WVU Football: Why the Mountaineers shouldn’t worry about Vegas

MORGANTOWN, WV - DECEMBER 03: Skyler Howard /

With the release of early Vegas lines for week one matchups, should WVU football fans be concerned at opening up 4.5 point underdogs to Virginia Tech?

With Virginia Tech opening up as 4.5 point favorites over WVU football for the Sept. 3rd season opener, I have to admit that I’m somewhat baffled at what the bookmakers may be looking at. Is there reason to worry? Rarely do they cause me to check the internet to see if the coaching staff turned in their notices but this latest line makes me question their logic.

Four and a half points are huge for a game that should be a scratch at best.  Given all the optimism surrounding this dynamic West Virginia team. Here are a few points Mountaineer fans should think about if you’re starting to worry about the Vegas snub.

Landover, Md, the site of the epic kickoff to the season, has not been kind to the Hokies. Tech is 0-2 at FedEx Field while the Mountaineers have yet to lose a game there. Both losses the Hokies suffered have been at a point margin of 3 points (2010-Boise State/30-33 and 2010-Cincinnati/24-27) so even if you favored the goofy looking turkey, it shouldn’t be by 4.5 points.

If you want to look at season openers, the Mountaineers also hold a significant advantage as well. Since 2010 (at Dana Holgorson’s arrival to Morgantown), WVU is 6-1 in season openers with their only loss coming to an Alabama team that played for the National Championship and the Hokies are 4-3 during the same period. Sure they’ve played some tough games early but they don’t seem able to rise to the occasion early in the season.

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During the same 7 seasons, the Mountaineers average score in openers was 35.8 points to the Hokies 31.4 showing, yet again, that WVU hold the advantage. Are you seeing a trend here? The defense has shown to be even stronger in week 1 allowing just over 15 points in seven seasons while the Hokies are at 23 points. Choose either side of the ball because both show the Mountaineers start their season much more prepared than the kickin’ chickens.

If you’re not a person who relies on numbers, look at other reasons for optimism. The Hokies are struggling with many of the same issues as the Mountaineers; replacing some key players on both sides of the ball. If you compare replacements though, it can’t be argued that WVU holds that advantage with players like Will Grier, David Sills (emerging as a favorite target), and JuCo transfer Kelby Wickline shoring up the line.

Because of their returning strength on defense, I guess you can give a slight advantage to Tech but I’m willing to bet Holgorson and Jake Spavital will be more than prepared. Let’s also not forget that Tony Gibson also has the ability to really confuse first year quarterbacks, which Tech will be fielding.

No matter how you want to approach this inaugural matchup of past rivals, I can’t see where Vegas can come up with a 4.5 point advantage to the Hokies; even if I take off my gold and blue blinders.

In addition, I like to think that WVU will use this snub from the gambling world as extra motivation to prove the critics wrong. After all, we seem to enjoy playing as underdogs and use it as motivation. No team looks to be picked to lose a game but it does add motivation to a team that’s always trying to gain national recognition.

Next: 30 Best Games in WVU Football History

I say beating a team you aren’t expected to beat; on a Sunday night on national television is a great place to start.

Let’s Go….Mountaineers!