College football experts predicted that the West Virginia University football team would be quite good this season.
Now, West Virginia gambling operators are probably hoping the team is not actually that good.
Ever since the launch of sportsbooks in states like New Jersey, Mississippi, and obviously, West Virginia, stories have abounded about the regional bias that those books are seeing. Quite simply, people are betting on teams for sentimental reasons more frequently than they usually do.
And that has a chance to hurt the bottom line of WV sportsbooks.
Betting the other side works until it doesn’t
Sometimes, the homers get it right. Regardless of how West Virginia football was going to perform this season, many new bettors were always going to give them action.
The simple truth is that a state’s main university always bears name recognition for inhabitants of the state. Newly legal sports betting means that there will be upticks on games involving:
- WVU (and Marshall)
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State
- University of Delaware
Unfortunately for West Virginia’s sportsbooks, the WVU Mountaineers are not just good — they’re one of the best teams in the nation. As of this writing, the team hasn’t lost a game and sits atop the Big 12 conference.
So, what would a WVU championship mean for sportsbooks?
When the college football season began, oddsmakers generally set West Virginia’s futures line at +8000. In other words, the books figured there was an 80 to 1 chance that WVU would take the title.
Since then, the Mountaineers have notched five wins in a row. One of those wins came in an away game against ranked Texas Tech. The team has scored at least 35 points in every contest.
So, the Vegas oddsmakers have dropped the odds of a championship quite a bit, as low as 25 to 1 in Las Vegas.
The first bet in the state on WV to win the title came at +6000. We don’t know the current odds at the state’s two sportsbooks, but they are likely quite a bit lower.
It’s still a long shot that WVU would have to win the rest of its games. Their schedule includes games against top-ten teams Texas and Oklahoma. A national title would also include two wins in the College Football Playoffs (including one possible against defending champion Alabama).
However, if sportsbooks were forced to pay out on a WVU title, they could have quite a bit of liability. So, the sportsbooks at Hollywood Casino and The Greenbrier may be pulling for the Mountaineers to lose at some point this season — even this week against Iowa State.