Western Kentucky vs. Louisville College Basketball Odds & Picks
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured:
- Western Kentucky looks to extend its winning streak on the road at Louisville.
- Meanwhile, the Cardinals are looking to secure their first win on the season.
- Keg previews the game and details his best bet below.
Western Kentucky vs. Louisville Odds
We’re 37 days into the season and Louisville is still looking for its first win. The Louisville Cardinals will try to avoid starting the season 0-10 on Wednesday night when they take on their second of three in-state opponents, Western Kentucky.
Western Kentucky comes into its matchup with Louisville riding a five-game win streak and boasting an 8-1 record.
The Cardinals lead the all-time series 42-40 between these two in-state opponents. However, Western came out on top 82-72 in last season’s meeting, which ended Louisville’s nine-game winning streak in the series.
A win this year would mark the first time the Hilltoppers have won consecutive matchups since 1956. It would also be their first win at Louisville since 2000.
The Hilltoppers have lost just one game on the season, but that one game came against one of only two teams they’ve faced that ranks inside the top 150, per Kenpom. Western’s win over the other, Tulane, was due in large part to the fact it shot 42.9% from beyond the arc.
Western Kentucky is 295th in offensive rebound percentage, ranks 339th with 5.9 offensive rebounds per game and is 244th with 22 defensive rebounds per game. They’re not a good rebounding team, which would be fine if they didn’t have the tallest player in all of college basketball in Jamarion Sharp.
The Hilltoppers are ninth in college basketball when it comes to height and their most common lineup features Sharp, along with Jairus Hamilton and Emmanuel Akot, who both come in at 6′ 8″. This team’s struggles around the rim have been maddening.
Western may be a great shooting team, but 79.5% of its field-goal attempts have come either in the paint or from beyond the three-point line. Louisville will be the first team the Hilltoppers face that ranks better than top 75 in average height, with the Cardinals just behind them at 10th.
So many of the areas in which teams have taken advantage of Louisville haven’t been a point of emphasis for the Hilltoppers. Western Kentucky ranks 219th in opponent turnovers per game and 339th in offensive rebounds.
If the Cardinals can challenge Western both at the rim and on the perimeter, Western will have to find another way to win a game for the first time this season.
My biggest concern with the Cardinals is they’ve lost every game for the same reasons — scoring droughts, turnovers and a lack of defensive awareness.
Louisville is a bottom-five scoring offense in the country, averaging just 56.9 points per game (358th). The Cardinals are also outside the top 250 when it comes to scoring defense as they allow teams to rack up an average of 74 points per game. And while scoring has been bad all season, it’s been even worse as of late. Louisville has lost its past six games by an average of 25.2 points.
The one singular thing Louisville has improved upon and done well in is rebounding. The Cardinals rank 60th when it comes to opponent offensive rebounds per game.
Against Western, another one of the few areas in which Louisville has been decent at could play a major factor. The Cardinals have held opponents to 34% shooting from beyond the arc. Western sees 33.2% of its scoring come from three-point range and is a top-20 three-point shooting team in the country.
If Louisville can control the boards, and continue to defend the perimeter decently, it could have a shot at winning its first game of the year.
Western Kentucky vs. Louisville Betting Pick
The Hilltoppers will likely face challenges at the rim against Louisville.
However, no team the Cardinals have seen yet this season even comes remotely close to the threat Western Kentucky presents at the three-point line.
Once Western faces challenges inside, I think the Hilltoppers will look to shoot from deep even more. I don’t see Louisville giving Western much of a challenge on the perimeter, or finding success against this Hilltoppers defenses — especially if the pace slows down.
Back the Hilltoppers to win and cover against Louisville.
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