A two-game slate on Friday brings with it our UAB vs. Western Kentucky prediction and full college football betting preview. The Blazers and Hilltoppers are in need of a win to stay within a game of first place in Conference USA, as they both sit at 2-1 in conference play this season.
UAB vs. Western Kentucky Betting Preview
Western Kentucky (-1.5)
Western Kentucky (-125); UAB (+105)
- Game time
8 p.m. ET
Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY
- Predicted weather at kickoff
61 degrees, clear, 6-8 mph winds
- How to watch
Playing DFS football for this one? Set your lineup with the best quality players from each of these offenses. Take advantage of any offering you can find, like this one here, that grants you $10 on any $1 entry on FanDuel.
Top DFS Picks and Fantasy Plays
- QB Austin Reed, WKU ($11,500)
- QB Dylan Hopkins, UAB ($9,000)
- QB Bryson Lucero, UAB ($5,000)
- RB DeWayne McBride, UAB ($10,500)
- RB Kye Robichaux, WKU ($8,300)
- RB Davion Ervin-Poindexter, WKU ($6,600)
- RB Jermaine Brown Jr., UAB ($6,000)
- RB Jakairi Moses, WKU ($5,100)
- RB L.T. Sanders, WKU ($4,700)
- WR Daewood Davis, WKU ($9,500)
- WR Malachi Corley, WKU ($9,200)
- WR Trea Shropshire, UAB ($8,700)
- WR Jaylen Hall, WKU ($6,500)
- WR Michael Mathison, WKU ($5,900)
- WR Tejhaun Palmer, UAB ($5,800)
- WR Samario Rudolph, UAB ($5,400)
- WR T.J. Jones, UAB ($5,200)
- WR Dakota Thomas, WKU ($5,000)
- TE Joshua Simon, WKU ($6,100)
- TE Dalvin Smith, WKU ($5,500)
- TE Joey Beljan, WKU ($5,300)
- TE Bryce Damous, UAB ($4,500)
The name of the game for WKU is their aerial assault. Austin Reed hasn’t quite picked up right where Bailey Zappe left off last year, but he’s still manufactured the sixth-most passing yards per game as a team this season.
Reed picks up the highest price tag in this one because he’s thrown 21 touchdown passes so far this year and is averaging 43 pass attempts per game. You can bet he’ll get his attempts and certainly find the end zone at least once in this game.
That being said, the Blazers’ defense is a top-15 unit and the best passing defense in C-USA. Just how much will WKU be able to throw on this talented secondary? The answer is likely less than you’d expect.
Mac McWilliams, Keondre Swoopes, and Grayson Cash are the household names for the Blazers’ secondary, which has allowed just two passing touchdowns all season long (their underneath linebacking corps has given up the other two).
Your best advice here is to put your high-end money elsewhere than trusting Reed against UAB’s defense. Instead, spend the high ticket on DeWayne McBride.
Despite WKU’s top-ranked run defense, the Hilltoppers haven’t quite faced a running back like McBride. In just five games this year, he’s averaging nearly seven yards per carry and has scored 11 touchdowns. McBride is averaging 154.8 yards per contest and can take over games at will. Grab him at the top of your lineup and avoid Reed.
As far as pass-catching options in this outing, it’s unlikely that you can grab one of the top two WKU receivers and still spread your money properly elsewhere. Go with the lower top-tier option of Trea Shropshire from UAB. He’s the most targeted receiver on UAB’s roster and averages the nation’s best 25.9 yards per reception among qualified receivers.
Other options could be WKU’s lower-priced receivers in Jaylen Hall or Michael Mathison, but they’d largely be touchdown-dependent against a vaunted UAB secondary.
Prediction for UAB vs. Western Kentucky
For this one, two largely different offenses are in action on the field in Bowling Green. UAB’s ground-and-pound scheme will quite literally bring defenses to submission.
WKU’s pass-happy offensive concepts will give defensive backs fits as they try to run around with a copious number of weapons in the Hilltoppers’ receiver room.
UAB — 205.5 yards per game (105th nationally, 10th C-USA)
WKU — 344.7 (sixth, first)
UAB — 176.2 yards allowed per game (15th, first)
WKU — 242.4 (82nd, fifth)
UAB — 243.5 yards per game (eighth, second)
WKU — 144.4 (77th, fifth)
UAB — 143.0 yards allowed per game (66th, second)
WKU — 120.4 (26th, first)
Western Kentucky’s offense isn’t quite like it was last year with Zappe and offensive coordinator Zach Kittley. However, Kittley’s protégé has done a terrific job at the helm. Ben Arbuckle has taken yet another transfer QB and made him one of the nation’s most prolific passers.
Reed, who transferred in from West Florida, has absolutely looked the part since his Week 0 debut. The weapons at his disposal have looked even better, and Malachi Corley has turned scout’s eyes this season.
As good as they may be in 2022, the UAB defense has looked even more like their lockdown defenses of old. Out is Bill Clark but in to stay is the defensive prowess the Blazers have become known for.
The secondary is just as stacked as ever, and Grayson Cash is playing the best football of his five-year career at safety. UAB’s pass defense and WKU’s passing attack will both be tested.
The advantage for the Blazers is the fact that they can rely on McBride and his gritty, tenacious rushing style. He’ll keep WKU’s offense off the field and give his defenders a rest as he wills the UAB offense to the red zone.
However, UAB has been terrible once they get to the red zone this season, scoring on just 71.4% of their drives. That figure ranks just as the 11th-worst mark in the country, leaving the scoring area on eight different drives without any points at all.
WKU’s defense has allowed a touchdown on just 57.7% of their red-zone stands this year, ranking in the top half nationally. Despite a great pass defense, UAB can’t hang with WKU if they don’t convert their red-zone trips to points.
Ultimately, a field goal makes the difference in these two, but be mindful of the total points and secure the under.
Prediction: Western Kentucky 30, UAB 27