with strong defenses for a long time, shifted to an offensive focus to keep up with trends, and has made changes to the coaching staff when they are needed to address issues with the team. Patterson could coach my team any day. The same certainly can't be said for Dana Holgorsen. He was a dismal 22-23 in five seasons of Big 12 play heading into this season and has shown very little of the flair he showed as an offensive coordinator at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State. He should have been fired before last season, and all he is doing now is delaying the hiring of his inevitable replacement. I'm not convinced that this game will be that close, but if it is then the edge in crunch time goes to Patterson by a wide margin.
TCU had looked solid through their first three games. It was with their most recent game that they really announced their legitimacy. They headed to Stillwater to play an Oklahoma State squad that people were heaping compliments on. The Horned Frogs were nine-point underdogs, but you would never guess it by watching the game. TCU was just plain dominant, winning by 13 in a performance that was more lopsided than the score. They showed real toughness, offensive balance, defensive competence, and the ability to overcome a hostile environment without any signs of intimidation. It was a very impressive performance, and it didn't feel like a fluke. There would be a concern of a team coming out flat after a performance like that - resting on their laurels. They have had a bye week since, though, so they have had plenty of time to be proud of themselves and then get refocused, and Patterson is good enough to get them focused again.
West Virginia's offense is ranked second nationally in both yards and points scored. I'm not buying it. They scored only 24 in the season-opening loss to Virginia Tech and have piled up points against three weaklings since. They aren't going to pile up points against TCU like they have against East Carolina, Delaware State, and Kansas. And a defense that already ranks 108th in yards allowed is going to have issues with the Horned Frogs.
West Virginia at TCU Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with TCU favored by 12.5, and that has since climbed to 13.5 in early betting action. Almost 60 percent of bets have been on West Virginia, so if the line moves through the key number of 14 then we will know that sharp action is hitting TCU hard. The total opened at 72.5 and has fallen significantly to 68.5 in early action.
The Mountaineers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven conference games, 4-10 ATS in their last 14 road games, and 4-13 ATS in their last 17 games in October. TCU is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 conference games and 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games overall but 19-7 ATS in their last 26 following a bye week.
West Virginia at TCU Predictions and Picks
I don't think this will come as a surprise - I don't like West Virginia. And I really like TCU. This is a lot of points to give up, but the Mountaineers are a fraud of a team that will be exposed in this one. And TCU knows they have a chance to really make some noise this year. The Horned Frogs will cover.
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