Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. North Texas Mean Green (0-5 SU, 0-5 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Thursday, October 15, 2015, 7:30 pm EST
Where: Apogee Stadium, Denton, Texas
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WKU -31.5/UNT +31.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
Conference USA will get its chance to share the national college football spotlight on Thursday night when the top team from the East division, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers travel to Denton, Texas, to take on the winless Mean Green of North Texas in a game shown nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Western Kentucky has its prolific offense kicking in high gear again, as the unit led by quarterback Brandon Doughty has put up 56, 49 and 58 points in the past three weeks, respectively. Last week their 58-point performance came when they racked up 593 yards of total offense in their, 58-28, victory over Middle Tennessee State. With another game scheduled on October 25th against the highly ranked LSU Tigers (the Hilltoppers beat Vanderbilt in the opener, 14-12), the Hilltoppers are likely to use Thursdays game as a tune-up and a recruiting tool as they try and hit the 60-point mark for the first time in 2015.
The Mean Green are struggling through their worst season in school history thus far in 2015. Although North Texas has been 0-5 before, its the huge margins of victory that is making this season particularly embarrassing. The Mean Green lost by 14 back in week two at home in Apogee Stadium to Rice, but since then they have watched Iowa (62-16), Southern Mississippi (49-14) and Baylor (66-7) run through the Mean Green defense like it was the cheerleaders line in introductions en route to some of the most lopsided losses in college football this season.
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No surprise here but the oddsmakers do not expect a whole lot of wagering on North Texas in this game Thursday, setting the opening point spread with Western Kentucky as gigantic 31-point favorites on the road just to try and entice someone to back the Mean Green. As of press time, there has yet to be an over/under total listed for this game.
It appears as if the senior QB has picked up right where he left off last season for the Hilltoppers, as Doughty already has thrown for 2,359 yards and has 20 touchdowns to just three interceptions and a huge 75 percent completion ratio to boot. Yeah a lot of bubble- and WR-screens will do that for a quarterback you say but then you see that Doughty has a 10.3 yards per completion and a 408 yards per game passing average and you can see he is a legit QB likely worthy of playing at the next level next year. The North Texas defense, a unit that is already allowing 547 yards a game (122nd in FBS) and an unfathomable 258 yards per game running the ball (also 122nd in FBS) and you begin to wonder just how many points the Hilltoppers will put on the scoreboard before they call of the dogs in this game.
Western Kentuckys defense is a little susceptible to the pass, but its really hard to see the Mean Green offense making enough progress on offense to even take advantage of the weakness. The Nort Texas offense is 114th in total offense with 331 yards a game, but considering that the past few weeks theyve been playing against 2nd-string and 3rd-string defenses in blowouts, that number isnt so glorious. With only 14.8 points per game, the Mean Green is 128th in scoring in the FBS out of the 128 teams in FBS competition.
This years North Texas team is so bad, it would be dangerous to even compare them to previous years teams and use betting trends and stats for handicapping this one. North Texas is 4-1 ATS versus Western Kentucky since 2007, but that was a completely different North Texas team and a really different Hilltoppers offense as well. Western Kentucky is 5-0 ATS in their last five C-USA games, but only 5-11 ATS in their last 16 away from home.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I have a hard tie advocating for a team to cover a 31-point spread, even though the Hilltoppers should be real close to covering it. What I fear is a late, backdoor-type of cover by North Texas late in the game when the walk-ons from Western Kentucky are playing. If the total for this game goes up at anything less than 70, Id snatch up the over because I fully expect Western Kentucky to put up that many on their own. If I play anything on this game, Id play on the over.
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