North Texas vs Western Kentucky Odds, Picks: Betting Guide to Pivotal C-USA Game

North Texas vs Western Kentucky Odds, Picks: Betting Guide to Pivotal C-USA Game article feature image

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

  • North Texas travels to Western Kentucky for a critical Conference USA affair as part of college football's Week 9.
  • This matchup nearly has a 70-point total, which means we could be in for a lot of points.
  • Keg explains why he's expecting this matchup to topple this high total.

North Texas vs Western Kentucky Odds

Saturday, Oct. 29
3:30 p.m. ET
North Texas Odds
-114o / -106u
Western Kentucky Odds
-114o / -106u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

I could write 1,000 words in an attempt to convey the importance of Saturday's matchup between North Texas and Western Kentucky and still miss one of the reasons this game is pivotal to not only the C-USA standings but to each team individually.

Additionally, I could write 5,000 words on the importance of this game, and it still wouldn't change the fact that it's only being televised on Stadium, which is truly a shame.

For Western Kentucky, Saturday's game is first and foremost Homecoming on the Hill.

The Hilltoppers held off UAB last time out, earning their fifth win of the season to the tune of 20-17.

With the win over UAB, the Hilltoppers have entered their last two games tied in the all-time series against their respective opponent, and took the series lead in both.

WKU is tied with North Texas in their all-time series at 4-4.

Saturday's matchup is an opportunity for WKU to earn bowl eligibility and likely its last meeting against the Mean Green for the foreseeable future. North Texas is set to transition to the AAC next season.

Both teams are 3-1 in the Conference USA and tied for second place. The winner of this game will control their destiny and take the first step in getting to the C-USA Championship game.

Many expected the Hilltoppers to take a step backward this season with how much turnover they had from last season's team. However, WKU is currently 5-3 through its first eight games. Meanwhile, last year's team started just 4-4, but managed to finish strong, ending the season at 9-5.

Can this year's Hilltoppers hit that second-half stride again?

North Texas Mean Green

The Mean Green's 31-27 loss to UTSA ended an eight-game conference winning streak dating back to last season. And while you never want to lose, the pressure of that win streak off of the players' shoulders could help them tremendously.

On offense, North Texas comes in at third in the C-USA, averaging 35 points and 484.3 yards per outing. The high-flying offense is highlighted by a duo of star tight ends, Jake Roberts and Var'Keyes Gumms.

So far this season, they have combined for 508 yards and six touchdowns. Gumms leads the way with four on 317 yards. He ranks 12th nationally in touchdowns by tight ends and is third in the nation in yards per catch (17.6).

The Mean Green offense can keep up with Western and find its way to the red zone, where things have been considerably easier for those who play the Tops. WKU ranks 81st when it comes to Defensive Finishing Drives.

Despite its offensive output, there is cause for concern regarding the North Texas defense. North Texas comes in at 128th in Rush Success, making it one of the worst teams in the country in that phase.

The Mean Green haven't been much better against the passing attack either, ranking 86th in Passing Play Success Rate Allowed.

Regarding Defensive Success Rate and Finishing Drives, the Mean Green come in at 124th and 103rd, respectively.

North Texas' best chance at winning this game is getting into a shootout against Western, but I'm not sure it'll even be able to do that against the second-best scoring defense in the C-USA.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Western's offense is a top-15 unit in the nation, putting up 317 passing yards per contest and 11 yards per completion. There's no reason the Hilltoppers shouldn't score on every drive of this game.

North Texas' best chance at stopping Western is using its pass rush.

And that being the Mean Green's best defensive quality could not be better news for Austin Reed and Co., as Western ranks fourth nationally in pass blocking.

The Western defense, however, will need to step up if it wants to cover a double-digit spread on Saturday.

The Tops have been solid in limiting explosive plays, but North Texas is one of the best in the nation in that regard, ranking fifth when it comes to Pass Play Explosiveness and 13th inStandard Down Explosiveness.

WKU comes in at 12th and 16th in Explosiveness Allowed, but it has yet to face a team like the Mean Green.

Western also ranks 81st in Defensive Finishing Drives. The Tops are seventh among Conference USA teams in red-zone defense, allowing opponents to score on 86.2% of trips.

If the defense doesn't tighten up against UNT, things could get out of hand.

North Texas vs Western Kentucky Matchup Analysis

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

North Texas Offense vs. Western Kentucky Defense
Rush Success10950
Line Yards3997
Pass Success6945
Pass Blocking**8869
Finishing Drives3681
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Western Kentucky Offense vs. North Texas Defense
Rush Success76128
Line Yards74130
Pass Success2386
Pass Blocking**446
Finishing Drives67103
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling7094
PFF Coverage7245
SP+ Special Teams2063
Seconds per Play23.6 (20)24.5 (29)
Rush Rate57.4% (38)43.6% (119)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

North Texas vs Western Kentucky Betting Pick

There is undoubtedly cause for concern regarding Western Kentucky's defense and penalty struggles.

The Hilltoppers are the worst team in the conference in penalty yards, averaging 71 yards per game and racking up 568 total penalty yards on the season. The closest team to them is Middle Tennessee, with more than 100 yards less on the year than the Hilltoppers.

Western has played its best football at home, but these aren't issues that can be wished away by the homecoming fairy, which is why I'm betting the over in this game.

Western should score at will, while its penalties and explosive plays should allow North Texas to put a respectable amount of points on the board.
I locked in the over at 68.5, and I would feel comfortable betting these two to go over the total at 70.5 or better.

Pick: Over 70.5 or Better

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