UAB vs. Western Kentucky (10/21 @ 8:00 p.m. EST.)
Line: Western Kentucky -1.5
UAB vs Western Kentucky Breakdown and Betting Odds
The UAB Blazers (4-2) have a matchup against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Friday at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Hilltoppers are 1.5-point favorites over the Blazers. The over/under is set at 58.5 points.
UAB and Western Kentucky have played eight times with both teams winning four times. UAB won the most recent game in 2020. They have only played three times since 2014 with UAB winning two of three matchups. In games played in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the teams have split the last two.
After splitting their first four games, UAB won back-to-back games at home to put them in Conference USA contention. They are 2-1 in conference with multi-score wins over Middle Tennessee State and Charlotte. UAB has ridden one of the better defenses in the country to a 4-2 start. They are allowing just 17.3 points per game, good for 17th in FBS.
The defense is led by Drew Tuazama’s 2.5 sacks and Grayson Cash’s three interceptions. UAB has been successful at stifling teams in both facets. In the passing game, they are allowing a 54.1% completion rate. On the ground, opponents are getting outrushed by 100 yards per game. They are also forcing turnovers, nabbing 2.2 takeaways per game.
The offense is a rushing-centered attack. DeWayne McBride already has 11 touchdowns. On 116 carries, he is averaging a robust 6.7 yards per carry. The Blazers have four different players with multiple rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Dylan Hopkins has had an efficient season, but he is only asked to throw the ball about 20 times per game. He has eight total touchdowns to just two interceptions.
In UAB’s last five games, they are 2-3 ATS. However, they have been double-digit favorites in each of their last four games, covering twice. The under is 3-2, and the corresponding overs hit by 0.5 and 2.5 points. UAB has lost their last two games on the road, being at least 6-point favorites in both.
Western Kentucky Overview
Western Kentucky has continued its trend of having a high-octane passing offense fuel a top scoring offense. While they have three one-score losses on their schedule, the Hilltoppers have posted at least 27 points in all seven of their games. They have the No. 19 scoring offense, hanging 40 points per game. They are no slouch defensively (46th in scoring defense), but they are an offense-focused team.
Quarterback Austin Reed has followed in Bailey Zappe’s footsteps to post a massive statistical season. Reed leads Conference USA in completions, attempts, completion rate, yards, and touchdowns. He is fourth in FBS in both pass touchdowns and yards. Daewood Davis already has 610 receiving yards with five touchdowns. Malachi Corley has 529 yards and six receiving touchdowns. Western Kentucky can move the ball on the ground (4.7 yards per carry), but it is often a complement to the passing game rather than the dominating force.
Defensively, the Hilltoppers have held teams to 3.2 yards per carry. They have forced 2.4 turnovers per game including 10 total interceptions. Jaques Evans leads the way with 4.5 sacks. Upton Stout and Kaleb Oliver both have a pair of interceptions. The Hilltoppers have returned three interceptions and one fumble recovery for a touchdown, helping out the offense.
In their last five games, the Hilltoppers are 4-1 ATS. They covered but lost straight up in both games they played as underdogs. As favorites, they covered -7.5 against Middle Tennessee State and -31 against Florida International, but they failed to cover -5.5 against Troy. The over is 3-2 in these games, but the under has hit back-to-back weeks.
TakingVegas.com Pick: UAB +1.5
Picking against a high-octane passing offense can be stressful, but UAB has the horses to Cover +1.5. It might be useful to take UAB’s moneyline (+100) at the cost of a 1-point Western Kentucky win covering the spread but not the moneyline. While the Hilltoppers do have one of the most productive passing offenses in the sport, Reed is not Zappe, and they can be exploited.
The battle will be won in the trenches. UAB has a top-flight rushing attack while Western Kentucky has limited opponents on the ground for the most part. If UAB gets the lead, they should be able to siphon the clock off and keep Reed off the field.
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