College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Buffalo vs. Western Kentucky: Target the Over in Bowling Green
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- Two of the stronger mid-majors in the country -- Buffalo and Western Kentucky -- take the floor in Bowling Green.
- The total is in play for this one.
- Keg breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Buffalo vs. Western Kentucky Odds
-110o / -110u
|Western Kentucky Odds|
-110o / -110u
While Wednesday night will be the first-ever meeting between the Buffalo Bulls and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, these teams have more in common than you might think.
Both programs played in their conference championship game last season, and while they both lost and went on to play in the NIT Tournament, they never matched up.
It will also be the Bulls’ first game in Kentucky since 2014, when they played the Wildcats in Lexington. The Bulls enter this game after a tough loss on the road to St. Bonaventure, one of the best mid-major teams this season. The Bulls put up a good fight against the Bonnies, losing by only three.
Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers are riding a hot streak, winning their last four games after a three-game skid.
They’ve done this damage without two of their best players. Senior Jairus Hamilton has been absent the last two games due to a back injury, while Josh Anderson has been sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols.
In their last game against EKU, they had one of their toughest challenges yet, having to overcome a record-setting 18 made 3s.
Will WKU be able to keep its streak alive this week against a Buffalo team hungry for a win? The Hilltoppers are also a perfect 5-0 at home.
Against the Bonnies, Buffalo forced 15 turnovers and hit more shots from the floor than St. Bonaventure. However, the Bulls couldn’t get the job done from the charity stripe, shooting just 66.7% while the Bonnies managed 85.7%.
Senior Jeenathan Williams has been the driving force for this Bulls team, averaging 19.4 points per game while shooting over 50%.
Buffalo has been one of the better offensive teams in the country, ranking 37th, per KenPom, in offensive efficiency and top-100 in both 3-point and 2-point shooting percentage.
While the Bulls have been able to average 82.1 points per game on offense, the defense has struggled to get stops, allowing opponents to score 72.1 per game, which ranks 256th in college basketball.
And while the Bulls haven’t had the same hot streak of wins as WKU, it has been largely due to their schedule. The Bulls played 18th-ranked Michigan to start their season before knocking off a strong North Texas team on the road.
While they took losses to both Stephen F. Austin and St. Bonaventure, they put up a fight in both games, losing to both by just a combined four points.
Some believe there’s a reason Western has turned the tide and gone on a four-game win streak. It isn’t just the fact the Hilltoppers have been playing back in front of their home crowd.
Instead, it’s a large chain with a cartoon graphic of the Hilltoppers’ mascot, Big Red, dunking a basketball, named the Most Valuable Talker award.
— WKU Hilltopper Basketball (@WKUBasketball) December 1, 2021
Hilltoppers director of basketball operations Talvis Franklin acquired the chain and it is awarded to the player who the coaching staff feels was the best communicator in each game. The winner gets to pose with the chain and has his picture posted on social media after the game.
While the Hilltoppers have been winning games and playing good basketball, I think it’s important to look at who they’ve won those games against — two teams outside the KenPom top 300, Division III Rhodes College and Eastern Kentucky.
Now, Eastern Kentucky is nothing to overlook as it is a good team, but Buffalo is much better. If Buffalo comes anywhere close to the scoring success the Colonels had, I doubt the result will be the same for WKU.
The Hilltoppers are averaging 79.1 points per game and have been much better than Buffalo on the defensive end, limiting teams to just 67.4 points per game. But as I mentioned before, don’t overlook the teams that they have played and how that can factor into these stats so far.
Buffalo vs. Western Kentucky Betting Pick
Both of these teams rank inside the top 100 in tempo, with Buffalo ranked 21st and WKU currently at 76th, per KenPom. Buffalo has also been one of the worst at defending outside the arc, where Western hits at 34%.
They also both have impressive numbers in effective field goal percentage, both better than 50%. Pairing that with the fact that this total opened decently below the number, and I love this over in what is expected to be a fast-paced game.
The total opened at 154.5 and I would feel comfortable at any number as high as 160.