Western Kentucky vs Charlotte Odds, Picks | CFB Betting Guide
Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Charlotte 49ers
Western Kentucky vs Charlotte Odds
If you're looking for an entertaining game to watch or bet on in the noon time slot, this one fits the bill as a matchup of two offenses that can score in a hurry.
These two teams enter this game after complete opposite results last weekend.
Will the Hilltoppers bounce back, or will Charlotte build on last week's victory? Let's take a closer look at each team before breaking this one down from a betting perspective.
The Hilltoppers (5-4) suffered a devastating home loss at the hands of North Texas last week, which dropped them to third place in the conference.
With head-to-head losses against each of the top two teams in the standings, their chances of getting back to the C-USA title game took a major hit.
The Hilltoppers started fast in 2022, primarily due to one of the nation's easiest early-season schedules. Their first three victories came against FCS Austin Peay (in a close game) and rebuilding Hawaii and FIU squads by a combined score of 122-17.
Those blowout wins have undoubtedly inflated their season-long metrics.
Since that 3-1 start, Western Kentucky has gone just 2-3, with one of those wins coming against a UAB team that lost its starting quarterback to injury in the first half and turned it over four times.
Western Kentucky lost quarterback Bailey Zappe and a host of skill position talent from last year's record-setting offense, but the Hilltoppers still have a very explosive pass-heavy offense.
West Florida transfer quarterback Austin Reed (22 TD:6 INT) has done an effective job of running the Air Raid in his first year in Bowling Green. He excels at spreading the ball around to a plethora of weapons on the outside for this extremely pass-happy offense.
Reed gets rid of the ball within 2.27 seconds on average — the fourth-quickest in FBS, which you'd expect in this type of offense.
That does make the loss of starting left tackle Mark Goode to injury a little less meaningful, but the protection on Reed's blindside has regressed a bit over the past three games.
The WKU defense is nothing to write home about when you adjust for opponent. The Tops have not found adequate replacements for two departed key contributors in cornerback Antwon Kincade and star defensive end DeAngelo Malone, whose pass-rushing prowess is sorely missed off the edge.
Charlotte has had a very odd up-and-down 2022 campaign with more downs than ups. The 49ers only have two wins on the season, but both came as more than 15-point underdogs, making them the only team in the country that can make that claim.
The 49ers also have two very bad losses against William and Mary and Florida International, which both came at home in blowout fashion. The latter directly led to the firing of head coach Will Healy two weeks ago.
No matter how you slice it, Charlotte has one of the worst defenses in the country, but it did look a little better in its last game after a few changes under a new head coach.
Still, the 49ers aren't going to get many stops. They go as the offense goes under sixth-year senior quarterback Chris Reynolds, who grades out as a top-15 passer this season, per PFF.
Like Western Kentucky, Charlotte has a pass-heavy offense, led by the aforementioned Reynolds and one of the most talented trios of wideouts at the Group of Five level.
When firing on all cylinders, this team can put up points in a hurry.
Keep in mind that Charlotte's overall body of work looks a lot worse when you consider Reynolds missed a chunk of time due to injury earlier in the season. The 49ers got blown out in the four games in which he either didn't play or missed the second half.
When Reynolds plays the entire game, Charlotte is 2-4 with two massive upsets, an unlucky loss against UTEP, a cover at UAB and the head-scratching beating at the hands of FIU.
Western Kentucky vs Charlotte Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Western Kentucky and Charlotte match up statistically:
Western Kentucky Offense vs. Charlotte Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Charlotte Offense vs. Western Kentucky Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||57||79|
|Seconds per Play||24.3 (29)||26.4 (70)|
|Rush Rate||43.0% (121)||45.3% (114)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Western Kentucky vs Charlotte Betting Pick
Last week, Charlotte got to the window for me after the coaching change that I truly believed would provide a boost for a club that really needed one.
That certainly looked to be the case in a blowout win at Rice, where the 49ers put up 56 points.
In its most complete effort of the season, Charlotte scored a touchdown on seven consecutive drives. Also, the much-maligned defense finally showed life for the first time all season, holding Rice to one red-zone trip.
A few lineup and schematic changes went a long way, as did the overall effort level, which resulted in improved tackling — an area that has plagued the 49ers this season.
I loved the overall energy in addition to the aggressiveness and creativity from new head coach Pete Rossomando. He called for a fake punt, kick return reverse and even a surprise onside kick.
Expect even more new wrinkles on Saturday.
Overall, Charlotte is is still undervalued to me after not having Reynolds available for long stretches. Plus, the 49ers are a positive regression candidate in a few high-variance areas.
They have had bad luck on fourth downs, having converted only 10-of-26 (38.5%) attempts, while opponents have gone 14-of-21 (66.7%).
Meanwhile, even after getting blown out at home by North Texas last week, I still think Western Kentucky remains overvalued in the market due to blowouts over bad teams.
Its defense has also benefited from the second-most takeaways (21) in FBS, which is likely unsustainable.
I expect Charlotte to come out with an inspired effort at home, building on last week's momentum with a rejuvenated locker room.
The Hilltoppers could be a bit flat for this noon kick against a bad team, especially after last week's demoralizing loss that likely cost them a shot at a conference title.