After plenty of offseason talk and speculation, the Mountaineers will finally be able to let their play do the talking. The team’s fall camp opens next week on Aug. 2.
The 2019 campaign is definitely going to be an interesting one. WVU has a lot of new faces on the roster, including at head coach where Neal Brown will be taking over in his first season.
It will be a significant change for the Mountaineers after playing under coach Dana Holgorsen for the last eight years. He has moved on to take the head coaching position at Houston.
The other biggest change will be at signal-caller. WVU will feature a new quarterback this year as well since the talented Will Grier was drafted to the NFL.
Even though the Mountaineers are coming off a reasonably successful season, they ended 2018 on a very sour note. They lost their last three games, including the Camping World Bowl to Syracuse.
The tough finish along with so many changes have WV sportsbooks skeptical of how this upcoming season will go. Most have the Mountaineers win total for 2019 set at five games.
Regardless of the preseason rankings, sports betting in West Virginia should be thriving with action during the college football season. It’s possible that with WVU’s mediocre outlook, the team will have multiple weeks of being a sizable underdog. This could mean quality paydays for some bettors in the Mountain State.
Let’s take a look at the upcoming season for WVU and what Mountaineer fans should know heading into 2019.
Who will start at quarterback?
The most important question heading into fall camp is who will start at quarterback for the Mountaineers.
It appeared that Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall would take over, however, both Jack Allison and Trey Lowe are being considered heading into August.
Allison, who transferred from Miami a season ago, actually started the bowl game last year for WVU when Grier decided not to play. He was average at best, throwing for 277 yards and an interception on 17-35 passing.
Kendall has shown some flashes of brilliance while at Oklahoma, but he struggled to see the field very often. He was behind guys like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, both of whom were drafted first overall in the last two NFL drafts.
Last season, Kendall finished with a passer rating above 150, but only attempted 17 passes. He completed 12 of them for 122 yards and one touchdown.
Coach Brown admitted he’s not sure which direction the team is going in as far as picking a starting quarterback. According to Tulsa World, he said:
“It’s wide-open. We went through spring practice and basically split the reps with the three guys — Jack Allison, Austin Kendall, Trey Lowe — and carried that competition into the summer and into fall camp.”
Sometimes having options at quarterback isn’t such a bad thing in college. It doesn’t typically work in the NFL, but a lot of college programs go through entire seasons mixing it up at the position.
Brown is hoping that he won’t have to do that. He’s looking for someone to take control of the starting spot and not let it go. Brown continued:
“I really think with these quarterback competitions, it’s not really the coach that’s choosing them; it’s the guy that separates himself. I really feel like we’re in a position where one of the three quarterbacks is going to separate himself from the competition after a scrimmage or two in fall camp.”
This quarterback battle will be exciting to keep an eye on for the duration of the summer.
Even while losing their leading offensive lineman, Yodny Cajuste, in the third-round, WVU heads into the new season with reasons to be excited about their line.
Both Colton McKivitz and Josh Sills were recently named to the Outland Trophy Watch List, which was announced by the Football Writers Association of America. The Outland Trophy is awarded to the nation’s best interior lineman in college football.
McKivitz has the most starts under his belt of any returning player on the WVU roster. He has 35 starts to his name and was the only Mountaineer given 2019 preseason All-Big 12 honors.
Sills returns to his guard position where he started all 12 games a year ago. He made the All-Big 12 Second Team in 2018.
Both players will have a massive role in how the Mountaineer’s offense performs this year. Providing time for inexperienced quarterbacks can make a world of difference.
WVU’s offense may be able to pick up where it left off last season. The key is to give their quarterback protection and create running lanes for the veteran backs on the roster.
Betting on the Mountaineers at WV sportsbooks
Currently, there are three active retail-based sportsbooks available to accept wagers on WVU football. These include:
Although there is still no WV online sportsbook yet, there is still hope that one will hit the market in time for the start of college football.
Three online operators have been approved in the state:
Unfortunately, there is more rumor than fact when it comes to when online betting in WV will return.
According to DraftKings in New Jersey, the Mountaineers have the following odds for the 2019 season:
- Over 5 (-110)
- Under 5 (-110)
Big 12 Champ
- WVU +2500
- WVU +50000