College Football Picks for Western Michigan vs. Bowling Green

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, October 17, 2014 4:56 PM GMT

Each year in college football betting season, the fortunes of programs turn on a dime! 

Reasons may include an extraordinary senior class that graduated, multiple injuries or defections, or it may be a matter of leadership at the top.  Such appears to be the case in the game between West Michigan and Bowling Green this afternoon.  A coaching change at the top has turned around the fortunes of each of these programs.  We look to take advantage for our college football picks, at this underdog college football odds price, with a W. Michigan program on the rise against a Bowling Green team whose fortunes are fading. 

Let’s start with the formerly high-flying Falcons, who in the previous 4 seasons went from 2 to 5 to 8 to 10 wins under rising coaching star, Dave Clawson.  Clawson parlayed that excellence, which included a pair of Bowl bids for Bowling Green in the previous 2 seasons, to the head man position at Wake Forest this year.  Last year’s 10-4 SU, 9-4 ATS Falcon team was flying high because they had 18 RS for consecutive seasons.  They outscored foes 35-16, outgaining them 459-322.  They had the leading time of possession in the nation, ranked 3rd in red zone defense, and had the 5th best scoring defense.  Enter 1st year HC Dino Babers, the former offensive genius at Baylor, who matriculated to E. Illinois where he had the top offense in the FCS at 590 YPG. This year’s edition of the BGs has just 12 RS.  Though they are averaging 36 PPG on 481 YPG, someone forgot to tell Babers that his team also had to play defense.  This year, the former high-flying Falcon defense has gone from allowing just 16 PPG to a Defensive Dud that allows 38 PPG and 568 YPG.  It is the biggest defensive decline of any team in the NCAA.  This is a definite play against team in the role of favorite, as the combination of only 5 returning defensive starters and multiple injuries has left the defense decimated. 

Exactly the opposite is happening at W. Michigan under 2nd year HC PJ Fleck. In the previous year, Bronco fortunes took a dive from 7 to 4 to 1 win.  That included Fleck’s inaugural season, when the Broncos beat only UMass (31-30), were outscored 35-17 and outrushed 250/5.4 to 116/3.6.  This season has turned around entirely for W. Michigan.  The Broncos offense is now averaging 34 PPG on a balanced 454 yards at 6.8 YP play.  A pair of outstanding recruiting seasons is responsible for much of the success.  As a result, Western is a perfect 6-0 ATS this season.  Last week, Western got an over-the-hump win (42-38) at Ball St.  Trailing by double digits for much of the game, they rallied for a 42-38 lead, then made a key stop inside their own 10 yard line to hold on for the victory.  Though the BGs scored a 31-13 win at Ohio and moved to 3-0 SU in conference play, it must be noted that those wins were against bottom of the barrel teams, UMass, Buffalo, and Ohio.  In fact, in last week’s 31-13 win in Athens, the Bobcats outgained the Falcons 518-359.  A win does not get any phonier than that! 

It is now clear that these two programs are headed opposite directions.  We will play the underdog, who has played the more difficult schedule and has the better defense. Western Michigan is your hidden gem of the week for college football picks!

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