WVU is 120-point underdog

Rcently, the Golden Nugget sports book in Las Vegas released early betting lines for 250 college football games it described as its Games of the Year.

West Virginia University is involved in eight of those games and if the Golden Nugget’s lines are accurate, it appears it is going to be a long season in Morgantown.

The Mountaineers are a double-digit underdog in six of those contests, including two home games. Oklahoma is a 17-point favorite over WVU in their Sept. 20 Big 12 meeting at Milan Puskar Stadium while Baylor is a 16-point choice on Oct. 18 in another league game in Morgantown.

The biggest point spread involving WVU is the season opener versus Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Classic on Aug. 30 in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. The Crimson Tide is favored by four touchdowns, 27 points to be exact.

Other point spreads involving West Virginia include the following Big 12 road games:

* Oct. 11, at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are favored by 10.

* Oct. 25, at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are favored by 19.

* Nov. 8, at Texas. The Longhorns are favored by 13.

* Nov. 29, at Iowa State. Neither team is favored in the regular season finale as bettors simply have to pick the winner.

West Virginia also is a 7-point underdog in its Nov. 20 home game versus Kansas State.

To recap, in the eight WVU games in which there are established betting lines, West Virginia never is favored and is an underdog by a combined 120 points.

There are no established lines on the home games against Towson, Kansas and TCU and the road game at Maryland. Since Towson is an FBS member, there won’t be a betting line on that game. As for the other three, WVU should be favored over Kansas, and an underdog versus Maryland as well as TCU.

Keep in mind the point spreads are not predictions of the outcome of the game. Rather, they are the Golden Nugget’s best guess at a number that will get half of those wagering on the game to take each side.

Why is this newsworthy? Because the odds makers know more than any of the talking heads on TV. After all, they are risking their money on the game. The experts can be wrong time after time -and quite often are -but still are billed as experts by their network or news organization.

Obviously, WVU goes into the season lightly regarded. That’s understandable after last year’s 4-8 debacle, which saw the Mountaineers lose six of their last seven games with only an overtime victory over TCU stopping that skid.

We’ve seen many West Virginia teams overachieve and we’ve witnessed just as many Mountaineer teams underachieve.

If you want to believe the former will happen you can point to a strong recruiting class and what appears to be a more experienced and stable coaching staff.

If you want to take the pessimistic view, the quarterback situation is a major concern.

For now, all we can do is speculate.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com