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This should be one of the best and most entertaining of the opening weekend of bowl games. It features a hard-nosed, defensive Appalachian State team, against a high-flying, offensive bunch of Hilltoppers from Western Kentucky. Let’s look at the matchups.
Appalachian State: The Mountaineers are a consistent Group of Five program. In fact 10-3 is probably a bit of a disappointing season for them, especially after losing for the 2nd time in 2021, to Louisiana for the Sun Belt Championship. They are averaging 34 points per game and are going up against a Western Kentucky team that allows a lot of points. They should be able to score points with quarterback Chase Brice, (62% completion rate, 3,020 yards, 23 touchdowns), and running back Nate Noel, who has rushed for 1,103 yards. Defensively, they are limiting teams to 19 points and 326 total yards per game. The key to the game will be if they can stop the Western Kentucky offense, or at least, slow it down.
Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers were riding high with a 7-game winning streak before losing 49-41 to UTSA in the C-USA championship game. Scoring hasn’t been a problem, behind veteran quarterback, Bailey Zappe. His stats are incredible with 442 completions out of 638 attempts (69%), for 5,545 yards and 56 touchdowns. They have scored 31 or more points in every game this season and have hit the 50 mark on three occasions. One would think that they will be able to score points in this game. Defensively, they are giving up 29 points per game, but in 7 games they gave up 21 points or less.
Over/Under: 68 combined team points Betting this line will depend on how much confidence you have in the Appalachian State defense’s ability to slow down the Hilltoppers. Can they control the passing game of Western Kentucky? They aren’t bad offensively, either. I think I will take the OVER 68 combined points
Point Spread: Appalachian State is a 3-point favorite. If the Mountaineers can slow down the Hilltoppers they should cover this spread. But that is a big if. They were disappointing in the Sun Belt Championship game and will they be motivated in this game. Of course, the very same thing can be said about Western Kentucky.
DUDES WHO BET SPORTS PICK: Appalachian State -3
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