Grab Western Kentucky & 'Over' with your College Football Picks

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 2:18 PM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015 2:18 PM GMT

The biggest opening favorite on college football odds in Week 7 is a Thursday night Conference USA matchup as Western Kentucky visits North Texas, check our free college picks inside.

Not Much Positive About North Texas
Looking for the worst FBS program in the country this year? A case can absolutely be made that it's North Texas. The Mean Green fell to 0-5 on Saturday with a homecoming 66-7 trouncing by FCS program Portland State. Yes, you read that right. An FBS team lost by 59 at home on homecoming to an FCS team, albeit a pretty good one that beat Washington State earlier this season. No FCS team had won two games against FBS competition since 2001. And North Texas had to pay Portland State $425,000 for the beating.

This was the biggest margin of victory by an FCS team over a Football Bowl Subdivision team in NCAA history. Portland State's 45-point halftime lead was the Mean Green's biggest intermission deficit since trailing by 49 to Oklahoma in 2007. The previous largest margin of defeat by an FBS school against a FCS (then Division I-A) school was in 1981, when then Pennsylvania lost to Lehigh 58-0. The largest win by an FCS team over a current FBS team -- Penn no longer is -- was ironically by North Texas in 1983, when UNT beat New Mexico State 49-3.

North Texas didn't cross the Portland State 30-yard line until the final minutes of the game, converted just three of 18 third downs and generated a season low 198 yards total offense. The embarrassment of a shutout was avoided on a late TD pass from DaMarcus Smith to Carlos Harris. It would've been the first shutout by an FCS team over an FBS team since 2006,

You don't wish for anyone to lose their job, but the North Texas administration almost had to do something after that loss and it did, firing Coach Dan McCarney. He was 22-32 with North Texas. His best year with the Mean Green came in 2013, when they went 9-4 and won the Heart of Dallas Bowl. McCarney was previously head coach at Iowa State for 12 seasons, leading the Cyclones to five bowl appearances.

North Texas ranks 127th out of 128 FBS teams in scoring defense, allowing 49.2 points per game. It is last in points per game at 14.8 per game. The Mean Green are 0-5 against the spread on college football picks and 3-2 O/U.

 

WKU An Offensive Juggernaut
Western Kentucky (5-1) would get bowl-eligible for a fifth straight season with a victory here. Its only loss was 38-35 at Indiana; the Hilltoppers beat SEC school Vanderbilt 14-12 to open the season. On Saturday, WKU beat Middle Tennessee 58-28. Brandon Doughty, one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the nation, threw for 359 yards and five scores. He now has seven games with five-plus passing TDs over the past two seasons. Doughty became the 91st quarterback in FBS history to eclipse the 10,000-yard mark for his career as he now has 10,159 yards. He has thrown a touchdown pass in 20 straight games, which is behind only  TCU's Trevone Boykin among active FBS quarterbacks. Doughty’s streak of 400-yard passing games was snapped at four, the fourth-longest streak in FBS history. Doughty is second nationally in passing yards with 2,359 and tied for third with 20 TD passes.

WKU scored on its opening drive for the 20th time, including 17 touchdowns, over the last 31 games. Doughty is now 76-for-91 (83.5) for 942 yards and 10 touchdowns on opening drives for his career. In three home games this season, Doughty is 12-for-12 for 202 yards and two touchdowns on opening drives. The 52 points in the first half by the Hilltoppers were more than all but six full game totals for WKU since 2009.

Western Kentucky is No. 8  nationally in scoring offense at 42.2 points per game. It is 4-2 ATS and 4-2 O/U on college football odds this season. WKU has won six straight vs. Conference USA opponents, the program’s longest streak since winning nine straight against Sun Belt foes across 2011 and 2012.

 

Last Meeting
Schools last played to close the 2012 regular season and Western Kentucky prevailed 25-24 at home. The Hilltoppers rallied from a 24-10 hole. North Texas leads the all-time series 4-2. A 6-1 start would be WKU’s best start of the FBS era.

 

Final Analysis
The Hilltoppers have covered five straight conference games. North Texas is 0-6 ATS in its past six after a loss of more than 20 points. The 'Over' is 4-0 in North Texas' past four vs. teams with a winning record. It is 5-1 in WKU's past six against teams with a losing record. 

NCAAF Free Picks: Western Kentucky -32  & Over 68 at TheGreek

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