Western Kentucky vs. Army Odds, Pick: The Bet to Make on Week 2’s Over/Under (Sept. 11)
Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Army Black Knights.
- The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Army Black Knights take the field on Saturday afternoon to kick off Week 2 of college football.
- The Tops are seeing solid returns on Houston Baptist transfer Bailey Zappe at quarterback, along with others who came from the school.
- Keg breaks down the game below and shares a betting pick and prediction based on his analysis.
Editor's Note: It was reported Saturday morning that Army senior quarterback Christian Anderson will start in place of last week's starter Tyhier Tyler.
Western Kentucky vs. Army Odds
|Western Kentucky Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Western Kentucky heads into West Point to take on Army, whom they are 3-0 against all time. Both teams come off of dominating Week 1 wins, and it can't be overlooked that Saturday's game will be on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
WKU head coach Tyson Helton said, "It's a great honor to play in that game, I can't think of a better environment." But can WKU keep the game close in that environment?
Coming off a 59-21 win over UT-Martin, Western Kentucky looks to keep the momentum going on the road. This will depend heavily on what personnel they have on the field.
Tight end Joshua Simon suffered a knee injury during Thursday’s game, and his status for Saturday is still undetermined. Simon caught three passes — including two touchdowns — for 73 yards in the season-opening win.
WKU also hopes to have receiver Dalvin Smith and running back Noah Whittington, who both missed the opener. Linebacker Nick Days, who missed Thursday’s game with an ankle injury, is still questionable for this week as well.
The Hilltoppers offense on Thursday might have been as good as it could be. They averaged 9.62 yards per play with a 62.3% Success Rate.
Most people knew Bailey Zappe would be good, but he really went above and beyond the expectations, as he completed 80% of his passes while averaging 13.2 yards per passing play with a 66.7% Success Rate.
Heading into Army this week, those numbers couldn't be more important because to get ahead of Army's slow methodical offense and time of possession, they will need to put up points at a consistent pace.
Regardless of who you are, it's hard to prepare for Army's unusual offense in one week. This Army run game is going to be lightyears ahead of what it saw last week, and I think that's going to be a big problem for the Hilltoppers.
The UT- Martin ground attack was stuffed on just 5-of-33 attempts by the WKU defense.
It allowed 6.3 yards per rush with a 63.6% Success Rate, and if it does that this week, the slow Army run game is going to move a lot quicker than we're used to seeing.
West Point is buzzing after last week's 43-10 blowout of Georgia State, and bettors are high on the Black Knights as they are coming off such a dominant performance as a two-point underdog.
The Action Network App currently has the Black Knights getting 91% of the bets and 99% of the money.
Can Army perform well as a favorite with such heavy public backing on a day with more meaning than just football to this team and everyone involved?
Black Knights Offense
Yes, they played Georgia State last week, but much like Western Kentucky, this team's offensive performance is nothing to discount regardless of the opponent.
The Black Knights had an average Success Rate of 53.5% while putting up 43 points on 356 total yards. They didn't miss a beat when starting quarterback Tyhier Tyler left the game with a leg injury as Christian Anderson was able to come in and play well.
One of the most positive takeaways from last week was their ability to make plays when it mattered.
Posting a 62.5 % Success Rate on third down, they only failed to convert six third-down opportunities. And of those six they missed, three were converted on fourth down, when they posted a 100% Success Rate.
Black Knights Defense
This defense allowed just 10 points on 177 total yards against Georgia State while generating two turnovers, six tackles for loss, and three sacks. Army’s defensive line dominated the trenches.
Linebacker Arik Smith finished with five total tackles, and cornerback Jabari Moore had an interception.
The Army secondary looked good last week, but WKU's passing game will be a much bigger threat than Georgia State's.
Western Kentucky vs. Army Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Western Kentucky and Army match up statistically:
Western Kentucky Offense vs. Army Defense
Army Offense vs. Western Kentucky Defense
Pace of Play / Other
While everything we look at for these two teams comes from a small sample size, it's important to take a look at their special teams performance and starting field positions last week.
Army’s six touchdown drives went for an average of just 44 yards. When drives started at Army’s 35-yard line or farther back, it punted twice and kicked a field goal.
Western Kentucky is unlikely to give it the same generous starting field position. Tennessee-Martin had an average starting field position at its own 22-yard line last week. Army also gave up a blocked extra point and had a failed two-point conversion.
Western Kentucky vs. Army Betting Pick
I can't bring myself to take a side in this game, as I'm very high on WKU for this year as a whole, but it's going to take a lot to go into West Point on Saturday with the energized environment and come out with a win.
However, defensively, both teams are going to struggle. Last week, Georgia State had zero passes over 20 yards and no explosive drives. While the Army secondary did look good, it will be a different story against this Western Kentucky offense.
Army is historically known for its time of possession and slow drives leaning heavily on the run game, and I just don't think this Western Kentucky defense will be able to stop them at all.
UT Martin had a better Success Rate and more yards per run play against WKU than Army had against Georgia State.
I will be betting the over at 52.5 (-110), and I would bet it up to 54.5 (-110)
Pick: Over 52.5 (Play to 54.5)