Oklahoma State is going into this week as the 15th-ranked team in the nation and need to finish the season in the top four to make the college football playoffs. This could be difficult with games against Texas and Oklahoma further down in the season, but they are facing off against a weaker West Virginia Mountaineers program.
Both programs are focused on the ground-and-pound nature of their offenses, one behind a superstar and the other with a balanced backfield. This game could prove how well the Cowboys could compete for a conference championship and essentially lock in a ticket for the playoffs. The Mountaineers haven’t played in two weeks and it seems West Virginia had to have this game circled as a key test. Their offense was hit-and-miss last season and the Cowboys defense struggled last year on keeping points off the board. This game will be limited to about 15,000 fans in the stadium, so there will be a bit of a home-field advantage in this game.
When the lines opened for this contest, Oklahoma State was an -8.5 point favorite but it has dropped to Oklahoma State -6.5 points. A hefty 73 percent of the bets against the spread are backing West Virginia plus the points. 85 percent of the moneyline wagers are coming in on West Virginia as well.
The over/under was originally set at 55.5 points for this game. It has steadily trended down since that point and currently sits at 51.5 points with 56 percent of the bets on the total coming in on the over.
It's going to be a hot one in Stillwater with temperatures around kickoff hovering in the low 90s with sunny skies. Winds are coming out of the south around 15 miles per hour with gusts up to 20 miles an hour. There is no precipitation in the forecast.
Prove Last Game Wasn’t a FlukeThis seems like a given but the Eastern Kentucky program is leagues behind where the Oklahoma State Cowboys are. Even with that, the offense looked strong behind junior quarterback Jarret Doege. He went 19-for-25 for 228 yards with three touchdowns and finished with a 192.2 rating. This was the best game of his young career. The running attack was even better than that somehow as the Mountaineers combined for 329 rushing yards with five trips into the end zone on a balanced attack.The West Virginia game plan has to be to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball down the Cowboy’s throat. Oklahoma State was 0-4 in games where they allowed 170+ rushing yards. It seems simplistic to just say control the time of possession and limit the amount of snaps your defense has to play against an explosive offense. The Mountaineers ran the ball on 51 of their 86 offensive snaps (59.3%) in their opening game so it seems they understand the formula to win as the underdog in this game against a ranked Oklahoma State.
OUT: S Kerry Martin Jr., S Scottie Young
Run Chuba Run!Chuba Hubbard is going to be the biggest star in this game, no questions asked. Coming off a game last week against Tulsa where he struggled, just 93 rushing yards on 27 attempts, he salvaged his day with a touchdown. There has been an abbreviated training camp with the COVID pandemic shutting down spring practices but Hubbard needs to finish with a more productive box score. He is still in the Heisman voting, sitting at +5000 odds and a big game here could be the catalyst to begin a huge season.
Quarterback Spencer Sanders (ankle) played just one drive against Tulsa before leaving the game. He's listed as questionable for the West Virginia contest. Ethan Bullock and Shane Illingworth both played against the Golden Hurricane and combined to complete 12 of 18 for 115 yards with one INT.
Just finished @CowboyFB tape and RB LD Brown (@LdeeBrown) is now on the radar. Chuba Hubbard’s backup entered 2020 with only 111 carries but flashed NFL talent vs. Tulsa. Runs hard and showed breakaway speed. Hope he continues to get more touches. Nice old-school high-step! 👀📈 pic.twitter.com/FjLJMJgDfO— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) September 22, 2020
After averaging at least 6.0 yards per carry in the previous two seasons, he only had 3.4 last game. Oklahoma State will only go as far as Hubbard will carry them. It all goes with how he performs on first down as he had 166 carries in that situation and he averaged 7.1 yards. It completely opens up the playbook for coach Mike Gundy. The Cowboys averaged 229.6 rushing yards and 2.1 touchdowns from the ground per game on 43 carries every game. Getting Hubbard going early has to be the priority for the Oklahoma State offense.
OUT: DT Collin Clay
Questionable: QB Spencer Sanders, OL Cole Birmingham
- Oklahoma St: 12-5 when Chuba Hubbard scores rushing TD
- Oklahoma St: 5-0 since 2015 vs West Virginia
- West Virginia: 5-15-2 ATS in last 22 as the underdog
- West Virginia: 3-6 vs Big 12 last year
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
It is hard to believe Chuba Hubbard is going to be limited in production for two consecutive games after losing his streak of 11 games of 100-yards rushing. West Virginia isn’t a great offense but they could put points on the board with Oklahoma State’s defense struggling last year and overall in Mike Gundy’s tenure as head coach. Look for this to be a one-possession game but Oklahoma State has won this game in the last five meetings. Oklahoma State will win a game decided by a touchdown.
Prediction: Oklahoma State -8.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The number has already gone down a full three points since it opened. The under has hit in five consecutive conference games for the Mountaineers while the Cowboys had the under hit in their last five games overall. Even looking at the head-to-head matchup, the under has hit in five of the last seven games between these two programs. Don’t get too caught up in West Virginia’s first game where they dropped 56 points and go play the under before it continues to fall.
Prediction: Under 51.5