The Marshall Thundering Herd take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in a crucial Conference-USA game. Tip is set for 5 p.m. (ET) and will air on CBS Sports Network from Bowling Green, Kentucky.
WHERE TO BET MARSHALL-WESTERN KENTUCKY
Marshall-Western Kentucky Betting Odds
Odds Subject to Change
Western Kentucky opens as the slight home favorite, given a -3-point spread. The Hilltoppers have failed to cover the spread in nine of their last 13 games this season. Marshall is just one game above .500 in covering the spread (5-4).
The point total is somewhat high, set at 151 which both schools usually go UNDER on. Western Kentucky has gone UNDER in eight of its last 13 games, while Marshall is 4-5 on the O/U.
Betting Analysis – Marshall Thundering Herd
Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)
From a national standpoint, not much is known about either school. That should change as we inch closer towards March Madness though, as both are great contenders to win the C-USA tournament. Marshall coach Dan D'Antoni has seen his squad play upset alert in the Big Dance already.
Marshall has won seven of nine games this season, splitting a recent series with Louisiana Tech before losing to MAC-favorite Toledo in overtime. The Thundering Herd have seen two solid wins over Ohio and Wright State, two schools near or at the top of their respected conferences.
Taevion Kinsey leads Marshall in points per game, averaging over 20. He is the heartbeat of this Marshall team, averaging 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. The production actually trickles throughout this team, not really a start-and-go offense based on how Kinsey is steering the wheel.
Jarrod West averages an insane 6.8 assists per game, while Jannson Williams and Mikel Beyers provide excellent experience and production. Andrew Taylor's efficiency usually goes overlooked as well, averaging over seven points and over six rebounds per game.
There is a lot to like about D'Antoni's club, including a potent offense that averages just over 80 points per game (ranks 43rd nationally). Marshall is an extremely efficient passing club, averaging 16.4 assists per game which ranks 45th in the nation. They also do a good job of finding the three-point shot, taking 26.8 per game (ranks 37th nationally) and making 8.9 per game (ranks 57th nationally).
Although Marshall gives up a lot of points, they do have an efficient defense. Their defensive rating is 94.1 which ranks 91st in the nation, while they also average 5.8 blocks per game which ranks seventh in the nation. Williams is going to be the difference maker for Marshall on defense if they plan to win (more on in a minute).
Taylor is equally as important, a big reason for Marshall's 29.1 defensive rebounds per game (ranks 26th nationally). The reason both Williams and Taylor are actually more crucial to Marshall's success in this game than Kinsey might be is because of one man - Charles Bassey.
Betting Analysis – Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)
Charles Bassey is going to be difficult for Marshall to stop, but it begins with Williams and Taylor. Bassey averages a double-double and is the focal point of this Western Kentucky team. Taveion Hollingsworth gives the Hilltoppers an added boost on offense, but this team goes as far as Bassey goes.
Hollingsworth impacts the game on the charity stripe, taking 5.8 free throws per game which is the most for Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers shoot the 29th-most free throws per game in the country (16.6) and convert 79% of them which ranks ninth in the nation.
If Hollingsworth can get to the free throw line and convert, then Western Kentucky may have the slight boost to get the home win. Bassey can only do so much, also averaging 3.3 blocks per game which has helped Western Kentucky see the 79th most blocks per game nationally.
This very much seems to be a battle between Bassey and the Williams/Young pairing for Marshall, while Tinsey and Hollingsworth will have to each fill in the gaps where needed. The one thing Western Kentucky does a terrible job of is shooting the three-point shot. So Bassey's inside presence and Hollingsworth ability to get to the line by driving to the rim will ultimately decide this game.
Inside the Stats – Marshall Thundering Herd
Inside the Stats – Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Key Players to Watch
Marshall-Western Kentucky Predictions
This game very much feels like a split, so let's see what the odds say. Western Kentucky is 4-9 on the ATS this season, so perhaps start there with taking Marshall. Since the spread is so low, consider Marshall at plus-value to win SU.
This bet is purely based on value and the 4-9 ATS for Western Kentucky though. Looking at the stats, Western Kentucky will win if they dominate the paint, but will lose if Marshall is hitting their three's.
The odds also indicate the point total going UNDER 151, as the schools are a combined 9-13 on the O/U this season. Both teams need to eclipse 70 points for the OVER to hit, which is possible.
Western Kentucky has only seen a team touch 70 once over its last four games, and that game went into overtime (which is very possible to occur in this game). Marshall has gone OVER the given 151 point total in seven of its last eight games, despite a 4-5 O/U this season. Consider both teams touching 70 and actually going against the grain for the OVER as the over best bet here.
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