Baylor vs West Virginia Odds, Picks and Predictions: Mountaineers Keep Things Close

The Baylor Bears have never won a game in program history at West Virginia, and that trend may continue today. Our college football betting picks feel the Mountaineers have what it takes to keep this game closer and cover the spread — find out why.

Chris Hatfield - Betting Analyst at
Chris Hatfield • Betting Analyst
Oct 13, 2022 • 12:03 ET • 4 min read
JT Daniels West Virginia Mountaineers College Football
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Baylor and West Virginia meet for a Big 12 matchup on Thursday night. The two teams have both gotten off to lackluster starts, and both arrive at this game with multiple losses.

Baylor has split its last two games with a win against Iowa State and a recent double-digit loss against Oklahoma State. It's been an uneven start for West Virginia. The Mountaineers are 2-3, with a win over in-state rival Virginia Tech, but heavy losses to Texas and Kansas. Given the direction of these teams' seasons, this feels like a massive game for both.

Who pulls this one out? Find out in our college football betting picks and predictions for West Virginia vs. Baylor. 

Baylor vs West Virginia best odds

Baylor vs West Virginia picks and predictions

The discussion surrounding this game from a Baylor perspective will be about going 0-5 in Morgantown, having yet to record a win there in program history. This aspect has dominated the conversation so much that it's affected the spread. So I will lean into those narratives and go with West Virginia as my best bet. It should do enough to put pressure on its offense in what figures to be a high-scoring affair. 

When the Bears are at their best, they stay on track and keep themselves in manageable standard down positions. Sure, any team will succeed when they keep themselves in short-yardage situations, but this is particularly relevant for Baylor. Its best win of the season came against Iowa State. In that game, it scored quarterly success rates of 43%, 54%, 50%, and 58% on downs between 5 and 10 yards. Those are all above the national average and were one of the biggest keys to its offensive success.

First-down success, in general, is imperative for its offense. It sets the tone for its drives and indicates if it'll win or lose games. Following Iowa State, the Bears lost to Oklahoma State by double-digits. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that this game featured one of the season's lowest standard down success rates. Baylor posted just a 35% success rate in the first quarter and went to halftime with a 16-3 deficit.

Baylor's success in this game can be directly tied to if it stays on track and gets positive plays on the first down. I don't foresee the Bear's defense doing a ton to stop West Virginia. In some ways, that's a bold statement, but I like the matchup.

The Mountaineers will make mistakes — they aren't exactly the most explosive offense in the country either — but it's hard to factor that in too much to a handicap. The Bears will have to outscore WVU to win and cover this number. Answering if they can do that or not requires answering if they'll have success on the first down.

I don't have access to a database of first down defensive stats — if you know of one, please let me know — but we know that West Virginia is one of the better defenses in the country in limiting big yardage plays. It ranks 23rd in fewest plays of 10 yards or more, along with ranking just outside the Top 25 in the country in fewest plays of 20 yards or more. In those two categories, it ranks the highest of any Baylor opponent.

Throw in the fact that WVU ranks slightly above the national average in tackles for losses, and you've got some issues for Baylor.

I see a fair amount of scoring in this game, but the Mountaineers' defense is doing just enough to cover this number. There will be a crucial drive in the game where the West Virginia defense gets Baylor beyond the sticks, and issues will occur. It may just come in the form of an interception thrown by QB Blake Shapen. The Sophomore is coming off a two-interception performance against Oklahoma State. Either way, I believe WVU puts Baylor in enough problematic situations to cover this number and perhaps even win. 

My best bet: West Virginia +3.5 (-110 at FanDuel)

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Baylor vs West Virginia spread analysis

I will not add more to my position by taking the West Virginia moneyline. I feel comfortable with the 3.5 points, and I could easily see Baylor winning a game by 3 points or less. However, given that I'm taking such a small point spread as my best bet, I lean toward the West Virginia moneyline.

One aspect that I didn't talk about under my best bet section was the WVU offense. But, as of late, it seems to have figured out a thing or two. 

It's scoring enough points to win games, including over 30 points in three of its last four games. It's done that with a powerful offense on intermediate throws and one of the best passing offenses overall in the Big 12, ranking fourth in passing yards per game.

Baylor has what I would classify as an average passing defense. It ranks fifth in the Big 12 in passing yards per game, allowing just 223, but even that feels a bit schedule induced. West Virginia has already seen a better passing defense than it in Texas and had some modest success. It scored 20 points against the Longhorns, and QB J.T. Daniels connected for 29 of 48 passing and 253 yards.

Before we shut the book on the analysis of this game from a side perspective, I want to note one interesting trend: 

Not only has Baylor never won at West Virginia, but the home team in this series is also 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings between the two. 

Baylor vs West Virginia Over/Under analysis

You have to like points here. 

Baylor's defensive stats are a bit more misleading, relevant to how good its defense actually is. Don't get me wrong, I believe the defense is fine, but it's closer to average than good. There's a reason the Bears' defense ranks in the bottom half of most havoc stats. There's also a reason why two conference opponents have collected over 350 yards of total defense against them in back-to-back games. I believe the West Virginia offense will be able to score enough points to push this one Over.

I expect Baylor's offense to do its part as well. Even if I think the Mountaineers' defense does an excellent job of putting them in compromising situations, I still see plenty of points as the game goes on. The Bears' offense has scored 20 or more points in 14 consecutive games. I see no reason why they don't make it 15 against West Virginia. If they do that, that will be enough to get this Over the posted total.

I'm going to grab the pregame number of Over 54.5 and take it all the way up to 57. Both of these teams have efficient offenses, and both have good matchups. Expect points. 

Baylor vs West Virginia betting trend to know

Baylor has in 0-5 program record in games at West Virginia. Find more NCAA betting trends for Baylor vs. West Virginia.

Baylor vs West Virginia game info

Location: Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV
Date: Thursday, October 13, 2022
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports 1

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