College football is just three months away from returning. While some might have their attention on other sports between now and then, it’s never too early to start looking at the available betting odds.
West Virginia sportsbooks recently posted the Week 1 odds for this upcoming season, including WVU football’s matchup with rival Pittsburgh.
Many schools schedule easier opponents for their opening week, but the Mountaineers consistently face quality opponents.
Aside from Eastern Kentucky in 2020, WVU doesn’t shy away from the competition. In previous recent first games, it played two other ACC teams, Tennessee, and the FCS runner-up that year (2019), James Madison.
That trend continues this season. Not only is the Backyard Brawl with Pitt the team’s best rivalry, but also, the Panthers are entering the campaign with high hopes. They finished 13th in the rankings at the end of last year and have a solid replacement for first-round pick Kenny Pickett.
WVU football vs. Pitt odds at WV sportsbooks
Certain bettors look to take advantage of early lines posted at sportsbooks. Currently, the odds vary by a decent amount depending on which operator you’re looking at.
This is more likely to happen with odds provided well ahead of time. Once the tilt approaches, WV sportsbooks will all feature similar odds.
At the moment, DraftKings WV Sportsbook shows the Mountaineers as seven-point underdogs against the Panthers. This is notably different than their odds at FanDuel WV, where bettors can take Pitt laying just -4.5 in the point spread.
WVU backers strictly using FanDuel should wait to place any action. Conversely, the +7 at DraftKings could be the best odds the Mountaineers receive for this game.
Of course, anything can happen between now and then, so waiting isn’t a bad option, either. Injuries are always a factor in football, in addition to any other unknowns over the next few months.
Unless you bet on a live line, there’s always some uncertainty about how the odds may shift.
Caesars Sportsbook WV is the only other operator in the Mountain State with odds available for WVU-Pitt. It is much closer to DraftKings, also showing WVU getting +7 in the spread.
While none of the books offer moneyline odds, we can estimate based on where they typically sit in that situation. For WVU +7, the moneyline is likely to land around +230, while Pitt’s odds to win the game outright are close to -300.
If it happens to swing down a few points to +4.5, respective moneylines would shift to about -200 for Pitt and +175 for visiting WVU.
Some sportsbooks list a game total, with it hovering near 55 points. Moneylines and additional operators will be available as the start of the season closes in.
Mountaineers vs. Panthers preview
Both WVU and Pitt are in somewhat similar situations as they enter this year. Each is replacing its starting quarterback from last season with a highly touted transfer.
The Mountaineers snagged former Bulldog JT Daniels, while Pitt welcomed Kedon Slovis, who played at USC.
Even though Slovis might have bigger shoes to fill, he’s shown plenty of skill in his collegiate career. The Steelers drafted Pittsburgh’s Pickett in the first round of the latest NFL draft.
Slovis participated in parts of the last three seasons with the Trojans, but injuries hinder his ability to rise in the ranks.
His best season came in 2019. The QB completed nearly 72% of attempts, passing for more than 3,500 yards. Slovis also had 30 touchdowns against just nine interceptions.
If he can stay upright for the entire year, then Pitt shouldn’t see much regression at the position.
The Mountaineers are in store for a potentially more sizable upgrade, with Daniels in Morgantown and Jarret Doege now at Western Kentucky.
Coincidentally, Daniels was on the USC roster in 2019 as well. Slovis’ performance likely played a role in Daniels’ transfer to Georgia following that season.
He threw just 34 passes the year before heading to Athens.
Similar to Slovis, Daniels has some experience under his belt and has shown signs of being a competent quarterback.
He owns a completion percentage of around 64% for his career. That includes his first year at USC, where he was at just 60% for the majority of his overall sample size (363 of 610 total attempts).
Some think Pitt features a better roster altogether; however, it just lost a key piece. Wide receiver and All-American Jordan Addison decided to take his talents to Los Angeles, where he’ll also put on the USC uniform.
Addison posted some incredible statistics a year ago on his way to winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award for top receiver. He hauled in 100 receptions for almost 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2021.
The WVU secondary is certainly grateful they won’t have to start the year across from him.
WVU football futures
With some time before the opening contest, many focus on the seasonlong futures available at WV sportsbooks.
WVU is tied for the 45th-best odds to win the National Championship, according to DraftKings. It’s available at +20000 to win this year’s title, along with others like Virginia Tech, Washington, and UCF.
A more realistic market for WVU fans is the option for the Big 12. While these odds aren’t great either, the conference is probably the weakest it’s been considering all the fluctuation at Oklahoma.
The online sportsbook shows the Mountaineers at +3000 to win the Big 12, ahead of only Texas Tech and Kansas.
Another option is the team’s win total for the season. Although most books don’t offer this yet, PointsBet WV Sportsbook does. It provides the Mountaineers’ total at 5.5 wins, with the over shown at +110, compared to the under with odds of -130.
The only other futures market to consider is which player will win the Heisman. Daniels is tied for the 27th-best odds to win the trophy at +7000, slightly behind Pitt’s Slovis at +4000.