In the last decade, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers have made a name for themselves as an up-and-coming Group of 5 school in the FBS.
Despite failing to make noise on the national stage for the most part, the Hilltoppers have fared well as a member of Conference USA.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers History
Western Kentucky football has existed for over 100 years, but it wasn’t until 1978 that the Hilltoppers made the jump to Division I. They resided in the FCS for 30 years before making the final leap up to the FBS in 2008.
As a member of the FCS, Western Kentucky claimed the school’s only football national championship in 2002 under the leadership of Jack Harbaugh. Jack is the father of Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.
Harbaugh left Western Kentucky following the championship and was replaced by David Elson, who led the program into its first season in the FBS in 2009. The FBS wasn’t kind to Elson, as he got canned after he and the Hilltoppers posted an 0-12 record in their first season.
Jeff Brohm was the first coach to establish a winning culture in Bowling Green, Kentucky as a member of the FBS. Brohm led the team to a 30-10 record and its first AP Top-25 ranking during his three-year tenure from 2014-2016.
Betting on the Hilltoppers in Kentucky
Sports betting is currently illegal in Kentucky, but the Bluegrass State did make strides toward legalization in the 2022 legislative session.
State Rep. Adam Koenig’s proposal nearly made it through the legislature, but it failed on the last day of the 2022 session. Ultimately, there was no agreement, but the progress has given some Kentucky legislators hope for 2023.
The bill would have legalized both retail and mobile sports betting, and it had support from Senate leadership. Although it didn’t quite make it, it seems Kentucky will eventually legalize sports betting.
When that day does come, placing a wager on the Hilltoppers might look something like this:
- Western Kentucky Hilltoppers -7
- Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders +7
In this example, Western Kentucky is a touchdown-favorite over its rival, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. A bettor backing the Hilltoppers is counting on them to defeat Middle Tennessee by at least 8 points. If WKU wins by fewer than 7 points, Middle Tennessee covers the spread. If WKU wins by exactly 7 points, the game results in a push, where bettors on both sides of the spread are reimbursed but do not make a profit.