Can The Hilltoppers Exploit Rice's Weak Defense To Cover The Spread?

W Kentucky Hilltoppers

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 9:27 PM GMT

A game that has the potential to be a high-scoring shootout and at a price reduced from the close of last season, the home team may provide some value in this one.

Rice Owls vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

What an offensive juggernaut 3rd year W. Kentucky HC Jeff Brohm has created! In his first 2 years, the Hilltoppers averaged 44 PPG and 531 YPG. Much of that can be attributed to Brohm’s pass-oriented offense that was led by now departed, QB Doughty.

The final tally saw a 2-year record of 20-7 SU and a solid ATS mark of 10-4 LY. The season culminated with 6 consecutive wins and 4 consecutive covers, including a 45-35 Bowl victory vs. USF, when they rang up 612 yards against a decent Bulls’ defense. New starting QB, Mike White (USF transfer), gets the nod into the opening day slot, where he will have the benefit of all 5 returning lineman, a pair of 1,000-yard runners and their top 2 receivers. It is hard to bet against a high-powered offense that is 9-3 ATS at home for Brohm. The question mark is whether a defensive sieve returning just 4 starters can carry this weight in the first game of the season with a new signal caller?  

 

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Rice is led by 10th year HC Bailiff, who has far more experience than the 12 and 10 returning starters from the previous 2 years. This year, 16 returning starters are back for the Owls, who recorded a 10-4 SU record when they had 19 RS in 2013. Since that time, however, with limited experience, the Owls have dropped to 8 and 5 wins. Major reason for the decline has been a defense that allows just 24/364 in 2013 to 36/447 LY. Last season, they had one of the worst pass efficiency defenses in the country and allowed 257 PYPG. Not good against a powerful aerial attack of the Hilltoppers. Though the Owls do return veteran skill position players and have an improved OL, the major question is how they will replace long-time starting QB Jackson. At press time, QB Tyler Stehling is expected to get the start. It’s “CHEAP THRILLS” for Hilltoppers fans who will enjoy the spread-covering, 2nd half blowout at the expense of the porous Owls’ defense.  

I invite you to put the College Football odds in your favor and join me in my College Football pick on W. Kentucky tonight.  

Free NCAAF Pick: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers -16 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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