College Football Week 1 Predictions: Marshall vs. (11) West Virginia

Geno Smith is one of the top QBs in the nation and will lead the 11th ranked Mountaineers agains the Thundering Herd of Marshall
Marshall vs. (11) West Virginia
Game Time: Saturday, Sept 1st, Noon EST
TV: None
Betting Line: WVU -25

Betting Odds from Bovada

Marshall

Marshall returns eight starters from last year’s offensive unit.

Keep an eye on Aaron Dobson, a versatile and athletic senior, whose hands are superb, as evidenced by his amazing one handed TD catch against East Carolina last year. It’s really worth checking out if you haven’t seen it yet. Dobson considered entering the NFL Draft, but opted to spend one more year at Marshall.

Sophomore QB Rakeem Cato’s life will be made a lot easier by Dobson, and he already brings some experience as a QB. Last year, he started nine games and threw for 15 TDs.

Marshall also returns two star running backs in Travon Van and Tron Martinez. They combined for 1,200 yards last year.

Penn State’s debacle brought in two transfers from the vaunted program: WR Devon Smith and CB Derrick Thomas.

Marshall has a new kicker and a new punter, and receiver Andre Booker ranked 20th in punt returns last year, making Marshall a dangerous team on special teams action.

While Marshall isn’t a horrible team, college football oddsmakers are likely accurate in predicting a blowout against an 11th ranked team.

West Virginia

WVU looked great in the Orange Bowl in their 70-33 win over Clemson, and their offense will be stellar once again this year, after ranking 15th in total yardage last year with 469.5 per game. Dana Holgorson is the major reason why and they return seven starters from last year’s squad. QB Geno Smith is one of the best in the nation and Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey will be excellent targets for him.

Smith was the MVP of the Orange Bowl and threw for 4,385 yards last year. Austin ranked 8th in catches per game with 7.8 and set a single season school record in both receptions and yardage. The only issues may be the OL, and it hurts that Dustin Garrison, last year’s leading rusher tore his ACL in late December. He led the team in TDs last year with 12.

Defensively, the DL is a concern. They lost two effective defensive ends and they are going to lack pop in the lineup. Their LBs are experienced, but have yet to become big play type players and they need to fill four spots defensively in the new system employed by Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson, the two Defensive coordinators.

Betting Trends:

Marshall:

The Thundering Herd are 4-1 STS in their last five non conference games and 17-35-2 ATS in their last 54 road games. Under is 4-1 in last 5 non-conf games, and the under is 7-3 in their last 10 road games. Under is 13-6 in last 19 games overall.

West Virginia

The Mountaineers are 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 home games. Under is 6-1 in last 7 vs Conference USA. Over is 5-1 in last 6 home games, and 8-3 Under in the last 11 non-conf games.

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