College Football Predictions and Picks: West Virginia vs. Marshall Betting Odds
by Aaron Smith - 9/10/2010
ESPN will showcase the Thundering Herd of Marshall against the West Virginia Mountaineers this Friday evening. These two are in-state rivals, and you never know how a game like this is going to play out. Marshall was blown out by Ohio State in their season opener, and West Virginia shutout Coastal Carolina. It’s tough to take too much out of the first game, especially in a rivalry game like this one. These two have met each of the last four years, and West Virginia has won each contest by at least 17 points. This game will be played at Marshall, so the Mountaineers will face an uphill battle.
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College Football Predictions: The Offenses
The West Virginia Mountaineers aren’t nearly as experienced on offense at the skill positions as they have been in the last few years. Geno Smith is the starting quarterback, and he has quality tools. However, he has yet to be under any serious game pressure. The wide receivers are solid, but depth is a bit of a problem here. Jock Sanders is the best of the group, and Bradley Starks is a nice threat down the field. In the backfield, the Mountaineers are very strong with Noel Devine and Ryan Clarke. Devine is one of the fastest players in football, and Clarke is a great blocking and running fullback who will be a huge part of this team in 2010.
The Marshall Thundering Herd are led by quarterback Brian Anderson. He is now a senior, but he has struggled with inconsistency in his time as the signal caller for the team. In order for this squad to be successful against the best teams on their schedule, Anderson must do a better job taking care of the football. Marshall has a very nice offensive line, which did a solid job against the Buckeyes in Week 1. The Herd count on Martin Ward to get the job done out of the backfield, and Antavious Wilson is their big playmaker at the wide receiver spot.
The Mountaineers defense is much more experienced than their offense. West Virginia has a chance to be the best defensive unit in the Big East this year. Julian Miller is turning into a star at the defensive end position, and they are very strong up the middle with Scooter Berry anchoring the run defense. The back line of this West Virginia defense is full of experienced guys who get to the football and either force turnovers or deliver big hits. The depth of the Mountaineers on defense should help them stay fresh for all four quarters of each game.
The Thundering Herd are quite strong in their front seven this year. Linebacker Mario Harvey is one of the better linebackers in all of football and he can definitely deliver a big hit. Vinny Curry is a talented defensive end that helps out quite a bit stuffing the run as well as pressuring the quarterback. Kellen Harris is another solid linebacker who gets the job done, especially against the run. The secondary is the weakness of this Marshall team. Marshall is inexperienced in the defensive backfield, and they are without last year’s leader in DeQuan Bembry after he was kicked off the team in the offseason.
West Virginia vs. Marshall Betting Odds and Line Movement
Thus far there has been very little movement in the odds in this matchup. West Virginia opened as a 13-point road favorite, and that is where the number sits right now at most books. The total is currently listed at 47 points. The public seems to be spreading the money out quite evenly on this game.
West Virginia vs. Marshall Betting Trends
The Mountaineers are just 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games and 2-5 in their last seven September games. The Thundering Herd are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 nonconference matchups, and they are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 September contests. The ‘under’ is 5-1 in Marshall’s last six home games. The ‘over’ is 5-2 in West Virginia’s last seven against a Conference USA opponent.
College Football Predictions: West Virginia vs. Marshall Betting Picks
These rivalry games are always difficult to call, but I do think West Virginia’s experienced defense will make life very difficult for the Marshall offense. Marshall’s defense will likely bounce back this week as well, especially since West Virginia doesn’t have a strong passing attack. The ‘under’ appears to be the best play in this Friday night showcase.
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