College Football Week 1 Picks: Bowling Green Falcons vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Bowling Green Falcons vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Friday, 8/29/14, 8:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread: Bowling Green -4
Current Betting Line:  Bowling Green -4
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

The Bowling Green Falcons will have opportunities to score against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in their 2014 season opener
The Bowling Green Falcons will have opportunities to score against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in their 2014 season opener

Bowling Green begins a new era under first-year head coach Dino Babers, who led Eastern Illinois to a 19-7 record in his two seasons, with the offensive leading all FCS programs in averaging 48.2 points and 589.5 yards per game in 2013.  Falcons junior quarterback Matt Johnson is capable of putting points on the scoreboard, as he threw for 3,467 yards and 25 touchdowns versus just seven interceptions a year ago.  Bowling Green has covered the number in its last four Friday games, which is important to consider when looking over the college football odds page in Week 1.

The Falcons captured a 41-21 win in this series back in 2007, but it’s important to point out that the Hilltoppers were transitioning to the FBS level during that particular year.  Bowling Green is 5-3 SU in its last eight road openers, while it has tallied a 9-0-1 mark in head coaching debuts since 1935.  On the defensive side of the ball, the team will definitely make things tough on opposing Mid-American Conference offenses, with leading tacklers DJ Lynch and Ryland Ward returning to the fold.

Western Kentucky will also possess a new look with head coach Jeff Brohm, who spent last season as the team’s assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.  He oversaw an offense that set 18 new school records and will have nine of 11 starters back from that high-powered group.  Brohm’s biggest challenge is replacing All-American running back Antonio Brown, who led the nation in all-purpose yardage the last two seasons.  Senior quarterback Brandon Doughty will need to avoid unnecessary mistakes this year, as he comes off a season of throwing for 2,857 yards, but tossing 14 picks in the process.  Western Kentucky is 1-5 ATS in its last six non-conference affairs.

The Hilltoppers are a solid 15-3 SU in home openers, but they’ve dropped their last three versus FBS opponents.  Western Kentucky is certainly going to be challenged defensively in this matchup, considering it needs to replace its entire starting linebacker corps and three of four starters in the secondary.

Sports bettors will likely play the total, as the OVER is 4-1 in the Falcons’ last five games on field turf.

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