The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Thursday, October 6th in a Conference USA battle. The Hilltoppers were victorious by a final of 41-38 last season as 2.5-point home underdogs over the Bulldogs.
Louisiana Tech (2-3, 1-1 C-USA) got back on track last week with a 28-7 home victory over the UTEP Miners. Jarred Craft had a big day on the ground, rushing for 146 yards and a touchdown on only 13 carries in the win.
Western Kentucky (3-2, 1-0 C-USA) dominated Houston Baptist 50-3 at home last week. Mike White led the way with 225 passing yards and three touchdowns as this one was pretty much over by halftime.
Kickoff inside Joe Aillet Stadium is scheduled for 8:00 EST Thursday night with CBS Sports Network providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the NCAA football odds, I spot Western Kentucky as a 2.5-point favorite at Louisiana Tech with a total set of 67.5 points.
I realize the Bulldogs are off to a poor start this season at 2-3, but it’s easy to see why when you look at their schedule. They have been underdogs in all three of their losses, which have all come on the road against some of the better teams in the country.
Louisiana Tech only lost 20-21 at Arkansas as 21-point underdogs in the opener. It also lost 45-59 at Texas Tech as 11-point dogs and 34-38 at Middle Tennessee as 4.5-point dogs. As you can see, the Bulldogs were competitive in all three losses.
The two home games the Bulldogs have played have resulted in blowout victories. They beat South Carolina State 53-24 in Week 2 and UTEP 28-7 last week. They are now 11-2 at home over the past three seasons with some very impressive wins along the way.
Western Kentucky’s only three wins this season have come against Houston Baptist, Miami Ohio and Rice, which are three of the worst teams in the country. And they only beat Miami Ohio 31-24 on the road as 17.5-point favorites and were actually outgained by the Redhawks.
WKU also lost at home to Vanderbilt 30-31 in overtime despite being 9.5-point favorites, and on the road at Alabama 10-38 as 27-point dogs. The Hilltoppers are now 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall, and I believe they’re being overvalued again here as road favorites over the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are now 11-2 at home over the past three seasons with some very impressive wins along the way.
Last year with a great team, WKU only beat Louisiana Tech 41-38 at home. Louisiana Tech won 59-10 at home over Western Kentucky in 2014. It’s clear that home-field advantage has been huge in this series, and I believe it will be again here as the value side is the home underdog Bulldogs.
LA Tech has played the tougher schedule of these two, and the numbers have been impressive. It is putting up 520 yards per game and 7.3 yards per play against opponents that only allow 445 yards per game and 5.9 per play. The defense is giving up 6.1 per play against opponents that average 6.1 per play. So the offense is elite, while the defense is average.
Western Kentucky is also averaging 7.3 yards per play, but against opponents that give up 6.5 yards per play. The Hilltoppers also have an average defense as they give up 4.7 yards per play against opponents that average 4.7 yards per play. They haven’t faced an offense outside of Alabama that is as good as this LA Tech outfit.
Plays on all teams where the line is +3 to -3 (LOUISIANA TECH) – an excellent offensive team (at least 34 PPG) against an average defensive team (21-28 PPG), after allowing 14 points or less last game are 53-22 (70.7%) ATS since 1992. The Hilltoppers are 7-15-1 ATS in their last 23 road games. The Bulldogs are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 games after allowing more than 280 passing yards in their previous game.
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