Game: West Virginia vs. Tennessee
Date: Saturday, Sept. 21, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
I don’t think there’s any question that West Virginia is going to score points this year. Led by Heisman Trophy candidates QB Will Grier and WR David Sills, the Mountaineers are capable of lighting up the scoreboard any time they step out onto the field.
Can Tennessee hold them down? Not likely. The Vols had a decent pass defense last year, but those numbers are skewed by the fact that they were trailing in most of their games (something that happens when you go 4-8) and their opponents ran the ball the majority of the time in the second half. Throw in a few new starters in the secondary, and Tennessee will be hard-pressed to shut down Grier, Sills and company.
If the Mountaineers are going to put up a lot of points, it’s either West Virginia -10 or the Over for us here. Of these two options, I like the Over a whole lot more. That’s because I don’t have any confidence in WVU’s defence to get some stops, even against a pretty pedestrian Tennessee attack. We’re talking about a Mountaineers defence that ranked outside the top 90 in the nation last year in rushing yards, passing yards and total yards allowed. They may get better as the season goes along, but I’m not expecting a drastic turnaround in their season opener.
How will the fact that this game is being played on a neutral field affect things? Well, if history is any guide, it will only help our Over ticket. That’s because Tennessee has a long history of playing high-scoring games on neutral fields, including a 42-41 OT win over Georgia Tech in last year’s season opener in Atlanta. In fact, the Vols have gone Over in 9 straight neutral-field contests, whether it be regular season action or bowl season.
West Virginia vs. Tennessee College Football Betting Pick
The number is high on this total, but it should be. I’m on the Over 61.5 (-110 odds) as we look for all of these trends to continue in a nationally-televised shootout in Charlotte.