Western Kentucky vs. Texas El Paso Free Pick October 7, 2017
Larry Ness' Western Kentucky vs. Texas El Paso Free Pick
Start Time: October 07 2017, 8:00 PM
The 2-2 Western Kentucky HIlltoppers will visit the 0-5 UTEP Miners Saturday night in a C-USA contest. Western Ky has gone 2-2 in non-conference play and looks to win its conference opener against the win-less Miners, who ae already 0-1 in league action, having lost 31-14 at home to Rice (Owls are just 1-4, with UTEP being their only conquest).
Mike Sanford Jr is WKU’s first-year head coach, taking over for Jeff Brohm, who left for Purdue. Brohm was there three years and led the Hilltoppers to three straight bowls, while winning 12 and 11 games the last two seasons. Western Ky also averaged 44.4, 44,3 and 45.5 PPG in those three years, something this current edition can only dream about.
The 2017 Hilltoppers have scored 31 and 33 points in their wins but check in averaging 23.2 PPG (104th) on the season, about half of last year’s average. The only good news would be that the team’s defense has played much better than in recent years, allowing just 20.2 PPG (35th), which is about 10 points per game less than under Brohm.
Sean Kugler entered his fifth season at UTEP in 2017 and while he did get the Miners to a bowl game in 2014 (a 21-6 loss to Utah St) in his second season (rebounding from a 2-10 season in his 1st year at the school), UTEP came into this season off 5-7 and 4-8 years. The team’s 0-5 start is no accident, as the Miners are averaging 14.4 PPG (125th) on 220.6 YPG (130th), while allowing 45.2 PPG (127th) on 503.0 YPG (122nd).
Western Kentucky is the better team but the Hilltoppers have failed to cover a spread in 2017 (0-4 ATS). However, as noted, UTEP is a program in total disarray, evidenced by the fact that Kugler resigned late last Sunday. Yes, I’ll lay the points with Western Ky.
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