- Western Kentucky is a 1.5-point road favorite over Florida Atlantic on Thursday night
- Western Kentucky’s Jamarion Sharp leads the nation in blocked shots
- A look at odds and matchup can be found below with a prediction
Two teams trying to gain traction in the Conference USA standings square off as Western Kentucky visits Florida Atlantic at 7:00 p.m. ET at FAU Arena in Boca Raton.
Western Kentucky (10-7/2-2 CUSA/0-3 road) had its two-game winning streak end Saturday when it lost at North Texas 65-60. Florida Atlantic (9-8/2-2 CUSA/8-3 home) broke its two-game losing streak by routing Charlotte 96-67 on Monday at home.
In a game that will be televised by the CBS Sports Network, Western Kentucky is a slim favorite.
Western Kentucky vs Florida Atlantic Odds
|Western Kentucky||-122||-1.5 (-110)||Over 144 (-106)|
|Florida Atlantic||+102||+1.5 (-110)||Under 144 (-114)|
Odds as of January 19th at BetMGM.
Neither team would have a chance of making the NCAA Tournament as an at-large at this stage. Western Kentucky is 130th in the NET Ratings. FAU is a littler further back at 147th.
Western Kentucky Betting Preview
Sophomore guard Dayvion McKnight continued his fine season for accounting for nearly half of Western Kentucky’s points in the loss to North Texas.
McKnight finished with 23 points, making 11 of 18 shots from the field in notching his fourth 20-point game of the season. He also had five rebounds, five assists and three steals. He remains a non-factor in the mid-season Wooden Award odds, though.
Dayvion McKnight draws the foul and will shoot two. pic.twitter.com/lGRqGJFbVr
— Drew Toennies (@drew_toennies) January 8, 2022
His season averages are 14.4 points, 6.5 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals.
Junior center Jamarion Sharp was the only other Western Kentucky player to score in double figures. He finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots.
The 7-foot-5 Sharp is starting to come on offensively with three straight double-figure scoring games after scoring 10 or more just four times in the first 14 games of the season.
The Hilltoppers made just 2 of 12 three-points attempts for 16.7% and had 15 turnovers. North Texas knocked down 10 of 23 from long range for 43.5%
Western Kentucky has three other players with double-digit scoring averages – senior forward Jairus Hamilton (14.1), senior guard Camron Justice (13.5) and senior guard Josh Anderson (11.9). Hamilton, a Maryland transfer, is also pulling down 6.2 rebounds a game and Anderson is averaging 2.3 steals.
Western Kentucky, Center 2021-2022 pic.twitter.com/1hNk5eV5cH
— Random College Athletes (@RandomAthletess) January 11, 2022
Western Kentucky has three players among the national statistical leaders. Sharp is tops in blocked shots at 4.6 a game, McKnight is fifth in assists and Anderson ranked 17th in steals.
The Hilltoppers are 8-7 against the spread, including 2-1 on the road.
Florida Atlantic Betting Outlook
Florida Atlantic seemingly couldn’t miss, particularly from beyond the arc, in beating Charlotte.
The Owls made 16 of 21 three-point shots for an astounding 76.2%. The 16 makes were a season high.
Florida Atlantic also shot 61.8% (34 of 55) overall and got 20 points from freshman guard Alijah Martin, who was 7 of 11. He registered his second 20-point game of the season and reached double figures for a seventh straight game.
FAU Alijah Martin 6’4 Sophomore Guard will be attending The Mahmoud Abdul Rauf Skills Academy Powered By Driven Elite. Alijah, a VERY EXPLOSIVE player from my hometown of Pike County has a very bright future ahead of him. I gotta reach back to my hometown. @Donald_Driver80 pic.twitter.com/Y96BxjDbM4
— CoachAdams (@DEliteBBall) July 27, 2021
Martin is averaging 13.7 points and 5.3 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Bryan Greenlee was 4 of 5 from long distance to finish with a season-high 16 points. That matched the number of points combined he had scored in the three previous games.
Greenlee nudged his scoring average to 9.9 and dishing 3.8 assists a game.
Junior guard Michael Forrest had 14 points and made all four three-point attempts. He leads the Owls with a 14.2 scoring average.
Interesting warmup ritual from Michael Forrest and Bryan Greenlee. pic.twitter.com/FIoSq82Pib
— Colby Guy (@ColbyDGuy) January 23, 2021
A transfer from Texas Tech, freshman center Vladislav Goldin also scored 14 points.
Florida Atlantic had a 31-21 edge in rebounds as it improved to 7-7 ATS overall and 5-3 at home.
Western Kentucky vs Florida Atlantic Prediction
The team haven’t played since Jan. 30, 2000, when Florida Atlantic won 69-65 at home to end a six-game losing streak against Western Kentucky. Forrest scored 12 points for the Owls.
Florida Atlantic is not likely to shoot as well as it did Monday but is an enticing home underdog in Thursday’s college basketball betting slate.
The Pick: Florida Atlantic ML (+102)