The No. 20 West Virginia Mountaineers are set to take on the No. 22 Virginia Tech Hokies on a neutral site to open the 2017 season. Kickoff is set for 7:30 EST on Sunday, Sept. 3rd at FedEX Field in Landover, Maryland. The game will be televised nationally on ABC.

Oddsmakers currently have the Hokies as a 5-point favorite with the total at 49 points. Early line movement is in favor of Va Tech and the Under. The line originally opened with the Hokies -3, while the total was at 55.5 points. Click here for more Week 1 betting odds.

Virginia Tech vs West Virginia Vegas Game Odds & Betting Predictions

The transition from long-time head coach Frank Beamer to Justin Fuente couldn’t have went any better for Hokies fans. Fuente stepped in and guided the program to a 10-4 record, which included a trip to the ACC title game and 35-24 bowl victory. Quite an improvement for a team that hadn’t posted a double-digit win campaign since 2011.

Fuente has his work cut out for him in 2017. The Hokies go from returning 15 starters in 2016 to only 12. That includes some big time losses on offense. Most notably starting QB Jerod Evans, who also led the team in rushing.

West Virginia is also coming off a 10-win season, as they finished up 10-3. The first time they reached double-digits since 2011, which also marked the first year under current head coach Dana Holgorsen. It was the first time the Mountaineers reached 10 or more wins since joining the Big 12.

Despite returning just 8 starters (5 offense, 3 defense) there’s a lot of people that like this team. Which is evident by their preseason ranking. A big reason for that is the addition of new starting QB Will Grier, who transferred here from Florida last season.

Vegas Free NCAAF Betting Pick: Virginia Tech -5

The key thing to note about the line movement, is the betting public is actually on the Mountaineers. That’s what is known a reverse line move, which tells us big time money is on the Hokies. My early lean here has to be with Virginia Tech to cover.

Click on the link for more free college football picks from our experts on staff.

While the Big 12 as a whole looks to be improved, I still think it’s the bottom feeder when it comes to ranking the Power 5 conferences. Let’s also not overlook how fortunate they were to get to 10 wins. They had 4 wins by 4-points or less, plus some other close calls that went their way.

You could argue the three best teams they faced were Oklahoma St, Oklahoma and Miami. They weren’t competitive in any of those matchups, losing all 3 by at least 17. That includes a 14-31 defeat to the Hurricanes in their Bowl.

I just think Grier is getting way to much respect given the circumstances. He’s not playing with the same talent that he was at Florida. At the same time, the Hokies figure to be even better on defense in 2017. They got 7 starters back from a unit that only gave up 22.8 ppg and 341 ypg.

I know there’s similar concerns with Virginia Tech’s offense, but Fuente has a track record of getting his offense to produce. I look for red-shirt freshman Joshua Jackson to have a much better year than a lot of people are expecting.

Let’s also not overlook the fact that West Virginia only has 3 starters back on defense that wasn’t as good as the 24.0 ppg they allowed. Not to mention they basically have a whole new front on defense. It was so bad they had to go out and bring in a bunch of Juco transfers to try and be competitive.

Mountaineers are a mere 6-15 ATS in their last 21 versus the ACC. They are also just 1-4 in their last 5 non-conference games and 0-4 in their last 4 on a neutral site.