Florida Atlantic Owls at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: NCAA Football Free Pick

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The Florida Atlantic Owls (+3) are making a trip north to face the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Houchens-Smith Stadium. This pivotal CUSA game gets underway at 4:00 p.m. ET and spectators can tune in to the action on ESPN+.

Betting Preview: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Florida Atlantic Owls

In this Saturday Conference USA matchup, Western Kentucky is getting picked as the favorite and is currently giving up 3 points. The Owls are also receiving +135 moneyline odds while the Hilltoppers are -155. If one team can catch a lucky break early it’ll generate a reasonable live betting scenario. Vegas has determined the over/under (O/U) to be 48 points.

Odds have shifted a little from where they initially opened. The opening line was -3 and the game’s over/under was set originally at 47.5.

Both of these teams have rewarded gamblers this year as the Owls have gained 1.1 units while the Hilltoppers are ahead 1.9 units.

The Owls have gone 5-3 straight up (SU), including 3-1 SU against CUSA opponents. The Hilltoppers are 5-3 SU overall and are also 4-1 SU in conference play.

When these two programs met last year, Florida Atlantic emerged victorious by a final score of 34-15.

The Owls are trying to keep things going after a solid 41-3 victory over Old Dominion last week. The defense did its part in the win, keeping the Monarchs to just 134 passing yards and 70 rushing yards. Eric Kumah had a productive day for the Monarchs in that one with 99 yards on 10 catches. On the offensive side, the Owls completed 25-of-35 passes for 271 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Chris Robison went 17-for-24 for 208 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while Nick Tronti completed seven-of-10 for 57 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Nick Tronti (only 23 rushing yards on eight attempts) provided the running attack while Deangelo Antoine (nine receptions, 69 yards) and Harrison Bryant (eight catches, 92 yards, one TD) handled the receiving duties in the win.

Western Kentucky narrowly lost 26-23 to Marshall. The defensive unit allowed the Thundering Herd to kill the clock by rushing for 171 yards on 34 attempts, along with one rushing TD. Broc Thompson had a solid showing in the win for Marshall, accounting for 91 yards on three catches. For Western Kentucky, Ty Storey completed 31-of-43 passes for 292 yards and one interception. Gaej Walker (102 yards on 12 rush attempts, two TDs) and the signal-caller Storey (seven yards on 10 carries, one TD) spearheaded the running attack while Lucky Jackson (16 receptions, 168 yards) and Jahcour Pearson (six catches, 69 yards) led the pass-catching attack in the loss.

Florida Atlantic has 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 Owls have rushed for 133.3 yards per game (including 163.8 per game against Conference USA opponents) and have 17 touchdowns on the ground this year. The Hilltoppers are totaling 113 rushing yards per game (90.4 in conference) and have 10 total rush TDs.

The Owls offensive scheme has averaged 281.9 yards in the air overall (279.8 per game versus conference opposition) and has 16 passing TDs so far. The Hilltoppers have produced 236.9 pass yards per game (241 against CUSA competition) and have 11 total pass scores.

On the defensive side of the ball, Florida Atlantic has allowed 151.3 rush yards and 246.8 pass yards per game. The Western Kentucky D has allowed 183.6 yards per game to opposing passers and 117.9 yards per game to opposing runners. Both teams allow similar adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) to opponents, as the Owls have given up an ANY/A of 6.08 to opposing QBs, while the Hilltoppers are yielding an ANY/A of 6.02.

Offensively, Robison has amassed 1,769 passing yards on the year. He’s connected on 65 percent of his 232 attempts with 15 scores through the air and only three interceptions. He has a 7.46 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, including 6.74 over the last two games.

Ty Storey has connected on 88-of-125 passes for 814 yards, three TDs and two INTs for Western Kentucky. His ANY/A stands at 5.43 for the season and 6.46 over his last two games.

Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers NCAA Prediction

SU Winner: Western Kentucky, ATS Winner: Western Kentucky, O/U: Over

Team Betting Trends

  • The Owls offense has registered seven pass plays of 40 yards or more, while the Hilltoppers have accounted for six such plays.
  • Both defenses have allowed six pass plays of 40 or more yards. The Florida Atlantic defense has given up 19 pass plays of 30+ yards while Western Kentucky has given up 13 such plays.
  • The Florida Atlantic offense has created 15 rushing plays of 20+ yards, while Western Kentucky has created five such runs.
  • The Owls defense has allowed 15 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while the Hilltoppers have given up three such runs.
  • The Florida Atlantic defensive unit has sacked opposing quarterbacks 23 times this season. Western Kentucky has recorded just 16 sacks.
  • Florida Atlantic has averaged 3.9 yards per carry over its past three outings and 3.2 over its last two.
  • Western Kentucky has averaged 3.8 yards per carry over its last three contests and 3.3 over its past two.
  • Over its last three matchups, Western Kentucky is 3-0 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • The Over/Under for Florida Atlantic’s last game going into it was 51.5. The under cashed in the team’s 41-3 victory over Old Dominion.
  • Over its last three matches, Florida Atlantic is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • The Over/Under for Western Kentucky’s last match going into it was 45. The over cashed in the 26-23 defeat to Marshall.
  • Florida Atlantic has won six of its last seven games SU, with a five-point loss to Marshall on October 18th representing the only defeat over that stretch.