Western Kentucky vs. FIU Odds, Predictions, Picks: Expect Bailey Zappe to Lead Offensive Explosion (Oct. 23)

Western Kentucky vs. FIU Odds, Predictions, Picks: Expect Bailey Zappe to Lead Offensive Explosion (Oct. 23) article feature image
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Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyson Helton.

  • The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and FIU Panthers take the field in Saturday night C-USA action.
  • Bailey Zappe leads this explosive Hilltopper offense, but Max Bortenschlager and the Panthers should hold their own offensively.
  • Check out Keg's full betting guide with updated odds and picks below.

Western Kentucky vs. FIU Odds

Saturday, Oct. 23
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Western Kentucky Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-16.5
-105
77
-105o / -115u
-675
FIU Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+16.5
-115
77
-105o / -115u
+475
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Mix in water during the day and designate a driver because we’ve got Bailey Zappe Hour again this Saturday night as Western Kentucky heads to southern Florida for a Conference USA battle against FIU.

Western comes into this week as possibly the best 1-5 team in the country. The Hilltoppers had three close losses to UTSA, Indiana, and Army and all were games they could’ve won.

Now, I expect them to win similar close games in the Conference USA.

Zappe and the rest of the Houston Baptist transplant offense that came with him have turned the Hilltoppers into one of the best offensive units in the country.

Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers’ defense ranks as one of the worst in the country. If they want to make a run at the conference title in the second half of the season, the defense will need to progress.

While they may have the same record, the Panthers are a far reach from this WKU team.

The Panthers have lost five in a row after winning in Week 1. Their competition hasn’t been at the same level as WKU, either.

Can FIU get its season back on track as a home dog coming off the bye week? Or will WKU continue to roll through its Conference USA opponents?


Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Western Kentucky Offense

The Hilltoppers finally got their first win against an FBS opponent this season when they won last week.

The Hilltoppers looked unstoppable against Old Dominion as Zappe continued his record-breaking season, completing 36-of-54 pass attempts for 397 yards and five touchdowns.

Zappe is in the top three nationally for most passing statistics and has recorded 2,632 yards, 26 touchdowns and just four interceptions on the season.

Jerreth Sterns had a massive game vs. Old Dominion, too, as he hauled in 13 passes for 221 yards and one touchdown.

Sterns is putting up All-American numbers himself with 69 receptions for 962 yards — the top mark in college football — and eight touchdowns. He continues to climb the national receiving leaderboard.

Western Kentucky ranks in the top 10 in almost all offensive statistics with an average of 40.8 points and 545.0 yards per game.


Western Kentucky Defense

The Hilltoppers’ defense is at the opposite end of the leaderboard, with opponents putting up 35.3 points and 475.7 yards per contest.

However, the defense came up with some big plays when needed vs. Old Dominion, as it stopped its opponent twice on fourth down and forced three turnovers.

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Florida International Panthers

FIU Offense

The Panthers are 0-12 against FBS competition dating back to November of 2019. They had an opportunity to win against Charlotte last week as they rallied in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 31-20 before eventually losing, 45-33.

Despite the loss, Max Bortenschlager had a fantastic performance last week, completing 19-of-30 passes for 460 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.

While FIU finished with a massive 538-378 advantage in total yards, it made several special teams mistakes and recorded eight penalties for 84 yards.

FIU has a 2-4 record against the spread, with one of the covers coming in its only outright win in a blowout of FCS LIU as a massive favorite back on opening weekend.

Overs are a decisive 5-1 for the Panthers, with each of their last four games going over the betting total.

The Panthers have put up decent numbers offensively despite the team’s overall struggles, averaging 27.8 points and 434.4 yards per contest.

There is no doubt they will challenge a Western Kentucky defense that ranks sub-100 in just about every category and Bortenschlager should be able to pick apart a Hilltoppers secondary allowing a miserable 8.7 yards per pass attempt.

The only factor is will they be able to keep up?


FIU Defense

FIU’s defense has been one of the worst in the nation, with opponents putting up 36.8 points and 482 yards per contest.

However, the Panthers do hold one advantage over the Hilltopper offense, as they rank 86th in Rush Success compared to a WKU squad that sits outside the top 90.


Western Kentucky vs. FIU Matchup Analysis

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

Western Kentucky Offense vs. FIU Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 97 86
Line Yards 21 121
Pass Success 2 123
Pass Blocking** 2 114
Big Play 4 117
Havoc 2 123
Finishing Drives 40 121
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

FIU Offense vs. Western Kentucky Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 127 123
Line Yards 113 115
Pass Success 57 95
Pass Blocking** 60 85
Big Play 28 108
Havoc 60 112
Finishing Drives 126 119
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 88 4
Coverage 70 100
Middle 8 39 107
SP+ Special Teams 21 84
Plays per Minute 5 29
Rush Rate 32.8% (129) 49.3% (103)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Western Kentucky vs. FIU Betting Pick

The over is 5-1 for both FIU and Western this season, and it’s also 4-0 when FIU is an underdog.

This Western Kentucky team is one of my favorites to watch in the country. It’s so electric and plays exciting football. I can’t imagine this team being 15-point favorites against anyone, but I can’t bring myself to bet against these Hilltoppers.

Instead, I’ll look to the total.

WKU hasn’t been able to get a stop anywhere, against anyone. I don’t think that changes this week against FIU, which will score on WKU. The Hilltoppers have a chance to score well into the 50s against a team allowing 42 points per contest.

I’m taking the over at 76.5 and would bet it up to 78

Pick: Over 76.5 (Play to 78)

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