While many sports fans around the country are anticipating the restart of professional sports, those in West Virginia have a different focus. The vast majority of them have one question on their minds: Will there be WVU football this season?
Of course, football has it easier than most other sports. With the new season not beginning until around September, both college football and the NFL have some time to figure everything out.
They also have the advantage of seeing how all of these other sports work once they get going again.
Several sports leagues have returned to their playing fields, such as:
- PGA Tour
- European soccer
Each has many safety protocols in place to protect against COVID-19, including no fans allowed at any games.
Both fans and WV sportsbooks are eager for the biggest leagues to get going. The NBA and NHL announced their plans going forward, but are still a ways out from starting.
On the other hand, Major League Baseball is still working out financial issues and appears like it might not have a season at all.
With the sports stoppage, sportsbook operators everywhere are feeling the negative effects. Since retail casinos were forced to close, the only wagers have been placed through the state’s online sports betting apps.
Revenue reports have been fairly light, but that is to be expected, since there isn’t much to put action down on.
As that starts to slowly change, the focus can transition to the fall and football season. Not only does the sport generate the most bets, but those in WV love betting on the hometown team.
Let’s examine the current state of college football and the chances of WVU playing this season.
College Football Betting
It can be argued that betting on college football is the second most popular sport in the US. Although there are fewer games than with other sports, sportsbooks see a lot of money every fall from collegiate football.
Unfortunately, this upcoming season isn’t guaranteed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA, conferences, and schools are working together to determine the best plan of action for this fall.
Their main goal is to allow their student-athletes to still play the game they love while doing so safely. Football seems to be more difficult than other sports because of some factors that can’t change, the most important being that teams consist of a lot of people. Unlike basketball where there’s around a 15-man roster, football teams, especially in college, can feature many more.
There is also the matter of how football is played. While golfers and baseball players can keep some distance between one another on the field, that’s impossible with football.
Regardless of the social distancing rules put in place, players are touching each other constantly with blocking and tackling on every play.
An additional concern is the risk these players are taking by participating. College players compete voluntarily and don’t receive the copious salaries that professionals do.
This leads to the next obstacle the NCAA might face. How can they put these student-athletes on the football field if there aren’t going to be any students at most college campuses this fall?
This issue could come down to individual schools and the conference’s discretions.
According to ESPN, American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said:
“If there are some students on campus but not the entire student body, our league would absolutely be inclined to play.”
As the season gets closer, a lot more details will be announced and each league’s plan will become clearer.
Betting On WVU Football
Fortunately for WVU, it plays in one of the most important conferences in college football. An idea floating around was that potentially only the Power 5 conferences would play football this fall.
- Big 12 Conference
- Pacific-12 Conference
- Southeastern Conference
- Big 10 Conference
- Atlantic Coast Conference
It also helps that basically everyone connected to WVU is in favor of there being football in Morgantown.
Head coach Neal Brown is entering his second season with the Mountaineers. Despite all of the hurdles teams will be forced to overcome, Brown told WVU Sports there will be football.
“We’re cautiously optimistic about playing the season on time. I’m sure it won’t be a normal fall. What we think about a normal fall Saturday, I’m not sure it will be that, but I’m hopeful that we are going to play. I think our league has done a nice job of not being reactive to what’s going on.”
WVU President Gordon Gee backed up his head coach’s sentiment. He is adamant that the Mountaineers will play this season.
During an interview with Charleston-Huntington CBS affiliate WOWK, Gee said, “We are going to play football in the fall. I really do believe that, even if I have to suit up. I’ve got my ankles taped up — I am ready to go in.”
After joking, Gee did get back to the issue at hand. He continued:
“I think that with everything, we’re going to do it based on what is safe. What is healthy for our fans, what is healthy for our student-athletes, but I do believe we are going to play football.”
With so many unknowns still up in the air, it’s difficult to say what college football will look like in 2020.
WVU Odds At WV Sportsbooks
Even with the season in limbo, WV sportsbooks offer odds for the upcoming year.
The Mountaineers are looking to improve upon their 5-7 mark in what should be a very difficult Big 12 Conference. As of now, WVU is scheduled to play its opener on Sept. 5 against Florida State.
Although some retail sportsbooks are not open quite yet, bettors can still get action down at any of the state’s online sportsbooks. They include:
Currently, on FanDuel, you can bet on the Mountaineers’ first game, as well as their odds to win the National Championship.
The following odds are available:
- WVU +6.5 (-110)
- Florida State -6.5 (-110)
To Win National Championship
- WVU +25000