As the summer continues, college football betting inches closer. The beginning of the football year is a very exciting time for both fans of the sport and for legal sports betting in West Virginia.
Although the gambling action may not be at its peak right now, the football season is always among the most wagered on sports periods. Both the NFL and college football tend to bring plenty of seasoned and casual bettors to their sportsbook.
The anticipation is no different in the Mountain State, as WV sportsbooks gear up for what should be another incredible season.
As always, the local college powerhouses in the state are getting the most attention. A lot of locals love placing bets on their West Virginia Mountaineers, as well as the Marshall Thundering Herd.
Both teams are coming off promising years in 2018 but may face some challenges this year.
WV bettors will hopefully be able to place wagers through betting apps by the time the new season kicks off. The state has been without a mobile betting platform since March.
Three online sportsbooks have been approved by the West Virginia Lottery. They include:
It would be amazing if all three launch by the end of August, but that seems unlikely. The WV betting market would absolutely settle for just one of them.
Outside of the West Virginia online casino and sports betting options, there are still three casinos with active sportsbooks available in the state:
- Hollywood Casino Sportsbook
- Mountaineer Sportsbook
- The FanDuel Sportsbook at The Greenbrier
Wheeling Island Sportsbook and Mardi Gras Casino Sportsbook are still not accepting wagers, though. It’s possible this could change by the fall as well.
The Mountaineers are coming off a very successful 2018 campaign that saw the team finish 8-4 and tied for third in the Big 12 Conference. They finished the season ranked 20th in the AP poll, but do not appear on the in the top 25 going into the 2019-20 season.
Despite the quality year overall, WV ended the season on a sour note. The Mountaineers lost their final three games, including the Camping World Bowl to Syracuse.
WV had been ranked as high as 9th before its poor finish.
Things won’t get easier for the boys from Morgantown as they head into the season with a new coach and quarterback.
Former coach Dana Holgorsen left WV for Houston this offseason, while quarterback Will Grier was selected with the 100th overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in this year’s NFL draft.
It would be tough for any program to recover from losing its coach and quarterback, but especially when it’s the caliber of both Holgorsen and Grier.
The show must go on, however, and WV is hoping it has the new pieces in place for a smooth transition. Coach Neal Brown will lead the Mountaineers this year with Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall set to take over as signal-caller.
The offense might not be the issue for the Mountaineers, though. After safety Kenny Robinson decided to transfer late, the team returns just four starters on defense. This could prove troublesome in the often high-scoring affairs in the Big 12.
WV opens the year at home on Aug. 31 against James Madison. This game may be the only dress rehearsal the Mountaineers get before facing some stiff competition.
Here are some other key games on the schedule:
Oct. 5 – Texas
The Longhorns are ranked in this season’s preseason top 10 because of a tremendous finish to 2018. This contest will be a good early test for WV to see where it stacks up against one of the best in the conference.
Oct. 19 – at Oklahoma
The Mountaineers will probably be the biggest underdog all season when it travels to play Oklahoma a few weeks later. The Sooners have been at the head of the class of the Big 12 for years and don’t intend on falling off with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts at quarterback. This will be a big upset if WV can escape with a victory.
Nov. 23 – Oklahoma State
A late-season battle with the Cowboys may have a lot to say about how this year went for WV. The game could have bowl implications for both teams.
Marshall Thundering Herd
The other big WV school to keep an eye on is the Marshall Thundering Herd. They also are looking to build off a promising 2018.
Marshall ended the year 9-4 overall, finishing second in the Conference USA East Division. The team only trailed Middle Tennessee and UAB in the conference standings overall.
Unlike the Mountaineers, Marshall won its bowl game when it defeated South Florida in late December. The Herd is also returning 13 starters from last year, which should help significantly.
The most important player coming back for another season is quarterback Isaiah Green. He led Marshall a year ago with over 2,200 yards passing and 15 touchdowns on an offense that scored more than 27 points per game.
The Thundering Herd start the year at home in WV as well, playing against the VMI Keydets on Aug. 31.
Here are some other key dates on Marshall’s schedule this year:
Sept. 6 – at Boise State
An early road test in the second week of the season will tell fans a lot about how this year might go. If Marshall can knock off the preseason-ranked Boise squad on its blue turf, the Herd could be in for another exciting season.
Oct. 5 – at Middle Tennessee
Last year’s ten-point defeat to Middle Tennessee is all that stood between Marshall and the Conference USA Championship Game. The early-October matchup will determine a lot in the east division.
WV sports betting on college football
Here are the odds on DraftKings New Jersey for each team to win its conference:
- West Virginia +1800
- Conference favorite – Oklahoma -155
- Marshall +500
- Conference favorite – Florida Atlantic +400
DraftKings also has odds on each WV team to win the 2019 National Championship:
- West Virginia +12500
- Marshall +50000
Here are the favorites to take home the title:
- Clemson +200
- Alabama +225
- Georgia +800
- Ohio State +1200
- Michigan +1600
- Oklahoma +1600