- Western Kentucky is a 2-point road favorite over UTSA on Friday (December 3rd, 7 pm ET) in the Conference USA Championship
- The Roadrunners defeated the Hilltoppers 52-46 in early October, but since then Western Kentucky is 7-0
- Read below for odds, analysis and a betting prediction
If you fly too close to the sun you’re bound to get burned. That’s exactly what happened to UTSA, and now they’ve gone from a ranked program looking to complete a perfect season, to an underdog in the Conference USA Championship.
A week after a last second touchdown helped them steal a win versus UAB, the Roadrunners’ undefeated run came to a crashing halt against North Texas. Now, they have to face Western Kentucky on Friday (Dec. 3rd) for the conference title, a program that just happens to be one of the hottest in the country.
Western Kentucky vs UTSA Odds
|Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||-135||-2 (-115)||O 72.5 (-110)|
|UTSA Roadrunners||+115||+2 (-105)||U 72.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Nov. 30th at DraftKings.
The Hilltoppers actually opened up as a 2.5 point underdog, but that line has done a complete 180. Western Kentucky is now a 2-point favorite, in a game features a total of 72.5. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm ET at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and will be broadcast nationwide on CBSSN.
UTSA Roadrunners Betting Analysis
UTSA (11-1) didn’t just suffer its first loss of the season versus North Texas, they were flat out embarrassed. The Roadrunners fell 45-23, turning the ball over three times, while also yielding five sacks. Starting quarterback Frank Harris was removed after the second quarter, and backup Josh Adkins completed only 3-of-9 pass attempts in his place.
FINAL | UNT scores 21 points off UTSA first-half fumbles to post a win in the regular-season finale in Denton. NEXT: UTSA hosts the C-USA Championship Game on Friday at 6 pm. #BirdsUp🤙 pic.twitter.com/4y2hhktuMt
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) November 27, 2021
Harris, who has been dealing with injuries all season, will reportedly “be out there” on Friday, but it’s fair to question how effective he’ll be.
"He's the reason we are here. … He wants to prove to people that he is a good, championship quarterback. We wouldn't be here without zero."
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) November 30, 2021
Defensively, UTSA was destroyed by the Mean Green rushing attack, surrendering a season-high 340 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground. They entered the week as the nation’s 10th best run defense, but have now surrendered 570 rushing yards and 8 rushing TD over the last two weeks alone.
Last week’s result marked just the second time all season they’ve surrendered 45 points, with the only other time coming against Western Kentucky. The Roadrunners were victorious in that outing 52-46, but since then the Hilltoppers have been unstoppable.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Betting Analysis
Western Kentucky (8-4) has reeled off seven straight wins, while outscoring their opposition by 185 points. Last time out, they blew out Marshall 53-21 in a game that decided the Conference USA East Division title.
As usual, the offense was led by senior QB Bailey Zappe. The Texas native threw 4 TD passes, all in the second half, leading the Hilltoppers to 36 unanswered points and an easy victory. Zappe threw for 328 yards, a mark he’s hit in all but one of his 12 starts this season, and leads the nation in passing yards per game.
Bailey Zappe is on a tear this season:
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 30, 2021
He’s cleared 400 yards six times, and threw for 523 yards versus UTSA. His primary receiving weapons, Jerreth Sterns and Michell Tinsley both eclipsed 1,100 receiving yards this season, making them just the fourth duo in the nation to do so.
Just four #CollegeFootball teams finished the season with multiple WRs over 1,000 yards:
Alabama: Williams, 1,261 Metchie, 1,045
Ohio State: Smith Njigba, 1,259 Wilson, 1,058
Western Kentucky: Sterns 1,539 Tinsley 1,126
Wake Forest: Perry 1,112 Roberson 1,024 pic.twitter.com/9aOSQkChXk
— Oliver Hodgkinson (@ojhodgkinson) November 29, 2021
On the strength of Zappe’s arm, the Hilltoppers rank 4th in the country in points per game, and 4th in yards per play. They’ve scored at least 31 points in every game this season, while clearing 41 points in six straight.
Defensively, they haven’t allowed more than 21 points during their winning streak, after allowing over 38 points per contest in their first five outings.
Western Kentucky vs UTSA Pick
Not surprisingly, Western Kentucky’s recent dominance has propelled them to a betting darling. They’ve covered the spread in five straight games, and are 6-1 ATS in their last seven.
Western Kentucky gave up 38.4 points per game in its 1-4 start. It’s given up 18.9 in its last seven games – all wins.
First-year defensive coordinator Maurice Crum on getting a rematch with UTSA in the C-USA championship game. pic.twitter.com/0QxhsQjdhH
— Jared MacDonald (@JMacDonaldSport) November 29, 2021
The Roadrunners meanwhile, are definitely trending down. They haven’t covered in three straight, failing to beat the spread by an average of 17.6 points. They rank lower in both points per game and yards per play, and only marginally better in scoring defense. Also working against them, is a big discrepancy between them and the Hilltoppers in both ESPN’s FPI and SP+ ratings.
Western Kentucky ranks 12 spots higher in ESPN’s FPI, and 31 spots better in SP+. Follow the big line move and back the red-hot Hilltoppers.
Pick: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers -2 (-115)