With two in-state D1 FBS football programs (WVU and Marshall), it’s no surprise that college football in West Virginia is a big deal. It’s also unsurprising that betting on college football stands to be big business as more sportsbooks join the WV market.
A 2019 study by the American Gaming Association shows college football is the third most popular sport to wager on. Coming in behind the NFL (93%) and MLB (88%), 84% of those interested in sports betting want to bet on NCAA football.
It’s a good bet many of those want to bet with an online sportsbook or sports betting app.
College Football Betting in West Virginia
Currently, college football bettors in WV have two online sports betting choices:
Most college football fans and sports bettors in West Virginia root for one of two teams:
- West Virginia University Mountaineers
- Marshall Thundering Herd
West Virginia Mountaineers Football
The WVU Mountaineers are yet to win a football National Championship but there are few programs across the country who can match its storied history.
Dating back to Nov. 28, 1891 (they lost 72-0 on a converted cow pasture, for the record), the WVU football team has registered 752 total wins in program history as of the end of the 2018 season.
In fact, WVU has the most wins of any college football program yet to win a championship. With 82 winning seasons it’s also one of the most consistent college football programs ever.
Heading into the 2019 season with a new coach (Neal Brown) and a new starting quarterback (Austin Kendall) hopes were high for the Mountaineers to build on last year’s 4th-place finish in the Big 12.
Check on DraftKings or FanDuel for the current odds on WVU Mountaineers game; see our full WVU football page for more in-depth info on the program.
- Name: West Virginia Mountaineers
- Hometown: Morgantown, West Virginia
- Stadium: Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium (60,000)
- Surface: FieldTurf
- Conference: Big 12
- Division: Division 1 FBS
Marshall Thundering Herd Football
While not quite as storied as WVU, the Marshall Thundering Herd have had their share of success over the last century.
Also playing its first game in the 19th century (1895) Marshall has compiled an all-time win-loss record of 575-534-48. Not quite WVU territory, but still over .500.
Marshall does have an impressive 12-3 record in Bowl games and has claimed two Div. 1 FCS Championships, though.
Its most famous football export is wide receiver Randy Moss but quarterback Chad Pennington is also a Marshall product.
- Name: Marshall Thundering Herd
- Hometown: Huntington, West Virginia
- Stadium: Joan C. Edwards Stadium (Capacity 38,277)
- Surface: FieldTurf
- Conference: Conference USA
- Division: Division 1 FBS
Where to bet on college football WV
With no restrictions on betting on local NCAA teams in WV you can bet on WVU, Marshall or any other NCAA football team at one of the three active sportsbooks in WV:
Mardi Gras Sportsbook and Wheeling Island Sportsbook are still closed and there is no timeline for when betting will return. For online NCAA football betting, see the DraftKings or FanDuel reviews linked to above.
Whether live or online, you can bet on just about any NCAA football game with numerous options. For a specific game, most live sportsbooks have numbers that correspond with the team being wagered on. Simply make note of that number and relay that to the teller as well as the betting amount.
Bettors near the northern border also have the option to head into Pennsylvania. The Keystone state just launched three PA online sportsbooks that may offer appealing odds worth a short drive.
Online NCAA Football Betting WV
FanDuel is officially credited with bringing online sports betting back to West Virginia. It launched its online sportsbook and mobile sports betting app just days ahead of WVU’s first game of the 2019 CFB season.
Just two days after FanDuel went live, DraftKings went live with its popular online sportsbook and sports betting app. Now bettors have both access and choice when it comes to placing bets on college football.
For full reviews and bonuses for creating a new account at either online sportsbook, check our review pages here:
Is College Football Betting Legal in WV?
It is absolutely legal to bet on college football—and on in-state teams, West Virginia Mountaineers and Marshall Thundering Herd specifically—at licensed live and online sportsbooks in West Virginia.
While New Jersey has a regulation that prevents betting on in-state NCAA football teams, West Virginia has no clause restricting WV bettors.
WV college football bets aren’t restricted to just the Division 1 FBS teams either. You can also bet on dozens more local D1 FCS and D2 teams. Check the full college football lines at either DraftKings or FanDuel to see which WV football games you can place bets on each week.
How are College Football Lines Different from NFL Lines?
While college football lines and NFL lines are quite similar, and most of the basics bets are all the same, there are a couple of advantages to betting on NCAAF games over NFL games. These are:
- Huge range of games and odds
- Less information for oddsmakers to make accurate lines on every game
- More localized games and mismatches to exploit
- Softer lines overall
With hundreds of college teams (close to 800) that play across the US every week, you have a much wider slate of games and odds to pick from. Because of that huge range, oddsmakers are way less likely to access accurate information about each game.
In general, you’ll find:
- More mistakes by oddsmakers when setting the opening lines
- Softer lines that show profitable potential
The differences in programs that play in the top divisions (FBS/FCS) versus the lower tiers can create big mismatches and really large spreads. These can offer some opportunity for sharp NCAAF bettors.
With precise and exact information on each of the 32 NFL teams and all of their match-ups week-to-week, it’s much harder to get a unique edge betting on the NFL.
For more on NFL betting in WV, see our NFL Betting Guide.
College Football Bet Types
Placing a bet on a team isn’t that difficult, but there are a few things to consider. The point spread is the margin of victory determined by an oddsmaker for a certain game.
Sportsbooks use lines to create action on both teams in a contest. For a bettor to win, the favorite will have to win by more than the margin the oddsmakers set.
For instance, if Alabama is favored by 3.5 against Georgia, they must win by 4 points or more for a win. If Alabama only wins by 3, the team didn’t cover the spread and those who bet Georgia will cash tickets.
Point spreads may be posted in the following ways:
- Alabama -3.5 – This means the team is favored by 3.5 points, spotting the opposing team a 3.5-point lead. Bookmakers often use half-points to avoid a push. If the Crimson Tide win by 4 or more, the team has covered the spread.
- Georgia +3.5 – This means the Bulldogs are a 3.5-point underdog. If they lose by 3 points or less, a player would cash a ticket on them.
If the spread had been Alabama -3 and they win by exactly 3 points, the best would be a push. Bettors on both sides would receive their money back.
A sportsbook uses point spreads to the action on both sides. The idea is that wager on one team cover the bets on the other side. The sportsbook takes a percentage, called the vig or juice, on the total wagered, known as the handle.
Bettors can also make a parlay wager. This is a bet where a player selects more than one game outcome.
The payout will be higher based on the number of events, but if one part of the bet does not come through then the entire bet is a loss.
For example, a player betting a two-team parlay might bet $100 on Texas A&M as a 2.5-point favorite and Oklahoma as a 7-point favorite. Both teams would have to cover for the bet to be a winner.
A typical two-team parlay pays 2.6 to 1, so this better would win $260.
Point spread wagering is one of the most popular ways to bet on a game. Using the moneyline to bet is also very popular.
In a moneyline wager, a bettor simply has to pick the right team to win – the point spread doesn’t apply. However, payouts can be less depending on the odds.
The odds for these bets usually look like this:
- Texas -160 — This means you would have to wager $160 on the Longhorns to win $100.
- Penn State +160 — With this bet, you’d win $160 for a $100 bet if the team wins.
It’s important to note that these amounts aren’t required to place a bet. Lower amounts can certainly be bet, such as a $10 moneyline bet. However, listing these in $100 increments is an easy way for a book to display the payouts.
The over/under is an easy way to place a wager without picking a winner. This bet is based on the total number of points scored between two teams.
If the Sooners play the Longhorns, the over/under might be listed by a sports book as 55. Those who bet the over with a final score of 27-24 would lose as the score went “under” (27+24 = 51).
If the game ended at 34-27, “over” bettors would win as the total was 61. A score ending at 31-24 (55 points total) would bring a push and bettors would get their money back.
In a futures bet, a player wagers on some future event. That might be the eventual Big 10, SEC, or national champion.
Bettors typically receive bigger odds and can sweat a team throughout the season. Here are a few examples of how these bets look:
- Alabama +300 – A bettor would win $300 for every $100 wagered.
- Oklahoma +1600 – A $100 wager on the Sooners to win the national championship would bring a score of $1,600.
- Texas A&M +15000 – A $100 wager would win a bettor $15,000 (in essence, odds of 150-1).
Prop bets involve certain events or statistics during a game or over a season. Sportsbooks often offer several of these, especially during big games such as playoffs, bowl games, and more.
A few examples might be:
- The number of wins a team might achieve throughout the season
- Passing yards by a quarterback
- Rushing or receiving yards by certain players
FanDuel, for example, even offers a prop bet on whether Alabama and Clemson will meet in the 2020 national championship.
Online betting has certainly made live or “in game” betting much easier in recent years. Bettors can pick among adjusted betting lines and over/under totals throughout a game and interesting prop bets (eg. will the next score be a field goal or touchdown, etc) added by the linemakers.
This type of betting allows for more action and can keep players more immersed in a game. The same types of wagers available at the beginning of the game are now available throughout a matchup. In game betting is now one of the fastest growing types of wagering.
On DraftKings it’s called Flash Bet — you can look for it both online and in the app.
College football playoffs & bowl games
College football features 130 teams in what is known as the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
This is the highest level of college football and features traditional powers like Alabama, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame. Both WVU and Marshall are part of the FBS.
The top four ranked teams each year play in a playoff bracket in the postseason to determine a national champion. Teams that don’t qualify play in numerous traditional bowl games like the Cotton, Orange, and Rose bowls.
A playoff system has been in place since 2014 with all games aired on ESPN. A 13-member committee determines rankings and seedings for the College Football Playoffs.
Alabama and Clemson lead with the most national championships in that time with two each
Bowls, playoff, and championship games are popular with bettors and extend the college football season into January. They make for easy wagering as they are usually featured on national TV.
Breaking down the conferences
Most teams play in one of several conferences throughout different regions in the country. Some are considered deeper and more talented than others.
Teams usually play about 13 regular-season games with eight or nine of those coming in their conference. The non-conference games are usually played before matchups against conference foes.
Here’s a look at some of the top conferences in the country:
- Southeastern Conference (SEC) – This conference is considered by many to be the most powerful in the country. This group features big football programs like Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Florida, and LSU. The SEC mostly includes teams in the southeast but Texas A&M is also a member. The SEC produced several players drafted into the NFL each year.
- Big 10 – Another major conference, this one features traditional powers like Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Most teams are located in the Midwest.
- Big 12 – This name is a bit of a misnomer now as the conference now actually has only 10 teams. The conference includes major schools like Oklahoma and Texas, and of course, WVU.
- Pac-12 – This conference features teams mostly on the West Coast. It features major programs in California like USC, UCLA, Stanford, and Cal (UC-Berkley) as well as Arizona State, Washington, and others.
- Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) – This conference features teams mostly on the East Coast including Clemson, Florida State, Syracuse, North Carolina, and others.
There are several others conferences across the country including the Conference USA, which includes Marshall, and:
- Western Athletic Conference (WAC)
- American Athletic Conference (AAC)
- Mid-American Conference (MAC)
- Mountain West
- Sun Belt
Not all NCAA FBS teams actually play in a conference. Some programs simply schedule other teams and pay as an independent.
These schools may not benefit from winning a conference championship. Instead, they hope to get enough big wins to be ranked among the country’s best by the end of the season.
Notre Dame is the most well-known and well-regarded among these. But this group also includes:
- Brigham Young
- University of Massachusetts (UMass)
- New Mexico State
Things to consider when betting on NCAAF
Becoming a winning bettor on college football isn’t easy. Those who wish to take it seriously should develop a system of study and analysis.
Here are a few things to consider when booking those wagers this fall:
- Home and away – Teams tend to play better at home, or so the theory goes. Bookmakers traditionally give the home team 3 points. So if two teams are even, the home team will be a 3-point favorite.
- Trends – Many skilled handicappers find trends in teams. How do they fare against the spread? What about the last few matchups against a certain team on the road? There are numerous complexities and situations that can be considered when analyzing a game to bet?
- Situational matchups – Bettors may want to look at the value that might favor one team versus its opponent. It might include something like a strong versus a weaker offense. Maybe one offensive player has proven too much for other similarly-talented opponents.
- Injuries – No one likes to see players injured, but a team missing a key weapon could make for a ripe play. A talented player not on the field could hamper a team offensively or defensively.