Sports bettors in West Virginia and across the country have been waiting months for this weekend. It will mark the official return of football season with two full days of games on both Saturday and Sunday.
The college football season enters its second full week with both WV programs coming off opening-week victories. The WVU Mountaineers will travel west to take on the Missouri Tigers, who are coming off a surprising early-season defeat.
Marshall will also be facing a stiff test in the Boise State Broncos. After trailing by a good margin last week, Boise knocked off Florida State in its first game of the year.
Following an action-packed Saturday NFL betting season kicks off in full on Sunday, Sept. 8. Twenty-six teams take the field on Sunday for Week 1 as the NFL enters its 100th season.
The return of online sports betting in WV
Besides there being plenty of great football to watch all weekend, the WV sports betting market should see a major rise in action. While college football is king in the Mountain State, the NFL still is the top dog in terms of gambling figures.
Last week, both FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook launched in WV, becoming the first two online platforms offered since March. Gamblers in the state now have two high-quality options right on their cell phones.
West Virginia Lottery Director John Myers commented via email to PlayWV.com about how the sportsbooks fared during the weekend marking the return of college football and online sports betting.
“The total handle was up with the start of the football season, as projected, and we expect the mobile app play to grow in future weeks.”
According to the Lottery, the “unaudited” numbers show the Mountain State will receive $64,925.64 in tax from retail sports betting and $2,503.68 in tax from mobile app betting through Saturday.
That makes a total tax for the week of $67,429.32. We know the tax is 10% of revenue, making the revenue for the week nearly $675,000.
While we’ll have to wait for the official numbers to see the overall handle, we know DraftKings accepted 20,000 bets. Looking at the numbers, it would seem West Virginia bettors came out as winners.
Let’s take a deeper look at all of the local football taking place this weekend and how college football bettors should approach the massive slate of games.
WVU vs. Missouri
- WVU +14 (-110)
- Moneyline: +400
- Missouri -14 (-110)
- Moneyline: -560
- Over 62.5 (-110)
- Under 62.5 (-110)
Both college teams in WV are hoping their opening week success can carry over into this weekend. That will be a tough task for both WVU and Marshall, though.
The Mountaineers escaped their first game with a win thanks to new quarterback Austin Kendall and a solid performance from the defense. WVU was able to come back from a halftime deficit to beat James Madison 20-13 in Morgantown.
While the offense struggled most of the day, Kendall threw two second-half touchdown passes en route to his first win as a Mountaineer.
Unfortunately, things don’t get any easier this week. WVU will travel to Missouri for a noon start on Saturday.
Despite losing to Wyoming in Week 1, the Tigers are a much more difficult opponent than the FCS team it just faced. Missouri is a significant favorite to beat WVU.
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the 14-point spread is spot on for the game. It says that the Mountaineers only have a 19% chance of winning this matchup.
If the Mountaineers are going to keep it close, they are going to need a much better showing from the offensive unit. Scoring 20 points is not going to cut it against Missouri or any of the Big 12 Conference.
WVU’s running game could drastically help the cause. The team only rushed for 34 yards on 24 attempts last week.
In spite of winning the game, WVU was outplayed by JMU for large portions of the opening game. This doesn’t bode well for the first real test of the season, on the road for coach Neal Brown and his young team.
It would be surprising if WVU wins, or even cover the spread this week.
Marshall vs. Boise State
- Marshall +11.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: +360
- Boise State -11.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: -480
- Over 56 (-110)
- Under 56 (-110)
The Thundering Herd have a similar scenario in their Week 2 game. After an easier week against an FCS team, Marshall will be on the road facing a good opponent in Boise State Friday night.
Unlike WVU, Marshall was very impressive in its opener. Although it was facing a less talented side in the Virginia Military Institute, Marshall led for the duration of the game and won comfortably 56-17.
The Thundering Herd were led by quarterback Isaiah Green and his four touchdown passes. They also recorded an incredible 280 rushing yards.
While this was a good sign, it’s unlikely that the offense will have this much success against a very good Boise State team. The Broncos enter this game on a high note after overcoming an 18-point deficit in taking down Florida State.
The win catapulted Boise into both the AP and Coaches Poll as the 24th ranked college football team in the nation.
Even though Marshall should be competitive in this game, it will be very difficult to leave with a win. Boise is a solid team all around and will have a major home-field advantage under the Friday night lights.
It might be unlikely for the Herd to win, but they can certainly cover the spread by staying within 10 points. If the offense can find a groove as they did a week ago, Marshall and the points could be a good bet.
The opening week of the NFL season is always a fun time. Everyone’s fan base is excited with the optimism a new year brings.
This season is no different, especially for some of the organizations local to the WV region. While the Pittsburgh Steelers have their eyes on the Super Bowl, the Cleveland Browns are stealing all of the headlines this summer.
Pittsburgh opens its season as underdogs against a familiar foe in Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The defending Super Bowl champs are looking to put together another run with their ageless quarterback.
The Browns, on the other hand, start the year as favorites against the Tennessee Titans. A lot of roster changes have folks in Cleveland excited about the team’s potential resurgence in 2019.
Other local sides include the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals. Even though expectations are a little lower in these cities, you never quite know what can happen over the course of an NFL season.
The Redskins are sizable underdogs against their NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles. Carson Wentz returns as the Eagles’ signal-caller in his attempt to lead Philly back to the playoffs.
Cincinnati is in a similar position receiving a bunch of points from the Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson and coach Pete Carroll are always a team to watch in the NFC.
According to DraftKings, here are the following odds for all of the local NFL action:
Cleveland Browns vs. Tennessee Titans
- CLE -5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: -240
- TEN +5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: +195
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots
- PIT +5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: +190
- NE -5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: -235
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles
- WAS +9.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: +325
- PHI -9.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: -420
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Seattle Seahawks
- CIN +9 (-110)
- Moneyline: +320
- SEA -9 (-110)
- Moneyline: -420