NCAA Football Free Betting Preview: Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Jose VasquezArticles, College Football, Football

The Marshall Thundering Herd (-7) and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are set to collide on the turf at Houchens-Smith Stadium. The matchup is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and fans can catch it live by tuning in to STAD.

Betting Preview: Marshall Thundering Herd at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

In this Saturday Conference USA game, Marshall is getting picked as the favorite and is currently giving up 7 points. If they are wanting to take the moneyline, bettors would currently need to put down $300 in order to win $100 back on the Thundering Herd (-300). The Hilltoppers are getting +220 moneyline odds. If one team can find paydirt in the early stages, it’ll likely result in a worthwhile betting opportunity in-game.

The opening line was originally set at 10 and early action has been leaning toward the Hilltoppers.

The Thundering Herd are 1-2 against the spread (ATS) and have gained 0.0 units so far. The team has posted an O/U record of 2-1.

The Hilltoppers have lost 2.6 units for moneyline bettors this season. They’re 3-1 ATS and have an O/U record of 1-3.

The Thundering Herd have gone 2-1 straight up (SU) and they haven’t faced any CUSA competition yet. The Hilltoppers are 1-3 SU overall and are also 0-0 SU in conference play.

The Thundering Herd lost to North Carolina State 37-20 in a thumping where the defense allowed the Wolfpack to pass for 377 yards while rushing for 125 yards and two scores. Kelvin Harmon had a good day for the opposition in that one with 150 yards on six catches. On the offense, Isaiah Green completed only 22 passes on 43 attempts for 270 yards, one score and two interceptions. Tyler King (just 30 yards on nine rushes) provided the ground attack in the loss while Davis (six receptions, 99 yards) and Marcel Williams (four catches, 87 yards, one TD) shared the receiving duties.

Western Kentucky just picked up a 28-20 win over Ball State. The defense let the Cardinals rush for 120 yards on 29 attempts, along with one rushing TD. Riley Miller was a bright spot in the loss for Ball State, posting 112 yards on eight catches. As a group, the Hilltoppers collectively completed 25-of-35 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns. Davis Shanley went 13-for-19 for 158 yards while Steven Duncan was 12-of-16 for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Joshua Samuel (91 rushing yards on 19 attempts, one TD) and Steven Duncan (55 yards on six carries) handled the ground game in the win while Lucky Jackson (eight receptions, 91 yards) and Mik’Quan Deane (five catches, 48 yards, two TDs) led the receiving attack.

Marshall’s run the ball on 42.5 percent of its offensive possessions this year while Western Kentucky has an overall rush percentage of 50.7 percent. The Thundering Herd have run for 104.7 yards per game and have four scores via handoffs this year. The Hilltoppers are totaling 131.5 rush yards per game and have three total rushing TDs.

If the numbers so far this season are any indication, then it’s looking like the Thundering Herd ought to have the more disruptive lines up front. Their offensive line has given up just 11 sacks while their D-line logged 32 sacks. The Hilltoppers offensive line has allowed 48 sacks and their defense has sacked opposing QBs on just 12 occasions.

The Thundering Herd offensive scheme has averaged 273.3 yards in the air overall and has six passing scores so far. The Hilltoppers have recorded 260.0 pass yards per outing and also have six total pass TDs.

Defensively, Marshall has allowed opponents to run for an average of 117.0 yards and throw for 260.7 yards per game. The Western Kentucky defense has allowed 203.0 yards per game to opposing passers and 175.0 yards per game to opposing runners. Both teams allow similar adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) to the opposition, as the Thundering Herd have given up an ANY/A of 6.09 to opposing QBs, while the Hilltoppers are yielding an ANY/A of 5.97.

Offensively, Green is up to 542 passing yards on the year. The signal-caller has completed 57 percent of his 80 attempts with three passing scores and two interceptions. He has a 6.00 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, including 5.83 over the last two outings.

Keion Davis, Marcel Williams and Tyre Brady have combined to account for 334 total yards and two touchdowns over the last two outings.

For the home team, Davis Shanley has managed to complete 15-of-22 passes for 172 yards, zero TDs and zero INTs. Shanley’s ANY/A stands at 7.13 for the year and 6.96 over his past two games.

Lucky Jackson (228 receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns on the year), Joshua Samuel (113 rush yards, one rush TD) and Quin Jernighan (110 receiving yards) have combined to account for 387 total yards over the last couple of games.

When these two teams met a year ago, Marshall knocked off Western Kentucky by a touchdown 30-23.

Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Free Prediction

SU Winner: Marshall, ATS Winner: Marshall

Team Betting Trends

  • Each team defense has tallied eight sacks this year.
  • The Western Kentucky offense has lost two fumbles in 2018 while the Marshall offense has lost four.
  • The Thundering Herd offense has produced two pass plays of 40 yards or more, while the Hilltoppers have accounted for four such plays.
  • Both defenses have allowed two pass plays of 40 or more yards and six pass plays of 30+ yards.
  • Both teams have produced one rushing play of 20 yards or more. The Marshall offense has recorded 11 running plays of 10+ yards while Western Kentucky has accounted for 15 such plays.
  • The Thundering Herd defense has allowed zero rushing plays of 20+ yards, while the Hilltoppers have given up six such runs.
  • Western Kentucky was favored by 3 points in its last matchup and the O/U going into it was 52.5. The under cashed and Western Kentucky covered in the 28-20 victory over Ball State.
  • Over its last three matches, Western Kentucky is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • In its last three games, Marshall is 1-2 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
  • Marshall was the underdog by 6 points in its last game and the Over/Under going into it was 56. The over cashed and Marshall failed to cover in the 37-20 defeat to North Carolina State.
  • Marshall has averaged 2.9 yards per carry over its last two outings.
  • Western Kentucky has averaged 4.3 yards per carry over its last two.