Week 1: Hilltoppers vs Commodores Odds
College football betting sees the WKU Hilltoppers taking on the Vanderbilt Commodores Thursday September 3rd at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions.
WKU (0-0) vs. Vanderbilt (0-0)
Date: Thursday, September 3rd
Time: 8:00 PM
Venue: Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville
NCAA Football Spread: WKU -2.5
NCAA Betting Total: 65.5
NCAA Moneyline Odds: WKU -135
Western Kentucky comes into Nashville to take on the Commodores of Vanderbilt following a 8-5 2014 campaign capped off by a thrilling 49-48 victory over Central Michigan in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl.
Vanderbilt is looking to rebound from yet another disappointing season in 2014 when they went 3-9 in the first season under Derek Mason.
Western Kentucky returns 7 starters from a 2014 offense that ranked 6th in the FBS in scoring – including quarterback Brandon Doughty who led the FBS in passing yards in 2014 and posted a 167.1 quarterback rating which ranked third only behind Marcus Mariota (you may have heard of him) and JT Barrett.
While Doughty’s string of opponents wasn’t quite the same as Mariota in 2014 and Western Kentucky is much too low profile of a school for Doughty to have a shot at the Heisman this year, you may be seeing Doughty playing football on Sundays in the next few years.
The Hilltoppers have fared well in non-conference games in recent years going 10-5 ATS since 2012.
Western Kentucky is currently sitting as a 2.5 point favorite on the road according to Sportbook.ag. The Hilltoppers were road favorites just once last season and lost the game outright to Florida Atlantic.
Led by Doughty, Western Kentucky did win at Marshall and Navy and averaged 38.6 ppg in all road games. They also nearly won at Illinois in the second week of season last year – blowing a fourth quarter lead by giving up 21 in the final frame after giving up 21 in the previous three.
Doughty has what it takes to pick apart the defenses of the C-USA and he was quoted saying he likes their team up against anyone in the country (!?). While that may not be true, they may have what it takes to go up against one of the bottomfeeders of the SEC.
While its been said time and time again how the conference schedule for SEC teams is brutally tough week after week, the SEC teams often load up their non-conference schedule with some cupcakes. Well, the Hilltoppers will be no cupcake for Vandy.
The Commodores will bring back 19 starters for Derek Mason in his second season after a 3-9 disappointing season. Mason will have more control of the defense this season but brings back a unit that gave up 33 points per game last season.
Vandy will open the season with a Thursday night game at home again this season. They will look to forget last year’s opener in which they lost 37-7 to Temple in a game which Vandy turned the ball over SEVEN times.
It didn’t get much better the rest of the way as the Commodores only posted wins against UMass, Charleston Southern, and Old Dominion.
Normally, returning 19 starters would be a sign of hope for a team going into a new season. That is not the case for Vandy.
They have not publicly announced their starting quarterback for Week 1 – which is never a good sign. They bring back no real strong rushing or receiving threat.
The defense may be improved but an inconsistent offense will leave the defense on the field more time than they can handle.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
• Hilltoppers were 6-7 ATS in 2014 including 3-2 non-conference games
• In 6 wins ATS in 2014, the Hilltoppers covered by an average of 21.3 ppg
• Commodores were 6-6 ATS in 2014, 1-3 in non-conference games
• Commodores were 3-5 ATS at home in 2014, 2-2 as home underdog
Week 1 NCAA Football Prediction
Led by Doughty, Western Kentucky likely will have to win their games in 2015 the same way they did in 2014 – by virtue of a shootout.
While Vandy may find ways to put up points against WKU’s horrific defense, their only chance at winning will be controlling the football.
There are too many questions at quarterback for that to happen. The Hilltoppers will enjoy a road victory over an SEC team to start their 2015 campaign.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: WKU -2.5
If whoever starts at quarterback for Vandy doesn’t protect the football, this could turn into another repeat of their 2014 opener.
Doughty will be really exciting to watch this year and this will be one of his few chances to show up in the national spotlight.
Week 1 Score Prediction: WKU 41 – Vanderbilt 27
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