First Responder Bowl 2019: Western Michigan Vs. Western Kentucky Betting Line & Pick
First Responder Bowl 2019 Betting Preview
The 10th Annual Servpro First Responder Bowl will take place in Dallas and feature two teams who will be playing in this bowl for the first time.
Western Michigan will take on Western Kentucky as both teams stumbled a bit down the stretch but will try to finish the season on a high note.
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The Two Teams Have a Long History
These schools are very familiar with each other, as they have played 15 times dating back almost 100 years, with Western Kentucky holding the edge in the series all-time.
Western Michigan Vs. Western Kentucky Betting Odds
|Western Michigan||vs.||Western Kentucky|
|+3.5 (-110)||Spread||-3.5 (-110)|
|O 51.5 (-110)||Total||U 51.5 (-110)|
|Bet On Western Michigan vs. Western Kentucky College Football Game At MyBookie.ag|
Western Kentucky (-180 moneyline) opened as a two-point favorite but has seen that shift to -3.5 at the time of writing on MyBookie.ag. This is a rarity, as Vegas usually drops the line as it gets closer to kickoff, but with heavy numbers on them, it shifted the other way.
Western Michigan (+150) will look to play spoiler in an underdog role it is familiar with playing this year.
Broncos Look To Trample The Hilltoppers
Western Michigan had to win its last game against a sub-.500 Northern Illinois squad to make the MAC Championship Game, but a frustrating game saw the Broncos score just 14 points in a loss.
This was especially disappointing since the team averages 34.2 points a game for the season.
The running game looked great this year as the Broncos accumulated over 200 rushing yards a game with an average carry of 5.4 yards per play.
Levante Bellamy is a huge contributor to those numbers, as he led the nation in rushing touchdowns with 23, all the while fumbling just once this season.
Quarterback John Wassink will have to play much better than he has this season, as his 19-9 touchdown-to-turnover ratio doesn’t instill much confidence. Those numbers don’t look as bad when realizing that over his last six games, he has nine touchdowns to only two interceptions.
Tight end Giovanni Ricci has been the main target in the red zone, as he has pulled in eight touchdown catches this year to lead the team.
Linebacker Treshaun Hayward is the star of this defense with 132 tackles, five sacks, two fumbles and an interception this year. He is a core part of the defense that only allows 26 points a game and will need an impressive game against a talented Western Kentucky team.
Western Kentucky Trying To Finish Season Over The Hill
Western Kentucky is built on defense, as it gave up only 20.2 points a game and is a top 40 team nationally in rush defense. As previously mentioned, the Hilltoppers will have their work cut out for them trying to slow down Bellamy.
The third-down percentage and red zone defense are what really stand out for the Western Kentucky defense, as opponents are converting third downs at just 29 percent.
Their red-zone defense is also particularly stingy, as the Hilltoppers allow touchdowns only 48 percent of the time.
Deangelo Malone has 90 tackles for the year, including 21 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. Kyle Bailey will also have to continue to have success in the secondary, as his nine pass breakups and two interceptions both lead the team.
Quarterback Ty Stoney should cause problems with his passing and running ability. His passer rating is among the top 50 in the NCAA, and he has completed 70 percent of his passes this year.
Stoney has accounted for 21 scores this season through the air and rushing and will need that continued success for the Hilltoppers to win.
Our Western Michingan Vs. Western Kentucky First Responder Bowl Betting Pick
The running game will be a crucial battle in this one, as Western Michigan will look to establish the run early, and Western Kentucky is among the best at stopping the run.
Defense Wins Bowl Games
The Hilltoppers will win this game by slowing down the Western Michigan ground attack and making the Broncos go to the passing game, which will lead to turnovers.
Western Kentucky is also 5-0 ATS in its last five, while Western Michigan has been the favorite in its last four games and has failed to cover in three of those contests. Western Kentucky -3.5 to win the Servpro First Responder Bowl is the safest pick.
Western Michigan Vs. Western Kentucky Game Information
- Date: Monday, Dec. 30, 2019
- Game Time: 12:30 pm ET
- Venue: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas
- TV: ESPN
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