Two Group of Five stalwarts do battle in the New Orleans Bowl on Wednesday, December 21st.
After testing the transfer portal over the last week and change, Western Kentucky quarterback Austin Reed has opted to return to the Hilltoppers and will be available for the New Orleans Bowl against South Alabama. The Jaguars were Sun Belt contenders this season, backed by a formidable defense.
This line has been all over the place in the lead up to this stand alone bowl game given the transfer portal developments. Let's make sense of it all by first checking out the odds:
Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama Odds, Spread and Total
Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama Betting Trends
- Western Kentucky coach Tyson Helton is 1-1-1 against the spread (ATS) this season
- Western Kentucky went 2-1 ATS as an underdog
- South Alabama went 7-5 ATS this season
- South Alabama went 7-4-1 to the OVER this season
Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama Prediction and Pick
The best matchup in this game will be Western Kentucky's modified air raid offense with Reed at center against the South Alabama secondary, which is one of the best in the country, let alone the Group of Five. The Jaguars are 12th in success rate defending the pass this season. Overall, USA's defense is 22nd in success rate.
While Reed coming back saves Western Kentucky's offense from trotting out a quarterback with virtually zero expereince, the offensive line will be down two starters in Rusty Staats and Gunner Britton, who each hit the transfer portal and stayed there.
South Alabama's offense is more than capable, top half of the country in yards per play, points per drive and success rate, but the WKU defense is aggressive, leading the country in turnovers gained and allows the 30th fewest yards per play in the country.
With the spread dancing all over, I landed on the under in this one. The WKU offense is predicated on the pass, but this is a formidable South Alabama defense and the Hilltoppers offensive line is patchwork at best.
On the other side, expect the WKU defense to make enough plays in the backfield and limit this South Alabama offense en route to an under game.
Track all of Reed's bets at Betstamp HERE!
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.