The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers meet Thursday in college football action from Houchens Industries-LT Smith Stadium. The Raiders are coming off a matchup versus Colorado State. In that one Middle Tennessee took a tough eight-point loss. As for Western Kentucky, they played Troy in their last game. The Hilltoppers ended up falling by three in a close game. Check back all season long for free college football picks at Sports Chat Place.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
The Blue Raiders season began with a couple of losses. First was an unenviable matchup versus Alabama in a 56-7 defeat, then a 23-19 loss to Missouri. Middle Tennessee finally got into the win column in game three versus Murray State, taking it 35-14. Raiders QB Nicholas Vattiato posted 291 yards with two scores and a pick in the win.
In game four versus Colorado State, Middle Tennessee was up 17-10 at the break but fell behind 21-6 in the second half for a 31-23 defeat. Vattiato posted 279 yards with two touchdowns on 30-of-41 passing, and also led the rush with 47 yards and a score off 15 carries. Holden Willis was tops in receiving with nine catches for 118 yards and a TD.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Team Facts
Middle Tennessee has lost nine of its last 10 September road games against non-AP-ranked teams.
Middle Tennessee has covered the spread in each of its last four games as an underdog against non-AP-ranked teams.
Middle Tennessee has lost the first half in three of its last four games against conference opponents at L.T. Smith Stadium.
Ten of Middle Tennessee's last 12 September road games against non-AP-ranked teams have gone UNDER the total points line.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Over on the Hilltoppers’ side, they kicked off the season with two wins. Western Kentucky took out South Florida 41-24 in the opener, then rolled through Houston Christian with a 52-22 result. The Hilltoppers were stopped in their tracks by Ohio State in game three however, falling 63-10. WKU’s Austin Reed threw for 207 yards with a TD and an interception in the defeat.
Matched up against Troy, the Hilltoppers were able to hang around for the whole game but eventually lost 27-24 in a tough result. Western Kentucky got 268 yards and two scores from Red, while Malachi Corley put up nine catches for 112 yards and a TD. Elijah Young led a toothless rush on 10 yards off five carries.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Team Facts
Western Kentucky has won seven of its last eight games against Middle Tennessee.
Western Kentucky has covered the spread in eight of its last nine September games against non-AP-ranked teams.
Six of Western Kentucky's last seven September games as a home favorite against non-AP-ranked teams have gone OVER the total points line.
Western Kentucky ranked T3rd among FBS teams for Q2 win percentage last season (.786).
Western Kentucky ranked 4th among FBS teams for Q2 points per game last season (13.7).
Middle Tennessee ranked 6th among FBS teams for Q4 points allowed per game last season (3.9).
Middle Tennessee ranked 29th among FBS teams for H1 points per game last season (17.6).
ANDREW’S FREE PICK
I’ll probably try Middle Tennessee. This should be an interesting matchup, though; both teams are coming off tough losses and have plenty to clean up. The Blue Raiders put up 430 yards of offense (279 passing) versus Colorado State with 26 first downs and 5.1 yards per play. The two turnovers didn’t help however, nor did the 345 passing yards allowed to the Rams.
As for Western Kentucky, they were lucky to only fall to Troy by three points. The Hilltoppers put up just 20 rush yards (268 passing), 3-of-10 on third-down tries and 21:01 in time of possession. The Trojans made some key mistakes (three fumbles and seven penalties) that kept the game close. I don’t see the Hilltoppers keeping a cover pace here.