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Marshall Thundering Herd vs. West Virginia Mountaineers Betting Odds from BetOnline

College Football Betting Spread: West Virginia -23 (-110) Marshall +23 (-110)

Moneyline: West Virginia (-1,600) Marshall (+1,100)

Total: 55.5

The Marshall Thundering Herd and the West Virginia Mountaineers are intrastate rivals. Marshall should have beaten the Mountaineers last season, but they blew a 15 point lead with less than six minutes left. West Virginia went on to win the game 24-21 in overtime. Dana Holgorsen is the new head coach at West Virginia, and the expectations are high for this team. Expect both teams to be highly motivated for this one.

Marshall

Marshall had a disappointing 5-7 season in 2010. Doc Holliday is hoping the fact that his team won four of their last five games last year will help them carry momentum into this season. It was the offense that held back the Thundering Herd a year ago. Brian Anderson was inconsistent at quarterback, and the running game was non-existent. Marshall’s leading rusher last year only picked up 345 yards the entire season! Anderson won’t be under center this year. Instead it will be freshman Rakeem Cato. With an inexperienced quarterback and a poor offensive line, this offense will likely struggle again in 2011. The defense should be pretty good again this season. Vinnie Curry is the anchor of a very strong defensive line. Omar Brown and DJ Hunter are the leaders in the secondary. Marshall will need its defense to keep them in games this season.

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West Virginia

Geno Smith improved quite a bit as the season moved along last year. Many believe Smith will flourish in Holgorsen’s offensive scheme. Noel Devine graduated, so West Virginia will some youngsters to step up in the backfield. Tavon Austin is a terrific play maker on the outside, and the Mountaineers will likely try to get him the ball often this year. Expect a lot of quick high percentage passes from this offense. The Mountaineers defense has finished in the top 11 nationally in total defense in three of the last four years. Only four starters return from last year’s defense. Tavon Austin will lead a strong secondary, but the front seven will certainly be far less experienced this year. Overall, I would expect the offense to be better than last year, but the defense will likely take a step back.

Marshall vs. West Virginia Free Pick: Under 55.5

I definitely expect Holgorsen to help the Mountaineers offense, but this Marshall defense is better than most people realize. At the same time, the Marshall offense is extremely weak. West Virginia’s defense will likely struggle against top offenses this year, but Marshall isn’t even close to that level. The under is 3-0 in the last 3 meetings between these two, and I like the under again this year.

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