AutoNation Cure Bowl
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (6-6 SU, 3-8-1 ATS) vs. Georgia State Panthers (6-5 SU, 4-6-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 2:30 P.M. ET
Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
by Jerbeek, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WKU +6/GSU -6
Over/Under Total: 52
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the Georgia State Panthers will travel to Orlando, Florida to play in the AutoNation Cure Bowl. Western Kentucky, from Conference USA comes into this game as losers of 4 of their last 5 where they gave up an average of 35 points per game. Georgia State, from the Sun Belt Conference is on a 2 game losing streak coming into this bowl game. This is the 4th consecutive year of bowling for Western Kentucky as they have won their 3 previous bowl games. The Hilltoppers are led by 1st year coach Mike Sanford, Jr. Georgia State is back to the bowl scene after missing out in 2016 when they had a 3-9 record. The Panthers are also led by a first year coach, Shawn Elliot.
Western Kentucky likes to throw the ball as they come into this game averaging 333 yards passing. Senior QB Mike White, in his 2nd year as a full time starter has seen his production drop a bit this year but still has completed 65.6% of his passes for 3,826 yards. He has thrown 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Mobility is a concern as he has been sacked 38 times this season making his total rushing yards at negative 215 for the season. The Hilltoppers have really struggled rushing the ball as they are only averaging 2.2 yards per rush, which is also a result of all the sacks mentioned. Overall they are averaging 5.3 yards per play against teams that give up 5.8 yards. They are also under average in scoring as they are averaging 26.2 points per game against teams that give up 29.7 points per game.
Georgia State Senior QB Connor Manning is also a 2 year starter but has seen his stats get better in his Sr. season. The Panthers also struggle running the ball as they average only 3.2 yards against teams that give up 4.1 yards per play and overall gain 5.4 yards per play against teams that give 5.8 per play. Georgia State is only averaging 19.7 points against teams that allow an average of 26.4 points per game.
Western Kentuckys defense started out the season fairly efficiently but after the scoring binge in the last 5 games it raised their average of points per game to 26.8. They had trouble stopping the running game as they are allowing 4.5 yards per rush against teams that average 4.2 yards. They allow 5.5 yards per play against teams that average 5.3 yards. The Hilltoppers have been susceptible to the run but luckily for them I dont think Georgia State has a good enough running game to exploit that weakness.
Georgia State has given up an average of 26.8 points against teams that average 22.3 per game and have given up 5.8 yards per play against teams that average 5.6 yards per play. The defense really struggled against Appalachian State in the next to last game of the season when they gave up 323 yards rushing, in fact the Panther defense has seemed to fade late in the season as both the points and yardage totals allowed have increase by a large amount.
Jerbeeks Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is an ugly way to start the bowl season as both of these teams are below average in just about every unit you look at and it explains why they both are around the .500 mark for the season. In a game where neither team looks good I generally take the points and in this case you are getting a generous 6 points. My projection actually has Western Kentucky winning 24-23. My recommendation is to play the WKU plus the 6 points. Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 50% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.