The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (+3) will clash with the Ball State Cardinals (-3) at Scheumann Stadium. The afternoon game kicks off at 3:00 p.m. ET and fans can catch the action live on ESPN 3. These two programs met last year with the final outcome being a 33-21 win for Western Kentucky.
Betting Preview: Ball State Cardinals vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
In this Saturday game, Ball State is getting picked as the favorite and is currently giving up 3 points. The Hilltoppers are also receiving +135 moneyline odds while the Cardinals are -155. If one side can get out in front early it’ll create a nice betting opportunity in-game. Oddsmakers have placed the over/under (O/U) at 51.5 points.
The game’s total has swung higher after opening at 50. The original spread has yet to change.
The disappointing Hilltoppers are down 4.0 units so far and 2-1 against the spread (ATS). The team’s posted an Over-Under record of 1-2.
The Cardinals have gained 0.0 units this season. The team is 2-1 ATS and has an O/U record of 0-2.
The Hilltoppers are 0-3 straight up (SU) in 2018 while the Cardinals are 1-2 SU.
The Hilltoppers fell to Louisville 20-17 in a matchup where their defense allowed the Cardinals to run for 204 yards on 38 rush attempts, including two rush TDs. Malik Cunningham had a productive day for the Cardinals in that one with 129 rushing yards on 21 attempts. On the offense, the Hilltoppers completed 25-of-38 passes for 260 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Davis Shanley went 22-for-33 for 240 yards and one touchdown while Steven Duncan completed three-of-five for 20 yards and one interception. D’Andre Ferby (74 rushing yards on 16 attempts) and the signal-caller Shanley (eight yards on 11 carries, one TD) led the ground attack. Kyle Fourtenbary (five receptions, 34 yards, one TD) and Garland LaFrance (five catches, 20 yards) handled the receiving duties in the defeat.
One week ago, Indiana knocked off this Ball State crew by a score of 38-10. The Cards defense let the Hoosiers rush for 255 yards on 44 attempts, including four rush TDs. Stevie Scott had a good showing in the win, recording 114 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts for Indiana. For Ball State, Riley Neal completed 12-of-24 passes for 115 yards. James Gilbert (89 yards on 16 rush attempts, one TD) and the signal-caller Neal (35 yards on 10 carries) led the running game as Corey Lacanaria (four receptions, 40 yards) led the pass-catching attack in the loss.
Western Kentucky’s run the ball on 49.8 percent of its offensive possessions this year while Ball State has an overall rush percentage of 54.0 percent. The Hilltoppers have rushed for 111.3 yards per game and have just a single touchdown on the ground this year. The Cards are averaging 229.7 rushing yards per game and have four total rush TDs.
It seems like the Cards should own the edge in all aspects of the ground game, as their running backs has logged 5.1 yards per carry while the defense is allowing 4.4 yards per rush attempt to opponents. The Hilltoppers have rushed for 3.1 yards per carry while allowing 4.9 YPC to opponents.
The Hilltoppers offensive scheme has averaged 262.7 yards through the air overall and has four passing TD so far. The Cards have produced 219.7 pass yards per game and also have four total pass scores.
Western Kentucky should hold the upper hand when it comes to limiting the pass. The team’s let opponents rush for an average of 193.3 yards and throw for 175.7 yards per game. The Ball State D has allowed 205.3 yards per game to opposing passers and 182.0 yards per game on the ground. The Cards are giving up an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of only 4.69 to opponents, while the Hilltoppers have allowed a 5.70 ANY/A.
Passing-wise, Eckels has put up 514 yards on the year, and has connected on 57 percent of his 67 attempts with three passing scores and has yet to throw an interception. Eckels has a 7.12 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, including 7.77 over the last two games.
Riley Neal has completed 35-of-54 passes for 374 yards, two TDs and zero INTs for Ball State. His ANY/A stands at 6.98 for the year and 2.60 over his last two outings.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Ball State Cardinals Free Pick
SU Winner: Ball State, ATS Winner: Ball State, O/U: Under