The Texas Longhorns will try to secure a bowl spot when they visit the West Virginia Mountaineers. Kickoff is set for noon EST on Saturday, November 18 at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, West Virginia. The game can be seen nationally on ESPN.

Oddsmakers view the Mountaineers as 3.5-point favorites at home. The game has an over/under of 55.5 points. Click here for a full list of Week 12 betting odds and links to game previews.

Texas vs West Virginia Betting Preview & Vegas Game Odds

The Longhorns have played much better than most 5-5 teams in Tom Herman’s first season in Austin. However, Texas still needs to get one more win to solidify a bowl game. The Longhorns cruised to victory last week against Kansas after jumping out to a big lead. But they’ll face a much stiffer challenge this week as they hit the road against West Virginia.

The Mountaineers have already qualified for a bowl game at 7-3. With a 5-2 record in conference play, West Virginia is still alive for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. Unfortunately, the Mountaineers lose head-to-head tiebreakers with the other 2-loss teams in the Big 12, so they’ll need to win their last two games and get a little help to stay alive for a conference championship.

Free NCAAF Betting Prediction: Texas +3.5

My early lean in this game is toward Texas. The Longhorns are far better than their 5-5 record indicates. They are not that far away from being the second or third best team in the Big 12 given the strides they’ve made since the start of the season to this point. They have a real shot to win in Morgantown, and I’ll gladly take the Longhorns and the points.

This game offers a fascinating matchup between the West Virginia offense and the Texas defense. Behind quarterback Will Grier, the Mountaineers are one of the top passing teams in the country. They challenge teams down the field with several big-play threats at wide receiver, enabling them to strike quickly at times. Even against some of the better defenses in the Big 12, they managed to put up impressive numbers offensively.

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Of course, Texas is one of the better defensive teams in the Big 12. The Longhorns have held almost every Big 12 team they’ve played under their season average in points. Having already played teams like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and USC, the Longhorns will be confident that they can slow down West Virginia’s potent offense.

To be fair, West Virginia has shown the past couple of weeks that they can win games without their offense putting up outrageous numbers. The Mountaineers beat Iowa State 20-16 a couple weeks ago and Kansas State 28-23 last week. The West Virginia defense played a big part in both of those wins. The Mountaineers are playing better on that side of the ball than most people have come to expect from them.

More importantly, the Texas offense isn’t exactly a juggernaut. The Longhorns have been serviceable on that side of the ball in most games. But with Shane Buechele at quarterback, they’re not creating enough explosive plays, which is something they’ll need to do against the West Virginia defense.

Despite some concerns about the Texas offense, I’m confident in the Texas defense getting the better of the West Virginia offense. I expect the Longhorns to force West Virginia into another close game with scores in the teens or twenties. I can see this being a field goal game, so even if the Mountaineers win, it won’t be enough to cover the spread.