College football season is just a bit over a week away and West Virginia sports bettors are ready. The WVU Mountaineers and Marshall Thundering Herd open the season against on Aug. 31. Both WV football teams have been hard at work ironing out the kinks and getting ready to take the field.
Here’s a look at both teams as they head into their first game.
WVU football finally found its quarterback
The WVU football team opens the season at home against James Madison, an FCS team. Bookmakers are making WVU a 7-point favorite, according to the DraftKings online sportsbook.
One big question for WVU has been who will replace Will Grier at quarterback?
Well, WVU finally found its quarterback. Coach Neal Brown announced on Tuesday that Austin Kendall, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma, will take the snaps in Morgantown this season. The junior backed up Kyler Murray last season at OU.
This will be Kendall’s first career and Brown realizes he’s had limited on-field experience.
Brown told Rivals.com about the North Carolina native.
“You need some bullets flying at you and the more reps he’s gotten, he’s improved. He’s won the starting quarterback job but he hasn’t won one game.”
Futures betting on WVU football
Last season, the Mountaineers performed well overall for bettors. The team finished season 6-4-2 against the spread according to VegasInsider.com.
After an 8-4 finish in 2018-19, the Mountaineers finished fourth in the Big 12 with a 6-3 conference record. In the Big 12 preseason poll, the team was picked to finish eighth with Oklahoma (first) and Texas (second) earning the top spots.
New head coach Neal Brown hopes to move the Mountaineers well above that prediction. Unfortunately, the books agree with the poll.
- National championship – +10000 (DraftKings) and +12000 (FanDuel)
- Big 12 championship – +4000 (DraftKings) and
Marshall brings big expectations into the season
Head coach Doc Holliday brings plenty of veterans back from last year’s 9-4 season. The Thundering Herd took second in the Conference USA East and finished with a 38-20 bowl win over South Florida.
Holliday is hoping to build on that. This season, Marshall was picked as the top team in the east in the Conference USA preseason media poll. Pollsters tabbed North Texas as the top team in the west division.
?: Announcing the 2019 #CUSAFB Preseason Poll as voted on by the media! Where did your team end up? ?
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) July 16, 2019
For Marshall, quarterback Isaiah Green returns as well as much of the offensive line and running backs Brenden Knox and Tyler King.
Holliday spoke to HerdZone.com about the team.
“We have a lot of really good kids and really great players. I tell our kids all of the time: Potential gets you beat; production wins games.
“All these expectations and everything that’s out there – that’s all great. But we got to go to work every day and turn all that potential into production. If we do that, we’ve got a chance.”
The Herd kicks off its season at home on Aug. 31 against an FCS school, the Virginia Military Institute. While point spreads weren’t yet available for the matchup, DraftKings and FanDuel are offering futures wagering on the Herd.
Futures betting on Marshall football
Obviously, the Herd’s chances at a national championship title are slim, but there is hope for the Marshall in their conference. There is a huge discrepancy in the national championship future line between the two books, but it is unlikely to get any action. So, if you are feeling it, you might want to take advantage.
- National championship – +500000 (DraftKings). +50000 (FanDuel)
- Conference USA championship – +550 (DraftKings), +500 (FanDuel)
At the DraftKings book, North Texas earned odds of +450 to win the conference. Florida Atlantic (+400) and Southern Miss (+500) also earned lower odds than the Herd.
While no odds are available yet, the Herd could be a nice favorite over the Keydets. Bettors hope the team’s record against the spread improves, which was 5-8 last season according to TeamRankings.com.
Online sports betting on college football in WV
The season is around the corner and there are plenty of betting opportunities. Hopefully, all West Virginians will have a chance to get in on the action.
Recent news reports indicate that mobile sports betting in West Virginia will return via DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook may start next week. That remains to be seen, but it would be just in time for football season.
The West Virginia Lottery spoke to WV MetroNews about the return on online sports betting:
“Testing is completed on one and ongoing on another. I don’t have an official roll-out date yet.”
Until then, the legal sports betting options can be found at the three land-based casinos with active sportsbooks: