West Virginia Win-Total Pick
Will the West Virginia Mountaineers have another winning season in the 2017 year? Here is a breakdown of the team.
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, West Virginia is listed with 100/1 odds to win the College Football Playoffs this season. In the Big 12, the Mountaineers are listed with 20/1 odds to win. When it comes to the over/under for wins this season, WVU is listed at 6.5. The over carries a line at -165, while the under has a money line of +135.
Dana Holgorsen enters his seventh season as head coach of WVU. He has posted a 46-31 record in six season with the team, including a 27-25 mark in conference play. WVU has won at least seven games in all but one season under Holgorsen. Last year the Mountaineers went 10-3 overall and 7-2 in conference play.
As usual, WVU had a great offense in 2016. They averaged 41.8 points and 486 yards per game last season. Skyler Howard was the quarterback in 2016, but has moved on. The Mountaineers turn the ball over to Will Grier, a transfer from Florida. He saw limited action in 2015, throwing for 1,204 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Gators. WVU loses its top two receivers from 2016 as well, so Grier will have to gel with some new stars. One steady presence in the backfield is Justin Crawford, who rushed for 1,184 yards and four touchdowns a year ago. He will be back to lead this offense as Grier gets comfortable.
Defensively, West Virginia allowed only 23.4 points per game last season, yet gave up 431 yards per contest. The unit didn’t have a great pass rush, totaling only 23 sacks in 2016, but they did force 25 turnovers. However, Rasul Douglas had eight interceptions of those 25 turnovers and he is gone. Also gone is leading tackler Justin Arndt, who had 84 tackles with 7.5 tackles for loss. Al-Rasheed Benton is back after 80 tackles and an interception last year. The senior linebacker will be a leader for the unit in 2017. Also back is safety Kyzir White, who had 58 tackles with seven tackles for loss and three sacks a year ago.
West Virginia opens the season with a big game against Virginia Tech on Sunday, Sept. 3 from FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The Mountaineers will then host East Carolina and Delaware State in non-conference play. Big 12 home games include Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas. Road trips will be made to Kansas, TCU, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma. I feel very confident WVU will win at least six of the games on this schedule. That means it just has to win one of those close games to get the over and avoid a letdown. The close games include the opener with Tech, a home game with Oklahoma State and road games like TCU and Baylor. Even with a new QB and new receivers, Holgorsen has been able to get WVU to a level of success. I expect that success to continue this season.
2017 WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: WEST VIRGINIA OVER 6.5 (-165)