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West Virginia vs. Cincinnati Prediction, Pick Against the Spread

Posted by in College Football Picks on November 13th, 2009 | Comment »

Before we get into this game, remember to sign up for THE PASS RUSH’s pick ’em league.  Here are quick links to my NFL picks and Brandon’s NCAA picks.

#25 WEST VIRGINA (7-2) @ #5 CINCINNATI (9-0) -9.5

We have a tremendous college football game for Friday night.  The Mountaineers will travel to Cincinnati to face the undefeated Bearcats.  Let’s try to break down this matchup and see which team is a good pick against the spread.  Cincinnati has been better against the spread this year than West Virginia: Cincinnati is 6-3 ATS and West Virginia is 2-6 ATS.

Cincinatti is averaging 40 PPG and allowing 16.4 PPG.  West Virginia is averaging 28.3 PPG and allowing 20.9 PPG.  When these teams met last year, Cincinnati won 26-23.  Cincinnati has a much better team this year though.  Cincinatti has a clear advantage with their passing game.  Cincy is averaging 355 yards per game, 100 more yards per game than West Virginia’s passing average.  West Virginia’s edge is their rushing defense.  WVU gives up 120 rushing yards per game (3.4 YPR) compared to Cincy’s 172 yard average (4.2 YPR), but that doesn’t matter that much since Cincinnati is a pass first, run second team.

Tony Pike might get some action this game, but it will be backup Zach Callaros that will be getting the start for Cincinnatti once again.  No worry about Pike sitting out,  Callaros is playing just as well, maybe even better than Pike was.  Callaros is averaging 12.3 yards per passing attempt and has 10 TDs and just 1 INT.

I would have been all over Cincinnati if I didn’t see what happened to them last week.  Cincinnati barely topped Connecticut last week, winning by a score of 47-45.  UCONN was able to compile 462 yards with most of the damage being done by their RB.  With WVU’s serious run threat in Noel Devine, I would be hesitant on taking Cincinatti due to that fact.  However, Devine does have an injured ankle, but is listed as probable.

In Cincinnati’s defense, they are ranked in the top 10 in passing, scoring, and total offense.  They put up over 700 yards against UCONN.  That is not a typo, they had over 700 yards of offense last week.  The Bearcats average 482 yards of offense per game, ranked 3rd in the country.

The one common opponent I want to take a look at is South Florida since that is a quality football team and will give us a tell on how these teams will fair against each other.  Cincinnati beat South Florida 34-17 and West Virginia lost to South Florida 30-19.  Cincy also rolled over Louisville 41-10 and WVU beat Louisville by a mere 17-9 score.

The over/under is set at 56.  With these offenses, I think you’ll likely see the over hit.  Although the number is very tempting to take, it’s still a bit too high for me to bite, especially since WVU has averaged just 18 PPG in their last 2 games.  These offenses average close to a combined 900 yards and 68 PPG.  I am a bit concerned that Cincy’s defense was exposed last week by UCONN, but WVU was been held to under 20 points in their last 2 games to just average teams.

Fox Sports is calling Cincinnati to win 37-23.  At, 7/12 experts like Cincinnati to cover and 59% of the consensus vote is favoring Cincinnati.

I am going with Cincinnati to cover in this game.  Cincinnati’s passing game is just off the charts and I don’t think WVU has an answer for it. If WVU wants to stay in this game, they’ll have to keep the Cincinnati defense honest and prevent them from stacking the box.  If Cincinnati can stop the WVU running game and have their secondary take care of business, this game could be one sided and Cincinnati could find themselves up big in a hurry.

Prediction: Cincinatti 34 – West Virginia 20

Free Pick: Cincinatti -9.5 (Confidence: 3/5) (L)

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