The newest college basketball season is already here. The WVU Mountaineers begin their 2021 campaign on Tuesday night with a home game against Oakland.
This also means that college basketball betting in West Virginia is back.
Last year ended prematurely, as head coach Bob Huggins and his squad didn’t qualify for the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers fell in the second round to 11th-seeded Syracuse.
Despite the disappointing finish, the season was mostly successful for WVU. It went 18-9 over the course of the regular season and earned a No. 3 seed in the Big Dance.
As with most years, there are plenty of changes throughout the roster. With key players like Miles McBride and Derek Culver no longer in the locker room, others must step up.
The two led the Mountaineers in scoring a season ago, combining for more than 30 points per contest. Culver also was tops on the team in rebounds by a fairly wide margin.
Luckily, there are several players remaining who also had large roles, including senior guards Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil.
Let’s examine the WVU basketball futures odds at West Virginia sportsbooks and take a closer look at its first matchup with Oakland.
WVU Basketball 2021 Season Preview
Both Sherman and McNeil were consistent contributors last year, but they must elevate their play for WVU to have continued success.
Each averaged at least 24 minutes of floor time and should see those numbers increase.
Sherman finished third on the team in scoring, with more than 13 points per game, while McNeil was just behind him at around 12.
WVU fans should anticipate lots of three-point shooting from this team. These two guards made more shots from beyond the arc than anyone else and should see additional opportunities with fewer shooters available.
A new face to keep an eye on is another senior, Malik Curry. He transferred from Old Dominion, where he averaged nearly 16 points per tilt. He led the Monarchs in scoring in each of the past two seasons.
Curry showed that he can do even more, as well. He also led his team in assists and steals.
Someone else WVU fans will recognize is forward Jalen Bridges. The sophomore is looking to build upon a quality freshman year.
Bridges logged over 18 minutes per game and showed his potential on the offensive end.
While he obviously didn’t shoot as much as the team’s leaders, he shot at a very efficient rate. Bridges hit almost 50% of his attempts from the floor and was second on the roster in three-point percentage only to McBride.
The sizable wing shot 41% from deep in accounting for the fourth-most triples on WVU.
Another promising young player is Isaiah Cottrell. He got hurt in late December; however, he displayed some offensive skill in his limited minutes.
Cottrell should appear in Tuesday’s starting lineup, along with Bridges, Sherman and McNeil.
The only real question mark surrounds the point guard position, where senior Kedrian Johnson got the start in the Mountaineers’ exhibition.
Johnson played in 26 games last season but saw only about seven minutes per contest. He’ll likely begin the year as the starter and potentially split time with Curry, along with a few others at the point.
Betting On The Big 12 Conference
An issue WVU faces every year is the very difficult Big 12 Conference. The season’s first AP Top 25 features three members inside of the top 10, with No. 3 Kansas, No. 5 Texas and No. 8 Baylor.
The Mountaineers weren’t listed in the AP rankings, but they did receive 18 votes in the Coaches Poll, putting them as 29th overall.
According to WV sportsbooks, they have the fifth-best odds to win the conference this season.
At DraftKings WV, the Mountaineers are available at +1200 to take the Big 12. They’re behind the top three teams mentioned, in addition to Texas Tech.
The online sportsbook shows the following odds before the season begins:
- Kansas +175
- Texas +240
- Baylor +500
- Texas Tech +800
- WVU +1200
- Oklahoma State +1600
- Oklahoma +2500
- TCU +8000
- Iowa State +15000
- Kansas State +15000
The Mountaineers can certainly contend within the conference, but it would take a special season for them to come out on top.
Kansas, Texas and Baylor are currently in a different tier of schools that have an opportunity to win the title.
WVU is a long shot at +5000 to hoist the trophy in April. DraftKings shows Texas (+1500), Kansas (+1600) and Baylor (+2200) well ahead of it.
Big 12 winner odds in WV (updated)
Of course, this is college basketball, and literally anything can happen in March Madness. It seems that every year, a team gets hot down the stretch and manages to make a deep tournament run.
WVU owns odds of +1200 to reach the Final Four. Texas has the sixth-best odds to do so at DraftKings at +425.
The Longhorns are followed in the Big 12 by KU at +450 and Baylor with odds of +500.
Although the Mountaineers aren’t the favorite, they can most likely punch another ticket to the tournament this year. ESPN’s bracket expert Joe Lunardi projects them as a No. 9 seed in a preseason edition of his first tournament breakdown.
WVU Basketball Vs. Oakland Odds
Bettors in the Mountain State can wager on all of the futures odds, as well as WVU’s opening game.
It battles the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Tuesday at the WVU Coliseum. This should be a good time for Huggins to see what this team has and how he can begin rotating his players.
It shouldn’t be the most stressful outing for his side, as the Mountaineers are favored by -17.5 at Caesars WV.
They’re available at -1700 on the moneyline, compared to Oakland at +900.
Game totals are somewhat tricky at the beginning of the year and in games with massive point spreads. Caesars’ total sits at 152.5 right now.
Besides the standard odds, the online sportsbook also includes a super boost for the opener. It’s giving odds of +100 for the Mountaineers to get a victory and for both teams to score at least 146 points.
This looks like a solid deal considering the normal odds for the game. The maximum bet for this market is $25.