While the Mountaineers’ run in March Madness was cut short, fans in Morgantown didn’t have to wait long to shift their attention to football.
The college football season is just a few months away, and Mountain State bettors can officially get their wagers in at West Virginia sportsbooks.
You’re able to bet on several futures, including the National Champion, conference winners and even next year’s Heisman.
The WVU football team is coming off a decent campaign in which it went 6-4 overall. This included a three-point victory over Army in the Liberty Bowl.
The Mountaineers made significant strides in head coach Neal Brown’s second year with the program. They finished 5-7 in his first season.
The emergence of quarterback Jarret Doege also had an incredible impact. Although his stats weren’t off the charts, he did plenty to help his team win.
Doege finished last year with over 2,500 passing yards, while completing about 64% of his attempts. He recorded 16 touchdowns against just four interceptions in 2020.
WVU will look to build on its momentum and accomplish even more this season. Its year gets underway this Saturday with the Gold-Blue Spring Game. The action begins at 1 p.m. at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, with about 25% attendance permitted.
WVU football preview
The Mountaineers finished last year right in the middle of the pack in the Big 12. They went 4-4 in the conference, which put them in sixth overall.
It was certainly an up-and-down season, but the team showed a lot of fight throughout.
Their best win came on Halloween at home. The Mountaineers took down No. 16 Kansas State by 27 points in their most impressive showing of the year. Both the offense and defense clicked that afternoon as they blew out the Wildcats.
One noticeable trend from a year ago was WVU’s struggles away from Milan Puskar. Despite the lack of fans during the majority of games, WVU was significantly better at home.
It went a perfect 5-0 in Morgantown; however, it lost every contest on the road.
Of course, the Mountaineers won their only neutral-site game in the bowl against Army.
If they want to take the next step up in class, winning on the road should be a point of emphasis this year. It isn’t easy, but the best teams find a way to get it done.
What should help is having some of the same players around, the most important being the quarterback.
Doege will be much more comfortable in his second season starting, and he’ll have lots of familiar faces around, too.
Senior running back Leddie Brown is one of them. He broke out last year and was a major factor in the offensive game plan.
Brown averaged over 5.1 yards per rush on his way to earning 1,000 yards on the ground. He also tallied 11 total touchdowns and more than 200 yards through the air.
Often, when the WVU offense wasn’t playing up to par, it was due in large part to its lack of a running game. Brown should again be one of the focuses of the WVU attack.
Doege’s top receiving target, Winston Wright Jr., is also back for this season. He led the team in both receptions and receiving yards a year ago. His 47 grabs were 16 more than anyone else on the roster.
College football odds at WV sportsbooks
Bringing back the core of the offense is huge for the Mountaineers. While their defense played spectacularly last season, you’ll always need to score points to win in the Big 12.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook WV, the Mountaineers feature the fifth-best odds to win the conference in 2021. They’re tied with TCU with odds of +2200 to stand atop the Big 12.
The online sportsbook shows the following odds for the favorites:
- Oklahoma -125
- Iowa State +250
- Texas +350
- Oklahoma State +700
DraftKings also has lots of other markets available for this upcoming college football season. Bettors can take action on whether or not WVU will qualify for the Big 12 title game.
Currently, DraftKings shows the Mountaineers listed at +800 to get there. They actually have better odds than TCU, and trail only OU, ISU, Texas and OSU on the sportsbook.
As far as the national scale goes, WVU is shown at +20000 to win this season’s National Championship. The online sportsbook provided the team the 33rd-best odds to accomplish this.
Although the Mountaineers probably aren’t in that conversation this year, the fact that they’re listed near the top 25 is telling.
The favorites to claim the crown are a lot of the usual suspects that make the playoff every year. DraftKings has the following odds in place right now to win the championship:
- Alabama +250
- Clemson +300
- Ohio State +400
- Georgia +700
- Oklahoma +800
Even without competing for a championship just yet, WVU can certainly put together a tremendous season. If it can turn a few heads, it’s likely that Doege and Brown will stand out.
Both players are listed on DraftKings under its players futures for the Heisman Trophy. These guys aren’t at the top of the list, but it is impressive that they’re available to take before the year begins.
Brown has about the 40th-best chance, with odds of +10000, whereas his quarterback is shown at +15000.
The Mountaineers’ regular season starts on Saturday, Sept. 4, at Maryland.