WVU Men’s Basketball Odds: Can Mountaineers Avoid Spiders’ Traps?

Posted By Derek Helling on December 13, 2020 - Last Updated on December 14, 2020

The 11th-ranked West Virginia University men’s basketball team might see its top opponent so far in the young 2020-21 season Sunday. So the opportunities for Mountaineer hoops betting are good for those who have faith in WVU’s ability to exterminate the 19th-ranked Richmond Spiders.

West Virginia opens the betting on Sunday morning as a 7.5-point favorite. Some statistics suggest that Richmond might make this a much closer game than the difference in the moneyline market denotes.

Here are the full odds for college hoops at WV sportsbooks:

What to know for Mountaineer hoops betting Sunday against Richmond

Sunday’s contest against Richmond will be the second true home game for WVU’s men’s team in 2020-21. It will be the second true road game for the Spiders, who come in at 4-0 overall. Richmond has won its past eight outright, too.

  • Game time: 1 p.m. ET
  • Location: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown
  • TV: ESPN

Both teams have already had to deal with the tumults of playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Richmond lost two games to cancellation this year already, while the Mountaineers’ game against Robert Morris went the same way this past Wednesday.

While both teams also come in at full strength, the Spiders may be better rested. Richmond last played on Wednesday while WVU hosted North Texas on Friday afternoon. West Virginia won that game 62-50.

The Spiders come in with an impressive win over then-10th ranked Kentucky on their résumé. By contrast, the Mountaineers’ best win so far is a comeback win over Georgetown. WVU did have a halftime lead on top-ranked Gonzaga as well.

While Richmond isn’t lighting up the scoreboard in terms of total points, it’s not because of inefficient offense. Five players averaging at least 10 minutes per game are also shooting over 50% from the field so far this season.

The Spiders are also recording assists on over 51% of their made baskets. What’s equally impressive, however, has been their defense.

Richmond has allowed 70 points in just one of its four contests so far. That’s partially because Richmond has allowed opponents to shoot just 41.9% from the floor and averages forcing 16 turnovers per contest.

The numbers make the Richmond spread tempting

For bettors looking for a reason why the Spiders are such an underdog on the moneyline, it’s a simple diagnosis. The Spider offense is largely an inside/mid-range game. They’ve attempted just 22 3-point shots through four games and for good reason, as Richmond is hitting them at just a 34.1% clip.

The Mountaineers are shooting the 3-ball even worse than the Spiders so far, so there’s little reason to expect a total in the 160s or higher. That also negates the Mountaineers’ hopes to knock Richmond off its game by forcing them to shoot from distance to keep up.

For WVU, covering the 7.5-point spread will come down to congesting cutting and passing lanes. West Virginia is much stronger on the boards by the numbers. Limiting the Spiders’ second-chance opportunities and shortening possessions that way will be crucial.

Sustaining that against such an efficient offense may prove difficult, especially as the game goes on. The Spiders have won the second halves of their past six road games, showing their ability to wear opponents down.

In setting the line around 145 points for the total in this game, oddsmakers basically expect the teams to replicate their past performances. The average total in Richmond’s four games sits at 145.3, while the same in the Mountaineers’ five games rests at 143.3.

WV sportsbooks have given the Spiders some credit for their success in narrowing the spread in this game from WVU’s average margin of victory of 9.4 points. If Richmond can execute on the offensive end at the capability it has shown, this game could be far tighter.

Photo by Kathleen Batten / The Associated Press
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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