Online sportsbooks are here to stay in West Virginia.
After the revenue figures were released by the WV Lottery for the week of mobile sports betting’s return, it’s clear that bettors in the Mountain State are fans of the new online sports betting apps.
Following months of sluggish betting action, the WV sports betting market is flush once again. WV sportsbooks accepted more than $4 million in wagers for the week and these figures are set to jump even higher now with NFL betting back in the fold.
Even though there were just college football games available two weeks ago, WV residents made their mark on both new online betting apps:
The two biggest games listed at each sportsbook are the WVU and Marshall football matchups. Local bettors love putting a little action on both the Mountaineers and Thundering Herd.
Of course, it was the only football available at the time, but WV bettors showed how popular betting on the collegiate game is, too. According to PlayWV, college football wagers accounted for 61% of the total betting handle for DraftKings’ opening week.
While WVU and Marshall left that weekend victorious, neither did so this past Saturday. The Mountaineers got upended by the Missouri Tigers on the road, while the Herd lost a nail biter to a ranked Boise State team.
Both WV teams were sizable underdogs a week ago, but things should be a little easier heading into the third game of 2019. WV sportsbooks say WVU is a slight dog against NC State, whereas Marshall is favored to beat Ohio University by a few points.
Let’s take a look at both WV schools’ upcoming games and how each team will do in its third regular-season battle.
WVU vs. NC State
- WVU +7 (-110)
- NC State -7 (-110)
The start of the year has not been amazing for first-year Mountaineer coach Neal Brown. After barely surviving the opener against FCS James Madison, WVU got steamrolled last weekend in its visit to Missouri.
The Mountaineers were around 14-point underdogs, but they didn’t even make that close. Austin Kendall and the offense struggled again en route to a 38-7 road loss.
This week, WVU turns its attention to another quality out-of-conference opponent in the NC State Wolfpack. They enter this matchup with a 2-0 record after dismantling Western Carolina this past weekend.
While this game should prove to be another difficult one, at least WVU is back on its home turf. The team will need every screaming fan it can get in order to try to knock off another quality foe.
NC State hasn’t had the hardest beginning to its schedule, however, its defense has managed to limit opposing offenses to just a total of six points through two games. This could pose a problem for a WVU offense that’s clearly still finding its way.
Through two weeks, the Mountaineers are averaging around just 200 yards passing and 32 yards rushing per game. That’s not going to cut it against any college competition, beyond the demanding Big 12 Conference.
T have a chance of winning this week, WVU will need to start the game stronger than previously. In the opener, JMU jumped out to a 7-0 lead and the Mountaineers only managed three first-half points.
Last week, coach Brown’s onside kick to start the game failed and things didn’t get better. WVU’s first three possessions ended with a three-and-out followed by two Kendall interceptions.
With the production this offense is currently generating, the Mountaineers cannot afford to get behind early because they will be chasing for the remainder of the game.
According to ESPN, coach Brown was not too pleased with his squad’s showing at Missouri. He said:
“We were completely outplayed and outcoached in all phases. This is key, and I want you all to listen to me on this: I’m very disappointed in our performance, but I’m not discouraged. I want that to be heard loud and clear. I’m not discouraged.”
Brown can’t be discouraged yet, as there is a long season left to be played in Morgantown.
If WVU wants an opportunity to win, it needs to establish the running game on offense and take some pressure off of its quarterback.
The offense needs to control the clock a little more with a balanced attack. If it does, then it will have more success and the defense can actually get some rest between possessions.
It definitely won’t be easy, but WVU has a chance to cover and win this week’s game.
Marshall vs. Ohio
- Marshall -5.5 (-110)
- Ohio +5.5 (-110)
The Marshall Thundering Herd enter their third game of the year with a completely different mindset than WVU. After blowing out the Virginia Military Institute in their first game, Marshall gave a brilliant road effort in a 7-point defeat against ranked Boise State.
Although the Herd didn’t come away with a win, there was plenty to like about how they played. Following a 47-yard touchdown pass to open the third quarter, the Boise fans thought the game was going to open up for the home side.
Marshall wasn’t discouraged, though, and played a hard-fought game the remainder of the way, coming up just short. The Herd failed to score in the second half and lost 14-7.
This week, Marshall returns home to its friendly confines in Huntington. The home fans await what should be a great matchup with their Herd and the Ohio Bobcats.
Ohio will travel to WV with the same 1-1 record. It took down Rhode Island in its first game. Then followed that up with a 10-point loss at the hands of Pittsburgh.
Even though the Bobcats have looked decent thus far, their defense is not the best. Through two games, they’ve surrendered more than 425 yards on average.
Marshall quarterback Isaiah Green and his rushing attack should be able to find a lot of open running lanes on Saturday night. Green was unable to get the ground game going last week, but he added 46 yards on eight carries in the opener.
If he’s able to use his feet how he’d like to, then Marshall should be able to handle Ohio at home. The Herd should only need to score a few times, as their defense has been stout to begin the year. The defensive unit is only giving up less than 16 points per contest so far.
Ohio is a solid team, but there’s no reason why Marshall shouldn’t take care of business on the field and at the sportsbook this weekend.