The win total for Western Kentucky is the exact same as it was a year ago.
Right now, college football betting odds via BetMGM list the Hilltoppers’ win total at 8.5. The odds are also similar, with last year’s over sitting at +130 and this year’s at +110. The under is currently -130.
If you rode with the under last season, then you cashed your bet.
Should you go back to the well and take the under this year, though? Well, three of WKU’s five losses last season came by just one score. Two of them were three-point defeats and one was in overtime.
The Hilltoppers were just a play or two away from hitting the over 8.5 last year. Maybe 2023 will be a different story.
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Games to like
To open up the season, WKU gets two home games against South Florida and Houston Christian. It should be multi-touchdown favorites in both of those contests and secure easy wins.
After hitting the road for a pair of tough games, the Hilltoppers will be back at the house hosting Middle Tennessee on a Tuesday night. This will be an interesting spot for them coming off a tough road trip. I think the Hilltoppers will need to win this game to get back on track, and their offense will be too much for the top defense in CUSA.
Week 6 features another Tuesday night game at Louisiana Tech. This trip could be a challenge for the Hilltoppers, but I expect them to handle business here heading into a bye week. Coming out of the bye, WKU visits conference newcomer Jacksonville State for just the sixth meeting all time and the first since 2003. This will be the Toppers’ fifth win of the season with five games remaining.
This is where the schedule gets a little more uncertain.
On Oct. 24, WKU will host Liberty for another Tuesday night showdown. This game could easily have implications in the CUSA championship race and with Hilltoppers coach Tyson Helton chasing his first league title, his squad will come away with a huge win here.
The Hilltoppers cap the season with a three-game stretch at home against New Mexico State, Sam Houston, and at FIU. All three should be victories.
Games not to like
An early road trip at Ohio State and Troy will likely be two early losses for WKU. Even though the Hilltoppers would like to avenge a 34-27 defeat from last year, Troy is one of the best Group of Five teams in the country and will be favored in this game.
Still, don’t count out Austin Reed and his offense here.
The next outing where WKU might suffer a setback is in Week 10 at UTEP. The Miners will have a very light schedule entering this game and will also have nine days to prepare. With a stout defense and an improved squad, I think the Miners knock off WKU, especially since the Hilltoppers will be coming off that game against Liberty, which might lead to a hangover.
This total is right where it should be. Looking through the schedule, it’s likely WKU wins eight or nine games. That means the over or under 8.5 will probably all come down to just a couple of plays like it did in 2022.
As long as they don’t suffer an upset against MTSU or at LA Tech, the Hilltoppers will go 7-1 in league play. And they will win their first two non-conference games against South Florida and Houston Christian, putting them at nine wins. And even an upset over Troy will provide a little breathing room.
WKU will sniff double-digit wins this fall, and over 8.5 wins should be the bet, especially at plus money.