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Group of Five Best Bets & Picks: Western Kentucky Headlines Top Plays in Statement-Making Spot

We’ve got a heavy dose of Group of Five action in college football this weekend, with games spread throughout the day on Saturday across all five conferences. So we’re going to dive right in and evaluate the best bets on the board, as several NCAAF lines across the AAC, Conference USA, and Sun Belt jump out.

Florida Atlantic Rolls Past a Struggling UAB Defense

To kick things off, we’ll start in the American Athletic Conference, where the 4-4 Florida Atlantic Owls travel to take on a struggling 2-6 UAB Blazers team. Through the first eight games of the 2023-24 college football season, UAB has been one of the worst teams defensively in the AAC in points per game, allowing 37.6, the second-most in the league.

Group of Five Best Bets & Picks: Western Kentucky Headlines Top Plays in Statement-Making Spot
LaJohntay Wester #1 of the Florida Atlantic Owls | Justin Casterline/Getty Images/AFP

As for Florida Atlantic, they’ve been a solid defensive group all year, allowing just 23.9 points per game, and have flashed some of their potential offensive upside in two of the past three games. While scoring 38 and 56 points against Charlotte and USF.

Those two victories were the most recent road games for Florida Atlantic, which is noteworthy considering how hard playing on the road in college football can be. Tack on the fact that each of UAB’s losses has come by double-digits, and grabbing a superior Owls team at just -1 as they look to move to 4-1 in conference play has the makings of one of the best college football bets today.

Florida Atlantic vs UAB Pick: Florida Atlantic -1

Western Kentucky Snaps Two-Game Skid With Double-Digit Victory

Western Kentucky has had a tough two-game stretch, falling to both Jacksonville State and Liberty, matchups which marked games against the two top teams in Conference USA. After a tough three-point loss to now-7-2 Jacksonville State, they lost by 13 to undefeated Liberty. Neither loss is a cause for concern, and their two other marks in that column came in road games against Ohio State and a Troy team that’s currently 6-2 on the year.

Western Kentucky has a legitimate case as the third-best team in Conference USA, and they face a 3-6 UTEP team that’s struggled against any legitimate opponent over the .500 mark. College football betting fans saw UTEP’s three victories came against Incarnate Word, a 4-5 (1-5 in conference play) Florida International, and then winless Sam Houston State last week in a narrow three-point game. Aside from an opening three-point loss to Jacksonville State, UTEP has lost its two other conference games by 14 and 21, both of which were played on their home field.

I don’t envision a home-field edge here for UTEP, and I think Western Kentucky looks to take out its frustration from two tough losses on someone, and that someone is going to be the Miners by double-digits.



Western Kentucky vs UTEP Pick: Western Kentucky -8½

Coastal Carolina’s Turnaround Continues With Road Win Over Old Dominion

As we move to the Sun Belt Conference, the headliner for this pick is a Coastal Carolina team that just weeks ago sat with a 2-3 record after losses to UCLA and two of the conference’s top teams in Georgia Southern and Georgia State, who are both 6-2 heading into this week.

But after the frustrating start to the year, Coastal Carolina has rallied in a big way during a pivotal stretch, ripping off three consecutive wins. The victories over Appalachian State, Arkansas State and Marshall have each been by a progressively larger margin, with the most recent being a 28-point victory over the Thundering Herd to drop them to .500.

This week, Coastal Carolina shifts its attention to Old Dominion (4-4), who sits level with them in the conference, as both hold a 3-2 record. While Old Dominion gets the home-field advantage here and has been playing well, with its most recent games being a narrow three-point road loss to James Madison and a victory over App State, they come into this match as underdogs in our NCAAF odds and willl get a big test from the red-hot Chanticleers on Saturday.

While I do think this game will be close, I’m expecting Coastal Carolina to push its win streak to four. They’ve been a slightly better group on both sides of the ball, averaging just under a touchdown more per game than ODU and allowing 5.4 points per game fewer throughout the season. I’ll take Coastal Carolina at what’s nearly a pick.

Coastal Carolina vs Old Dominion Pick: Coastal Carolina -1½



Questions Of The Day

Which Group of Five team is most undervalued by the odds this season?

There’s a ton of talent throughout the teams currently sitting around .500 or slightly better in the Sun Belt. Marshall is the choice, though, and their 1-3 conference record is misleading as they’ve fallen to three of the better teams in the conference. But going beyond that, they nearly defeated NC State on the road and took down Virginia Tech by a touchdown, yet seem to never receive much love.
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Which Group of Five team will have the best opportunity to win the conference title this season?

James Madison has looked to be far and away the best team in the Sun Belt Conference, sitting with an unbeaten 8-0 mark to start the year. But Liberty’s undefeated 8-0 start deserves as much, if not more, praise as well.
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