Week 11 of college football features a lot of exciting match-ups and as conference championship season creeps closer the games are starting to grow in importance. Conference USA has produced a lot of exciting games this season and this weekend should be no different, especially with Rice heading to take on Western Kentucky in a battle between two high-powered offenses. We’ll break down the game and get into where the point total is sitting and whether it’s worth betting on.
Western Kentucky enters this weekend's match-up with a (6-4) record and sitting 3rd place in conference standings. The Hilltoppers feature one of the best offenses in the entire country as they enter this weekend ranked 6th in the country in average yards per game with 494.3. The main reason for this impressive stat is WKU’s passing game led by quarterback Austin Reed.
The Hilltoppers gunslinger is throwing it an average of 43.1 times a game which is seventh in the country and has led to him throwing 28 touchdown passes already along with 3,174 passing yards. Reed has the chance to build on these strong numbers against a Rice defense allowing 7.9 yards per pass and lets up an average of 36.1 points per game.
Rice’s defense has caused the Owls to play in three straight shoot-out-style games where the lowest final point total amongst the three games was 67 points. The Owls enter this weekend with a (5-4) record so their offense has been able to keep them in most games.
Quarterback TJ Mcmahon has thrown for 18 touchdowns this season but has also thrown 12 interceptions which he will need to limit if Rice wants to stay in the game against this WKU offense. The key this weekend is for Mcmahon and running back Ari Broussard to avoid long third downs as they will face a Hilltoppers defense 12th in the country in third-down conversion percentage.
The point total for this game opened at 62.5 but has been bet down to 60.5 where it sits now across most sportsbooks. Rice has seen a large majority of their games go over the point total as the over is 17-4 in Owls last 21 games and 8-1 in their last 9 conference games.
I like where the number sits now for this game and I’ll be taking the over in this one. The volume at which WKU throws the ball bodes well for a total, especially against a defense that has struggled to stop any opponent.
Western Kentucky does not stop throwing when they build a lead so even if they jump out to a big lead Reed and this offense can still score points quickly. As for Rice, they are used to high-scoring games and the offense has big play potential that bodes well for the total as well.