Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Western Kentucky mascot
Western Kentucky 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +999999
- To win the C-USA: +800
- Win Total: 5 (over -125, under -105)
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Western Kentucky 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 5.8
Bet To Watch
Western Kentucky Under 5 (-105)
Has the hate gone too far in the betting market on Western Kentucky? It’s hard to deny this program has fallen off a cliff offensively after so many good years, and ranking 110th in offensive returning production may not help. The Hilltoppers ranked in the top five nationally in yards per play every year from 2014-2016, but fell to 96th last season.
Nothing is more evident of the offense’s decline than its 130th ranking in rushing explosiveness — WKU didn’t have a rushing play go more than 20 yards all of last season. All season!
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The metrics for the offensive line were just as bad as for the defensive line. The offense was 103rd in adjusted sack rate, and the defense had just 12 sacks, ranking 127th in adjusted sack rate.
My projections have Western Kentucky at 5.8 wins, but have we seen the floor for the Hilltoppers under Mike Sanford? WKU had -2 total rushing yards in a 27-17 loss to Georgia State in the Cure Bowl. Twenty-one rushing attempts, -2 yards.
The 2018 schedule features two Power Five trips (Wisconsin and Louisville) and road trips to three of the top teams in the conference (Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech). No matter what my metrics say the win total will be, we do not know if Western Kentucky has bottomed out. We’ll bet Under 5 wins (-105) and bank on a further fall before the Hilltoppers’ young roster gets more seasoned in 2019.
What else you need to know about Western Kentucky
Sanford is only in his second year, but the Hilltoppers are 1-9 against the spread against nonconference opponents since 2016. A Sept. 8 game against Maine may call for a bet on the Black Bears, who have a potent FCS offensive line. There’s no line yet, but look to back Maine as a three-touchdown underdog.