Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST
MID-TENN ST +7 -105 over Western Kentucky
Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium – Murfreesboro, TN
Streaming ESPN 3 and Fubo TV (If we find this game, we’ll tweet it out)
5:00 PM EST. Rivalry games are a venue for the unexpected. They can also be a catalyst for a team in search of a spark to get their seasons back on track. For both the Blue Raiders and the Hilltoppers, “100 Miles of Hate” will give both sides a chance to change the trajectory of their campaigns.
The tale of the tape between these two bitter foes is one that spans over a century. With such an acrimonious feud with more venom and vitriol than what was witnessed in the recent Presidential debate, it would be tedious to reiterate that the stats, numbers, and metrics go out the window in a match of this magnitude. That alone creates value on backing the dog in this contest but it doesn’t stop there.
We are not huge fans of laying points on the road, as there are plenty of perils that can come with such a position. However, to do so in a rivalry game like this one presents even more danger and that is before we take a look under the hood of both combatants.
In recent memory to the Blue Raider faithful, Western Kentucky has been a villain that has slipped away. WKU has won four of the last five meetings between both parties, but in the last three wins by the ‘Toppers, overtime was required in two of them, and they won all three victories by a combined nine points. Last year, the Blue Raiders took a lead into the fourth quarter in Bowling Green when they visited their old nemesis before the ‘Toppers slipped away in a 31-26 win.
We highlighted that MTSU did in fact snag one win two years ago in Murfreesboro against Western Kentucky but that was a different set of circumstances. The ‘Toppers were in disarray then and the Blue Raiders were considered a contender for the Conference USA race. Middle Tennessee State was supposed to win that game, and win they did. However, this Western Kentucky bunch is supposed to be a new and improved edition. After all, Head Coach Tyson Helton got this team off to a 9-4 record in his first season skippering the Hilltoppers in 2019. WKU was projected to attain similar success in 2020, even if they have started off the season with a loss at Louisville (who they played tough) and then stubbing its toe in a 30-24 upset defeat at Liberty, closing as a 14½-point choice and therein lies the problem with spotting points with a sloppy team that is rarely asked to win by such a margin. This year, the value has faded on WKU but the lofty expectations have not. The Hilltoppers are being asked to lay prices that are not conducive to sloppy teams and while the expected athleticism has been on display, indications are that the maturity, discipline and consistency are sketchy enough to run from investing, thus leaving the home underdog in a great position to cover.
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MID-TENN ST +7 -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)