Odds are against WVU

Last year, several preseason magazines and online football prediction sites told us West Virginia University likely would win or at least play for the national championship.

We know how that turned out as the Mountaineers finished 7-6, including ending the season with a 38-14 loss to old rival Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl.

This year, those same magazines are as pessimistic about WVU as they were optimistic last year. One has the Mountaineers finishing eighth in the 10-member Big 12. Another has WVU next to last in the league.

But it’s not just the preseason magazines who are dissing West Virginia’s 2013 squad.

Recently, the Golden Nugget became the first Las Vegas casino to post odds on 248 college football games throughout 2013 it calls its Games of the Year. Eight of those games involve WVU and only in two is West Virginia considered the favorite.

West Virginia’s Sept. 7 game at Oklahoma, the team many are saying is the one to beat in the Big 12, has the Mountaineers a whopping 16-point underdog.

I can’t remember the last time West Virginia was getting that many points.

But that is just one of four games in which WVU is listed as a double-digit underdog.

Two of those games will take in Morgantown where Oklahoma State has been made an 11-point favorite for its visit on Sept. 28 and Texas is a 12-point choice for its Nov. 9 trip to Milan Puskar Stadium.

Meanwhile, TCU is a 10-point favorite for West Virginia’s Nov. 2 visit to Fort Worth.

In October road games, the Mountaineers are a 7-point underdog for the Oct. 5 clash at Baylor, while West Virginia is getting 9 points on Oct. 26, when it visits Kansas State.

That makes half-a-dozen contests in which WVU is picked to lose by a touchdown or more.

West Virginia is favored twice. The Mountaineers are a 2-point choice in their Sept. 21 visit to long-time rival Maryland, soon to become a member of the Big Ten.

West Virginia is a 7-point favorite for its Nov. 29 matchup against Iowa State, the final game of the regular season.

The four WVU games the Golden Nugget did not include are the Aug. 31 season opener vs. William & Mary, and the Sept. 14 contest versus Georgia State, both non-conference foes virtually everyone would expect WVU to beat, as well as its Big 12 games against Texas Tech on Oct. 19 and Kansas on Nov. 16. Of those four contests, three are in Morgantown, with the Kansas game the only one on the road.

So making a few relatively simple assumptions we can determine the Las Vegas odds makers -who are smarter than all of us -believe the Mountaineers will struggle to achieve a .500 season.

Just remember virtually every preseason call last year was wrong.

This year, WVU fans hope that happens again.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com