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Troy vs. Western Kentucky Betting Odds & Picks: Trojans No Problem for Hilltoppers

Troy vs. Western Kentucky Betting Odds & Picks: Trojans No Problem for Hilltoppers article feature image
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Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyson Helton (Western Kentucky)

  • The Troy Trojans take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in Saturday night Sun Belt college football action.
  • The Hilltoppers are facing their biggest test thus far in a Trojans team that showed glimpses in an impressive victory over Marshall.
  • Check out Keg's full betting guide and pick for Troy vs. Western Kentucky below.

Troy vs. Western Kentucky Odds

Saturday, Oct. 1
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Troy Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+5.5
-114
54.5
-110o / -110u
+180
Western Kentucky Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-5.5
-106
54.5
-110o / -110u
-220
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Troy Trojans will head to Bowling Green to square off against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in a battle of high-flying offenses.

Both teams enter the game coming off of big wins.

Western Kentucky is coming off of a 73-0 shutout over FIU, a game in which it set a multitude of records, including the most points the program has scored since becoming an FBS team, and the third-most points ever scored in Conference USA History.

Troy might not have had the scoring output WKU had last week, but its win may have been more significant. The Trojans took down Marshall, 16-7, giving the Thundering Herd their second consecutive loss after upsetting Notre Dame.

The Trojans lead the all-time series against WKU, 5-2, and won the most recent matchup in 2013, 32-26.

A lot has changed for these two programs since that meeting nine years ago, but there is one thing that ties them closer than ever this season.

After not being named the starter for Western Kentucky, quarterback Jarret Doege transferred to Troy less than a month before the season started to try to earn the starting spot.

Doege didn’t win the starting job at Troy either, but will his familiarity with the Hilltoppers give the Trojans the upper hand?


Troy Trojans

Troy has had a gauntlet of a schedule to start the season, making its 4-0 start even more impressive. Quarterback Gunnar Watson ranks ninth in the country in passing yards and has maintained a 70.4% completion percentage.

However, finishing drives and ball security have been a severe issues for Watson. He’s thrown just five touchdowns this season and has also tossed five interceptions.

The Trojans rank 10th in passing offense and are putting up 343 yards per game. But they struggle in the red zone, averaging 23 points per game and ranking 105th in FBS.

Defensively, there have been some bright spots for the Trojans, who have allowed just 21 points per contest this year. However, they have serious concerns in areas Western Kentucky can — and will — take advantage of.

In Passing Down EPA Allowed, Troy ranks 82nd in FBS, and the Hilltoppers are currently ranked fifth. Regarding Passing Down Success Rate — where WKU is 13th — the Trojans struggle and are ranked 70th nationally.

Western Kentucky’s rankings in those statistics are inflated due to the lack of competition it has faced, but I think the Hilltoppers’ talent and offensive scheming will lead to big results.


Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

The Hilltoppers’ signal caller Austin Reed ranks just ahead of Watson in yardage and completion percentage, having racked up 1,263 yards on the season while completing 72.7% of his attempts.

The more significant gap between them lies in the TD:Turnover Ratio, as Reed ranks fourth in the nation — putting up 14 touchdowns in four games while throwing just three interceptions.

He will need to be on the lookout for T.J. Jackson, a defensive end for the Trojans who may be his most significant threat of the season so far when it comes to pressure in the backfield. Jackson leads the Trojans with three sacks, totaling 26 sack yards.

However, if the offensive line can keep Reed upright, he has an abundance of options who will all threaten the Troy secondary.

Seven players have logged a receiving touchdown for the Hilltoppers’ offense, as the unit has racked up 340 passing yards per game and averages 47.5 points per contest.

Defensively, Western Kentucky has been able to limit opponents to just 19.3 points per game. But in my opinion, this is one of the more inflated stats because the Hilltoppers have played inferior competition.

The Hilltoppers allowed Indiana to score 30 points and rack up 484 yards. I think they can have a better performance against Troy, especially with this game being at home. However, I don’t expect last week’s shutout against FIU to be a recurring trend for this defense.

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Troy vs. Western Kentucky Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Troy and Western Kentucky match up statistically:

Troy Offense vs. Western Kentucky Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 120 60
Line Yards 121 47
Pass Success 30 42
Pass Blocking** 90 72
Havoc 96 63
Finishing Drives 130 56
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Western Kentucky Offense vs. Troy Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 51 108
Line Yards 47 101
Pass Success 5 55
Pass Blocking** 10 79
Havoc 17 90
Finishing Drives 47 60
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 104 106
PFF Coverage 14 36
SP+ Special Teams 67 81
Seconds per Play 26.3 (66) 24.8 (29)
Rush Rate 43.2% (117) 44.6% (112)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Troy vs. Western Kentucky Betting Pick

Doege may not be starting for the Trojans, but after spending an entire preseason at WKU, you have to assume he has brought some information to Troy about how the Hilltoppers operate.

I expect that to play some level of importance against the Hilltoppers, but not enough to change this game completely.

Another thing to note when it comes to the Hilltoppers is their strength of schedule compared to Troy’s so far this season.

WKU has scored 30 or more points in every game, but its two biggest wins have come against Hawaii and FIU, two of the worst FBS teams.

Troy, meanwhile, had an impressive showing against Ole Miss (the No. 14 team in the country). The Trojans beat Marshall — which took down Notre Dame in South Bend — and lost to Appalachian State — a team that has already exceeded expectations — on a Hail Mary.

Despite its lack of challenges this season, I believe Western Kentucky gets it done here at home. The Hilltoppers are the better team, and I expect a packed house Saturday night to push that home-field advantage even further.

Back the Hilltoppers as high as 6-point favorites to prove themselves against a worthy opponent.

Pick: WKU -6 or better

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