Date/Time: November 20, 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: FOX Sports 1
Spread: West Virginia -2
The Kansas State Bill Snyders head out to Morgantown for a key game for both teams on Thursday night. The West Virginia Mountaineers will have a few opportunities to improve their bowl standing the rest of the way with Oklahoma dealing with some major injuries and they could get to within a half-game of Kansas State with a win. The Wildcats are one of three teams with one conference loss in Big 12 play. Since the conference doesn’t have a championship game, the regular season champ gets the title. This should be a great game on FOX Sports 1, with the Mountaineers a small home favorite
In a season full of impressive wins for TCU, their win over Kansas State may have been the most impressive. The Wildcats held Auburn to 20 points in a near upset in Manhattan earlier this season and the Wildcats are always well prepared for superior opponents. The 41 points that they allowed was the most this season and tied for the most that they’ve allowed since their 2012 game against Baylor. The Wildcats had allowed just 100.9 yards rushing per game this season before TCU racked up 334. The Wildcats had some extra time to prepare for this game, which makes them extremely dangerous under Snyder.
Senior quarterback Jake Waters had a decent game against TCU, but he’s had a strong season overall. Waters has been successful on 63.6 percent of his throws with a 13/4 TD/INT ratio. He’s also added seven rushing touchdowns on 406 yards worth of carries. The Wildcats play a grind-it-out style on offense with 4.2 yards per carry on 336 rushes this season. Tyler Lockett is one of the country’s top wide receivers and Waters has hooked up with him 60 times for 878 yards. The Wildcats are 20th in points scored per game and 21st in points allowed.
West Virginia is one of the most improved teams in the country thanks to the play of Clint Trickett and two of the nation’s most dynamic receivers. The Mountaineers fell victim to a pretty tough spot at Texas, but they have scored 34 points per game this season after managing just 26 last season. Trickett had a 7/7 TD/INT ratio last season with a 52.8 percent completion percentage. This season, Trickett has thrown for well over 3,000 yards with 18 touchdowns. Kevin White and Mario Alford have combined for 144 catches, over 1,900 yards, and 15 touchdowns. Pitt transfer Rushel Shell leads the team with six rushing touchdowns.
Dana Holgorsen’s defense gave up 33.3 points per game last season and they have improved by nearly a touchdown and extra point per game this season. Coaching improvements on the defensive side of the ball have meant a lot. Tony Gibson went from safeties coach to defensive coordinator and former Penn State DC Tom Bradley is in his first season as the defensive line coach. A better offense has certainly helped, as has some stat padding against bad offenses, but the Mountaineers are going in the right direction on both sides of the ball. However, the Mountaineers lose Trickett, Alford, and White after this season.
Bill Snyder is still terrific against the spread. After posting a 26-12-1 ATS mark over the last three seasons, Snyder is 6-3 ATS this season. Overall, Snyder is now 185-92-1 straight up at Kansas State. Since Snyder took the program back over in 2009, the Wildcats are 21-8 ATS as an underdog. Dana Holgorsen is 6-4 against the number this season, but 4-1 ATS as an underdog. The Mountaineers are 27-21 straight up and 20-26-1 against the spread with one game called early due to weather.
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Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.