The Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky (-10) are gearing up to welcome the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders to Houchens-Smith Stadium. This CUSA showdown will get going at 2:00 p.m. ET and you can watch the action live on ESPN+. These teams met last year with the final result being a 29-10 win for Middle Tennessee.
Betting Preview: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Middle Tennessee is playing the role of underdog and is currently getting 10 points in this CUSA matchup. The Blue Raiders are also receiving +290 moneyline odds while the Hilltoppers are -370. Oddsmakers have set the over/under (O/U) at 50.5 points, and if one school can create a bunch of points early, it’ll likely produce a nice in-game betting opportunity.
The disappointing Blue Raiders are down 7.0 units so far and 5-6 against the spread (ATS). The team has posted an O/U record of 8-3.
The Hilltoppers have been a nice surprise for moneyline bettors this season, gaining 3.2 units. They’re 8-3 ATS and have an O/U record of 5-6.
The Blue Raiders are only 4-7 straight up (SU), including 3-4 SU against CUSA opponents. The Hilltoppers are 7-4 SU overall and are also 5-2 SU in conference play.
The Blue Raiders hope to make it two in a row 38-17 victory over Old Dominion last week. The passing game was on point as Asher O’Hara completed 18 passes on 25 attempts for just 185 yards and two touchdowns. O’Hara (78 rushing yards on 14 attempts) also led the ground attack. Jimmy Marshall (five receptions, 69 yards, two TDs) and Ty Lee (five catches, 39 yards) handled the receiving duties in the win.
Western Kentucky is coming off of a lopsided 28-10 win over Southern Miss. The Hilltoppers defensive secondary allowed the Golden Eagles to air it out for 290 yards. Tim Jones was a force to be reckoned with, recording 159 yards on seven catches for Southern Miss. For Western Kentucky, Ty Storey completed 20-of-30 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Gaej Walker (84 rushing yards on 20 attempts) led the running game while Jahcour Pearson (seven receptions, 88 yards, one TD) and Lucky Jackson (seven catches, 36 yards) led the pass-catching corps in the win.
Middle Tennessee’s run the ball on 51.9 percent of its offensive possessions this year while Western Kentucky has an overall rush percentage of 49.3 percent. The Blue Raiders have produced 174.5 rush yards/game (including 199.7 per game against Conference USA opponents) and have 18 scores on the ground this year. The Hilltoppers are totaling 124.3 rush yards per game (92.9 in conference) and have 16 total rushing TDs.
If 2019 results can translate to this game, then it appears the Hilltoppers ought to have the more disruptive lines up front. Their offensive line has allowed only 16 sacks while the D-line has registered 22 sacks. The Blue Raiders offensive line has given up 18 sacks and their defense has sacked opposing QBs just nine times.
The Blue Raiders offensive scheme has logged 228.5 yards per contest through the air overall (225.1 per game versus conference opposition) and has 19 passing scores so far. The Hilltoppers have put up 247.2 pass yards per outing (260 against CUSA foes) and have 16 total pass TDs.
Defensively, Middle Tennessee has allowed opponents to rush for an average of 195.3 yards and pass for 262.7 yards per game. The Western Kentucky D has given up 191.4 yards per game to opposing passers and 134.8 yards per game on the ground. The Hilltoppers are giving up an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of just 5.68 to opponents, while the Blue Raiders have allowed a 7.33 ANY/A.
Offensively, O’Hara has amassed 1,955 passing yards this season, and has completed 168-of-269 attempts with 15 scores through the air and six interceptions. He has a 6.57 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number sits at 9.96 over the last two outings.
Ty Storey has completed 161-of-232 passes for 1,702 yards, nine TDs and five INTs for Western Kentucky. His ANY/A sits at 6.35 for the year and 8.03 across his past two games.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers NCAA Tip
SU Winner: Western Kentucky, ATS Winner: Western Kentucky, O/U: Under
- The Western Kentucky defense has created 22 sacks on the year while Middle Tennessee has just nine.
- Western Kentucky has lost eight fumbles this season while Middle Tennessee has let four get away.
- The Blue Raiders offense has created six pass plays of 40 or more yards, while the Hilltoppers have put up 12 such plays.
- The Middle Tennessee defense has allowed five pass plays of 40+ yards, while Western Kentucky has given up nine such plays.
- The Middle Tennessee offense has created 17 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while Western Kentucky has created nine such runs.
- The Blue Raiders defense has allowed 16 rushing plays of 20+ yards, while the Hilltoppers have given up nine such runs.
- The Over/Under for Western Kentucky’s last match was 51.5. The under cashed in the 28-10 victory over Southern Miss.
- Over its last three matchups, Western Kentucky is 2-1 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
- In its last three contests, Middle Tennessee is 1-2 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
- The O/U for Middle Tennessee’s last game was set at 47. The over cashed in the team’s 38-17 victory over Old Dominion.
- As a team, Middle Tennessee has averaged 5.1 yards per carry over its last three games and 4.1 over its last two.
- Western Kentucky has averaged 4.3 yards per carry over its last three outings and 4.9 over its last two.