College Football Week 7 Odds: Baylor At West Virginia Preview

Written By Brett Gibbons on October 11, 2022
baylor west virginia odds

Big 12 football comes to Morgantown, West Virginia on Thursday night. The West Virginia Mountaineers (2-3, 0-2) host the Baylor Bears (3-2, 1-1) at Milan Puskar Stadium, with the game kicking off at 7:00 p.m. ET on FS1. Below, we’ll look at Baylor at West Virginia odds and a game preview. Where does potential value lie and are there bets to be made in this game?

College Football Week 7: Baylor At West Virginia Odds

Baylor At West Virginia Odds Movement

Earlier books like FanDuel Sportsbook and Circa opened this line at Baylor -3 on the road. That number didn’t last long, moving to Baylor -3.5 by the time DraftKings and other books posted their lines. Tuesday saw the line inch closer to returning to Baylor -3 and the line may continue to teeter on that number.

Why should we be that concerned about a half-point move? -3 is a key betting figure in football, with three points being the most-frequent point differential in college football. About 17% of all college games end on three points; we refer to that number as the “push rate.” Playing push rates is a strong strategy for bettors, particularly with closing line value.

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What Will WVU’s Offense Look Like?

With five games of usable data in the books, this should be a question we have an answer to. However, in their last game, star running back CJ Donaldson suffered a scary concussion that will keep him off the field for a reported four to six weeks. He’s unavailable for this game. So far this season, Donaldson has accounted for 18% of WVU’s total yardage and six of the team’s 22 total TDs. His absence in the backfield is a major blow to the offense.

That said, the Mountaineers still have offensive playmakers. Receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton is third in the Big 12 in receiving yardage (412) and is the recipient of four of JT Daniels’ eight passing TDs. Tony Mathis and Justin Johnson Jr. will split the backfield this game, but they’re both averaging over two yards per carry less than Donaldson’s ridiculous 6.9.

When faced with pressure, Daniels has been prone to turnovers. Against Pittsburgh to open the season, he was lucky to come away with just one interception as the Panthers were bearing down on him most of the game. Fortunately for Daniels, Baylor has struggled to generate pressure most of the season. The Bears are 79th in sack rate (5.3%), a far cry from last year’s 23rd ranking (8.5%).

The Home Edge

Milan Puskar Stadium is famously one of the toughest places to play in the nation. Historically, this series has been dominated by the home team, with West Virginia being 5-0 at home against Baylor and both teams combining for a 9-1 record at home. However, the Mountaineers have played just one home game this season against an FBS opponent, a 55-42 overtime loss to Kansas.

Both teams are coming off a bye and have had plenty of time to prepare and travel. The raucous home environment for West Virginia will certainly play a small role, particularly in the first half, but don’t use it as a skeleton key to auto-fire West Virginia.

When In Doubt…

Betting on the more talented team with the better coach is a winning strategy in college football. The Bears are talented, healthy, and well-coached under Dave Aranda. Baylor had an extra week to prepare and return home to face Kansas next week; although ranked, Kansas doesn’t present the same lookahead situation that a Texas or Oklahoma State would present to Baylor. Aranda’s crew will be prepared for this one.

Blake Shapen has played lights-out so far this season. He’s completing nearly 70% of his passes and 8.0 yards per attempt and has nine TD passes to just three interceptions. While his cast of receivers is inexperienced and a notable step backwards from the talented group last season, Shapen is getting the job done. This unit has a favorable matchup against a West Virginia secondary that’s struggled to slow opposing passing attacks thus far. WVU is allowing the 11th-best passer rating to opposing QBs (162.4) and the ninth-most yards per attempt (9.1) on the season.

Neal Brown is 8-9 in his career at WVU in one-score games against FBS opponents, including 0-2 this year. It’s a touchy point among those who cover the Mountaineers and there’s growing resentment about his treading water in Morgantown.

Baylor At West Virginia Forecast

Baylor is the better football team. Aggregate power ratings (SP+, Sagarin, FPI, etc.) list Baylor as about a six-point road favorite in this game. Without a go-to back and a strong lean on the run game, it’s hard to envision how West Virginia keeps up in this game. Daniels has proven over his 14-year collegiate career that he’s not a QB that can single-handedly drive a team to victory.

The home environment for the Mountaineers is a nice boost, but the current state of the program isn’t in a good place. Those who cover the team have expired their patience with Brown.

Baylor is a team slow out of the gate, but punctuates their games in the second half. I was happy to jump on the opening Baylor -3 and would do so again if the line dips.

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Brett Gibbons Avatar
Written by
Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

View all posts by Brett Gibbons