Western Kentucky vs Ohio State Odds, Prediction, Picks: Can Tops Cover Big Spread?

Western Kentucky vs Ohio State Odds, Prediction, Picks: Can Tops Cover Big Spread? article feature image

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyson Helton (Western Kentucky)

Western Kentucky vs Ohio State Odds

Saturday, Sept. 16
4 p.m. ET
Western Kentucky Odds
-105o / -115u
Ohio State Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

With the amount of talent they have churned out, the Ohio State Buckeyes have become an NFL academy over the last few years. While they are ranked just sixth in the AP Poll, this team is still loaded with impact players that you will see on Sundays in the coming years.

However, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers boast plenty of talent in their own right, as quarterback Austin Reed leads one of the most explosive offenses in the country.

This matchup is far more intriguing than the 29-point spread suggests. The old saying in fighting is "styles make matchups." Well, the contrasting styles these two offenses will likely display should make this an interesting matchup from a betting perspective.

With that being said, let's dive into this matchup and unveil the best bet to make.

Check out our NCAAF Betting Hub for more college football previews, predictions, news, and analysis.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

As I alluded to in the open, the Hilltoppers' offense is explosive. In fact, they come into this matchup ranked 23rd in Offensive Explosiveness on the season, and it's all because of their vertical passing attack.

Western Kentucky has thrown the ball at the fifth-highest rate thus far and its aerial attack has culminated in success, as it ranks third in Offensive Finishing Drives.

However, this will be the best secondary they'll face all season long. The Buckeyes have shut down the passing game through their first two games, as they rank fourth in completion percentage allowed and opponent yards per pass allowed.

Though going back to Western Kentucky, it will also be one of the best passing attacks the Buckeyes will contend with, too.

The key for the Hilltoppers will be to protect Reed, which they've done a fantastic job of this season. Reed has yet to be sacked on the season and the Buckeyes haven't generated much pressure, sitting just 79th in defensive sack rate.

Ohio State Buckeyes

This Ohio State team lost quite a bit of talent to the NFL — most notably, second-overall pick C.J. Stroud.

However, sophomore Kyle McCord has shined in the early going.

Of course, his success is aided by the pieces he has around him. The first is Marvin Harrison Jr., who's the No. 1 receiver in the country. Then he has TreVeyon Henderson behind him in the backfield.

I mention Henderson because the Buckeyes will likely lean on the ground game in this matchup. Western Kentucky has been torched on the ground thus far, ranking 121st in yards per rush allowed.

With Ohio State moving the ball at will on the ground, it won't need to press McCord into a shootout with Reed, as the Hilltoppers' secondary has been phenomenal to this point.

Western Kentucky vs Ohio State

Matchup Analysis

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

Western Kentucky Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
Rush Success377
Line Yards2460
Pass Success9532
Finishing Drives910
Quality Drives848
Ohio State Offense vs. Western Kentucky Defense
Rush Success71130
Line Yards32133
Pass Success3529
Finishing Drives4363
Quality Drives4357
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling10425
PFF Coverage2011
Special Teams SP+5155
Middle 87433
Seconds per Play26.4 (61)27.4 (76)
Rush Rate35.3% (128)45.7% (99)

Western Kentucky vs Ohio State

Betting Pick & Prediction

This matchup will be a big contrast in styles. The Hilltoppers will be looking to air it out, while the Buckeyes will utilize the big boys up front to continuously move the ball on the ground.

The contrast opens the window for WKU to respond efficiently, even after a long, methodical drive from Ohio State. The Buckeyes will dictate the pace and it will likely be slower, as the rushing attack milks much of the clock and keeps Reed off the field.

However, it may limit the Buckeyes' scoring opportunities and allow for this matchup to be closer than expected, as WKU won't stop throwing regardless of the game script.

Take the Hilltoppers to sneak in through the backdoor and cover the spread.

Pick: Western Kentucky +29 (Play to 28)
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