February 20 wasn’t even a month ago, but it might feel like a different season for Mountaineers men’s basketball fans right now. Based on the latest WVU vs. Morehead State odds, West Virginia sportsbooks seem to think Miles McBride and crew can find their winning ways again.
Feb. 20 was the last time the Mountaineers won a game against a team other than Kansas State or TCU. If West Virginia is going to progress in the 2021 men’s tournament, it will need to play more like the team that nearly defeated four ranked opponents in four games prior to that date.
The spread on WVU vs. Morehead State
WV sports betting apps like DraftKings Sportsbook WV have a generous 12.5-point spread for Friday’s 9:50 p.m. EST tip, with the Mountaineers as the favorite. There is little history between these two programs. As a matter of fact, Friday will be the first time these two teams have met in March Madness play.
The only time West Virginia has faced Morehead State in men’s hoops was Nov. 22, 2011. WVU won that game 83-48 at home. Thus, data from the Mountaineers’ recent Round of 64 NCAA Tournament games has more relevance.
West Virginia has won 10 of its last 16 Round of 64 games outright, by 14.0 points on average. In 12 of those 16 games, WVU was the higher seed. It won nine of those games by an average margin of 12.2 points.
Morehead State faced major-conference teams three times this season, dropping all three. Their average margin of defeat was 28.0 points. All of those contests were true road games.
Additionally, the last of those contests came on Dec. 21 for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament champions. The Eagles have won 19 of their last 20. Against mid-major teams this season, the Mountaineers went 7-1.
Three of those games took place in neutral venues. West Virginia won all of those games by an average margin of 8.67 points, although those were the Mountaineers’ first three contests of the 2020-21 season.
So, in deciding which way to bet the spread, bettors need to determine how much weight they give to recent form and how much they expect both teams to replicate their earlier performances in similar situations. Morehead State definitely enters this game with far more momentum than WVU. However, the track record leans heavily in West Virginia’s favor.
Sizing up the total for Friday night’s game
Currently, FanDuel Sportsbook WV has its total set at 138 points for this tilt. That’s a bit lower than the combined scoring averages of these two teams (146.1) but perhaps justified if you consider the Mountaineers’ recent form.
WVU put up just 69 points its last time out, which was the Big 12 Conference tournament quarterfinal loss to Oklahoma State. Again, using Feb. 20 as a benchmark for this program, West Virginia has failed to reach 80 points in three of the five games it has played since.
Prior to that date, the Mountaineer offense was humming. In the four games from Feb. 6 through Feb. 20, WVU put up an average of 86.75 points. The Eagles’ offense has been quite consistent throughout their season, not yet topping 90 points but rarely dipping below the mid-60s.
So again, on the total markets, bettors have to choose whether they see a return to form or a continued struggle for West Virginia. There’s one last thing to note, too. For whatever it’s worth, the only other time WVU was a 3-seed facing a 14, it suffered a 70-56 upset.