College Football Preview: WVU Mountaineers And Marshall Thundering Herd

Posted on June 20, 2019

It may be two months until the WVU Mountaineers kick off the college football season, but bettors are already making predictions.

With sports betting in West Virginia now an option, many football fans are ready for some tailgating and looking ahead to the season.

New WV online sports betting apps will likely launch before football season starts.

The West Virginia Lottery already approved three online betting apps and at least one is expected to debut soon.

While those mobile sportsbooks haven’t come online yet, betting is live at these land-based sportsbooks:

There is still no word on when Mardi Gras Sportsbook or Wheeling Island Sportsbook will reopen. The sportsbooks closed after its owner Delaware North sued to get out of its gaming contract with its sports betting provider, Miomni.

Mountaineers looking to bounce back with a new coach

The Mountaineers are ranked 20th in the AP poll and fans are hoping that can lead to an even bigger finish.

After an 8-4 end to the 2018-19 season, the Mountaineers finished fourth in the Big 12 with a 6-3 conference record.

WVU welcomes a new play caller this season as the team gets a new coach in Neal Brown when Dana Holgorsen headed to Houston.

Quarterback Will Grier was taken in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.

Athlon Sports notes:

“Brown has a proven track record, winning 10 games in three consecutive seasons at Troy.  He’s hoping the question marks on the offensive line are answered. And he’s hoping defensive coordinator Vic Koenning can fix the ills of Mountaineer defenses past.”

WVU kicks off the season in Morgantown on Aug. 31 against James Madison. Bettors looking to place a few bucks on the team will note the futures for the Mountaineers winning the national championship:

  • +10000 (DraftKings NJ)
  • +12000 (FanDuel NJ)

The lines on Game 1 versus James Madison on Aug. 31 have not been released yet, but the Mountaineers should be a nice favorite over the FCS Dukes.

A couple of other interesting games on the schedule include:

  • Sept. 7 (at Missouri) – This may not be one of the SEC’s top flight programs (8-5 in 2018), but should offer an interesting matchup. The Tigers hope to improve on a fourth-place SEC East finish and will look for a nice start at home in this one.
  • Oct 5 (Texas) – The Longhorns had a bit of a revival in 2018, finishing third in the Big 12 (10-4). That was a spot ahead of WVU and this should be a big game. The Mountaineers won a 42-41 shootout in 2018.
  • Oct. 19 (at Oklahoma) – The road to a Big 12 title runs through Norman, and this could be a huge game against the Sooners. OU squeaked out a win last season, 59-54.

Marshall hopes to move up a spot

The Marshall Thundering Herd finished 9-4 in 2018, good for second in the Conference USA East division. The team will hope to build on that, which included a 38-20 bowl win over South Florida.

Quarterback Isaiah Green returns as does much of the offensive line and running backs Brenden Knox and Tyler King. On defense, things look a little tougher for head coach Doc Holliday.

About Marshall, Athlon Sports notes:

“Marshall loses a lot of experience from the interior of its front seven, so a team strength last year — stopping the run — could be an issue. New defensive coordinator Brad Lambert, the former head coach at Charlotte, brings a strong resume to his new job; last year, the 49ers ranked third in Conference USA in both total defense and rushing defense.

“Still, it could be a rough transition as so many unproven players are taking prominent roles.”

The Herd kicks off its season at home on Aug. 31 against the Virginia Military Institute. They should be a betting favorite in against FCS division Keydets.

A week later, Marshall travels to Boise State for a nationally televised non-conference game on Sept 6 on ESPN2. The Broncos finished 10-3 in 2018, and a win certainly would be a nice win to start the season.

In conference play, the Herd has a big conference matchup on Oct. 5 against Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Raiders won the CUSA East before falling to UAB in the championship game.

On Nov. 30, the Herd has another big matchup to close out the season against Florida International. Both teams finished 6-2 in the conference, but Marshall topped the Golden Panthers 28-25 during the season.

Teams to watch before heading to a WV sportsbook

As the season gets closer, bettors will be looking at some teams for futures wagering and some Week 1 value.

In January, Clemson won the national championship by defeating Alabama 44-16. The Crimson Tide and Clemson are again among the favorites to once again with the national champion of the 2019-20 season.

Here’s a look at some futures wagering for the national championship (Team, DraftKings’ Line, FanDuel’s Line):

  • Alabama +200 +230
  • Clemson +200 +195
  • Ohio State +700 +1200
  • Georgia +800 +850
  • Oklahoma +1200 +1600
  • Michigan +1600 +2200
  • Florida +2500 +3500
  • Texas +2500 +3000
  • LSU +2500 +5000
  • Auburn +2800 +6500
  • Notre Dame +3300 +5000
  • Oregon +4000 +5500
  • Penn State +4000 +10000
  • Michigan State +5000 +5000
  • Mississippi State +5000 +10000
  • Washington +5000 +5500
  • Texas A&M +5000 +16000
  • Miami Florida +8000 +5500

A look ahead to Week 1 action

Early season action doesn’t always bring the best matchups. However, there are several games on the Week 1 schedule that may draw some interest.

The Miami Hurricanes tangle with the Florida Gators on Aug 24. The Gators are a 7.5-point favorite and this should make for an interesting intrastate matchup.

Here’s a look at some of the other matchups to keep your eyes on. Here are the lines as of June 18, 2019:

  • Aug. 24: Miami +7.5 at Florida -7.5
  • Aug. 29: Utah -6 at BYU +6
  • Aug. 29: UCLA +3.5 at Cincinnati -3.5
  • Aug. 31: Ole Miss -6 at Mississippi +6
  • Aug. 31: South Carolina -7.5 at North Carolina +7.5
  • Aug. 31: Boise State +4 at Florida State -4
  • Aug. 31: Virginia Tech -2.5 at Boston College +2.5
  • Aug. 31: Oregon +2.5 at Auburn -2.5
  • Aug. 31: Virginia -2.5 at Pittsburgh +2.5
  • Aug. 31: Virginia Tech -2.5 at Boston College +2.5
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Sean Chaffin

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions. He is also the host of the True Gambling Stories podcast, available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn Radio, Spotify, Stitcher,,, and other platforms.

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