West Virginia at Iowa State
The Iowa State Cyclones (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) welcome the West Virginia Mountaineers (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) to Jack Trice Stadium Saturday. Oddsmakers have installed West Virginia as a 1-point favorite at Iowa State.
Why West Virginia Covers
The Mountaineers need another win to become bowl eligible. Iowa State already became bowl eligible with a victory at Kansas last Saturday, so it could find it hard getting motivated to play West Virginia Saturday. Oddsmakers feel the same way by installing the Mountaineers as a favorite despite five straight losses.
However, West Virginia’s last five losses have all come against very tough teams. Four of them came against Texas Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, which are four teams that Iowa State has lost to as well. The other came to TCU by a single point, which is the second 1-point loss they’ve had during the skid.
West Virginia ranks 4th in the country in passing offense at 344.8 yards per game. Quarterback Geno Smith is completing 70.0 percent of his passes for 3,358 yards with 35 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season. He should have a big day against an Iowa State defense that ranks 109th against the pass at 283.6 yards per game.
Mountaineers are 5-2 against the spread in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. The Cyclones are 2-5 against the spread in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. Iowa State is 1-3-1 against the spread in its last 5 home games. The Cyclones are 0-3-1 against the spread in their last 4 games following a S.U. win.
Why Iowa State Covers
The Cyclones have one of the most underrated head coaches in the country in Paul Rhoads, who has gotten his team to exceed expectations in each of his first four years on the job. He’ll likely have his players focused on Senior Day for this one.
West Virginia knows it has a game against Kansas in its hip pocket next week to become bowl eligible. It could easily suffer a hangover from a 49-50 loss to Oklahoma last Saturday. It was its fifth straight loss, and this one came in excruciating fashion. The Sooners scored a game-winning touchdown with 24 seconds to go to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
While the Cyclones have given up some yards this season, they have been sturdy in the red zone, and they force turnovers to keep opponents from putting up more points than they should. That’s why Iowa State is only giving up 22.6 points per game on the season despite allowing 442.1 yards per game.
The Mountaineers have been atrocious on defense all season. They are allowing 42.3 points per game while ranking 119th in the country in total defense at 496.5 yards per game. They have been much worse in conference play, yielding a ridiculous 50.9 points and 538.4 yards against Big 12 foes this year.
West Virginia is 1-4 against the spread in its last 5 games overall. The Cyclones are 5-1 against the spread in their last 6 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. Iowa State is 14-5 against the spread in its last 19 games following a SU win of more than 20 points.