West Virginia 2018 Betting Preview: Defense Will Hold Back Will Grier, Offense
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Will Grier
West Virginia 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +13000
- To win the Big 12: +825
- To reach Big 12 title game: +305
- To make Playoff: Yes +1250, No -2375
- To make NY6 Bowl: Yes +500, No -900
- Win Total: 7.5 (over +105, under -135)
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West Virginia 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 5.6
Bet To Watch
West Virginia Under 7.5 Wins (-135)
Quarterback Will Grier’s final season will be must-see-TV every Saturday. The returning offensive pieces include a stable of running backs, two heralded offensive tackles and a wide receiver group that added more depth with an Alabama transfer. Receiver David Sills, who caught 18 touchdowns in 2017, is also back.
Only an injury can stop Will Grier from lighting up the scoreboard each week. Last season, he averaged 9.0 yards per attempt (No. 6 in the nation) and threw 34 TD passes and just 12 interceptions.
Will Grier's finger, Noooooo pic.twitter.com/aB3zSD63g4
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) November 18, 2017
While I’m awfully high on the offense, I think the defense will hold the Mountaineers back from competing for a Big 12 title. Two starting defensive linemen transferred in the offseason, while two other defenders suffered ACL injuries. And WVU already ranked 96th in defensive S&P+ last year. Defensive struggles might get Grier more drives per game, but that won’t necessarily translate to wins.
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Although they will get five conference home games, the Mountaineers have a rough November — with road trips to Texas and Oklahoma State and visits from TCU and Oklahoma.
I am personally betting West Virginia under 7.5 wins at -135. The losses on defense not only take out starters, but thin out the depth. That will hurt as the season progresses, especially for a brutal conference slate that peaks in difficulty in November. Even the lightest Big 12 teams will score at will on the Mountaineers. I simply can’t trust this defense to win eight games.
What else you need to know about West Virginia
I’ve cooled on the idea of Grier actually winning the Heisman. I wrote an article earlier this year about the parameters needed to win, and West Virginia’s defense may take Grier out of the running.
I’m also fading any West Virginia Big 12 championship talk, especially with a schedule that ends with Oklahoma. For West Virginia to win the Big 12 title, it would likely need to beat the Sooners on consecutive weekends.