Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. UTSA Roadrunners Picks, Predictions, Odds

Dec. 3, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert

The C-USA Conference Championship game features the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers hitting the road to take on the UTSA Roadrunners. Kick off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET and will air on CBS Sports Network from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Score Prediction

UTSA 41, Western Kentucky 37

Best Bets

UTSA +4 (-110) at PointsBet

Over 73.5 (-108) at UniBet

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. UTSA Roadrunners Predictions

The UTSA Roadrunners’ unbeaten dream came to an end last week. UTSA was dismantled in Denton by North Texas to end the regular season 11-1. They have the chance to grab their first Conference USA championship against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers though. The Roadrunners were initially short favorites in this game, but the Hilltoppers are the favorites now.

There has been a lot of action on Western Kentucky ahead of this game. The Hilltoppers rank 24th in SP+ thanks to their high-flying offense, while the Roadrunners rank 55th in SP+. UTSA beat Western Kentucky 52-46 on the road earlier in the year though, and the Roadrunners have to be the choice after this line movement.

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Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. UTSA Roadrunners Betting Odds

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Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. UTSA Roadrunners Betting Resources

  • Matchup: CUSA Championship
  • Date: Friday, December 3, 2021
  • Venue: Alamodome
  • Location: San Antonio, Texas
  • TV-Time: CBSSN, 7:00 p.m. ET

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-4
  • ATS: 9-3
  • O/U: 8-4

Bailey Zappe leads the nation in passing yards. The Houston Baptist transfer has thrived in the FBS, completing 70% of his passes for almost 5,000 yards (8.6 YPA) with 52 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season. Only 17 quarterbacks have thrown for more than 5,000 yards in a season, and Zappe could make a run at the top five with a strong performance in San Antonio and in the bowl game.

Western Kentucky has two 1,000-yard receivers. Jerreth Sterns has 127 receptions for 1,539 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Mitchell Tinsley has 71 catches for 1,126 yards with 10 touchdowns. Malachi Corley is someone to watch as a short yardage receiver too, as he has 66 receptions for 650 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Hilltoppers don’t run the ball much in this offense. Noah Whittington has been more efficient than Adam Cofield, so Whittington should see most of the carries.

This defense is better than expected given the pass happy offense on the other side of the ball. Western Kentucky is allowing 27.5 PPG and 412.7 YPG, and Deangelo Malone leads the team in tackles (79), sacks (7.5), and forced fumbles (four).

UTSA Roadrunners Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 11-1
  • ATS: 8-4
  • O/U: 6-6

Frank Harris has had a nice season at the helm of UTSA’s offense. The senior had the best year of his career by far under Jeff Traylor, completing 66.5% of his passes for 8.0 YPA with 23 touchdowns and five interceptions. Harris is averaging 5.1 YPC with five touchdowns as a runner, and he is the second-leading rusher on the Roadrunners.

The ground game is paced by Sincere McCormick. He is sure to grab all-conference honors after a year in which McCormick ran for 1,275 yards (4.9 YPC) with 12 touchdowns.

De’Corian Clark had his best game of the season the first time he faced Western Kentucky. Clark had seven receptions for 160 yards and three touchdowns, and Joshua Cephus had eight catches for 83 yards and a score. Zakhari Franklin has been the leading receiver this season though with 67 receptions for 871 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The UTSA defense ranks 61st in SP+. The Roadrunners are allowing 24.2 PPG and 366.8 YPG, and the run defense has been very good. This front seven is allowing just 3.4 YPC and 124.2 YPG. However, the secondary has been a concern as the Roadrunners are allowing 8.2 YPA. Keep an eye on linebacker Clarence Hicks and safety Rashad Wisdom.

UTSA has gone UNDER the point total in six of its last seven home games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

  • Record: 8-4
  • VI Ranking: 83
  • Points Scored: 519
  • Points Allowed: 324
  • PS/G: 43.2 (2nd)
  • PA/G: 27 (76th)

Inside the Stats - UTSA Roadrunners

  • Record: 11-1
  • VI Ranking: 36
  • Points Scored: 443
  • Points Allowed: 266
  • PS/G: 36.9 (14th)
  • PA/G: 22.2 (33rd)

Key Players to Watch

  • WKY: Bailey Zappe - QB (407/581, 4,968 yards, 52 TD, 9 INT)
  • WKY: Jerreth Sterns - WR (127 catches, 1,539 yards, 12 TD)
  • UTSA: Frank Harris - QB (222/335, 2,688 yards, 23 TD, 5 INT)
  • UTSA: Zakhari Franklin - WR (67 catches, 871 yards, 10 TD)

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. UTSA Roadrunners Betting Conclusion

Zappe has the potential to light up UTSA’s defense and should have success, but the Roadrunners will be too much for the Hilltoppers. UTSA will be able to run on this front seven with McCormick, and Harris will have success through the air.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. UTSA Roadrunners Betting Trends

  • Western Kentucky has covered the spread in five straight games.
  • UTSA has gone UNDER the point total in six of its last seven home games.
  • Western Kentucky has won seven straight games.