West Virginia vs. Tennessee Spread Pick
West Virginia is drawing some hype this year in the Big 12 now that quarterback Will Grier is back from injury. That said, will the Mountaineers struggle to cover the spread on Saturday when they host a new-look Tennessee program at 3:30 p.m. ET?
3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, September 1, 2018
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
Public Betting Trends
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetNow.eu, the Mountaineers are 9.5-point favorites to beat the Volunteers. The total, meanwhile, sits at 61.5 points. As of this writing, 53% of the public betting tickets wagered on this matchup are on the Mountaineers.
Tennessee redshirt sophomore QB Jarrett Guarantano is listed as a co-starter for Saturday's tilt with Vest Virginia. Guarantano is listed at the top of the depth chart, but he get the co-starter designation with former Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst. Expect the redshirt sophomore to get the official start, but it does appear that the competition isn't over, and that Chryst should get some snaps against the Mountaineers as well. As ineffective as he was as a sophomore, Guarantano offers significantly more upside at the position.
West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia freshman WR Dillon Spalding is expected to miss the upcoming season due to an ankle injury. The exact nature of Spalding's ankle injury is not known, but Mountaineers HC Dana Holgorsen passed along to reporters earlier this month that the 6-foot-1, 216-pounder required surgery. West Virginia should be able to paper over the loss of the three-star freshman easily enough. They are loaded to the gills with receiving talent.
The Volunteers are 2-7 against the spread in their last nine games overall.
The Mountaineers are 1-5-1 against the number in their last seven games overall.
Under new head coach Jeremy Pruitt, the Vols want to pound the ball on the ground in efforts to protect their quarterback and their defense. That strategy works well against West Virginia, which struggled against opponents that could run the ball a year ago because it kept their dynamic offense off the field. While the Mountaineers should emerge victorious on the scoreboard, I believe the Vols will cash at the betting window.
College Football Week 1 Prediction: Tennessee Volunteers +9.5