The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Georgia State Panthers meet in the LendingTree Bowl on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. On the hype meter, the LendingTree Bowl has to rank at the bottom of the list. I don’t know anyone particularly excited about this matchup between Western Kentucky and Georgia State. Other than the diehard Hilltopper and Panther fans, this is going to get a pass for most people, especially with the NFL on today.
Maybe if this were the only game on the menu, then the LendingTree Bowl wouldn’t look too bad. It’s a game that is available for wagering, so let’s put it this way, it’s a big game for sports bettors. The bowl season has been perfect for me, as I found another winner on Buffalo yesterday over Marshall. At least the Marshall defense showed up, but the Thundering Herd continued to show a lack of drive once again. Their offense tailed off hard towards the end of the season, and it continued on Christmas.
No shocker that Marshall was a no show offensively in their bowl game. Western Kentucky and Georgia State should at least provide an entertaining contest in this one. When I say entertaining, don’t expect a blowout with either team running away with a big win in this ball game. It should be a steady outing for both teams, with the offense that makes the most mistakes is likely going to lose. Western Kentucky are coming off a 37-19 win to close out the regular season. It was an up and down campaign for the Hilloppers.
Western Kentucky goes into Saturday with a record of 5-6, having won their last three games to get into bowl consideration. Their defense really turned it up ten notches, as they limited Southern Mississippi, FIU, and Charlotte offensively. Conversely, Georgia State have been about the same this season. They finished with a record of 5-4 and a lot of up and down play from them. The Panthers closed out the season with a win over Georgia Southern, 30-24, and South Alabama, 31-14. Head below for our free Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State pick for December 26, 2020.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Georgia State Panthers LendingTree Bowl Betting Odds:
Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State Prediction:
It’s been hard to get a read on Georgia State this season. They’ve been good in spots, but really horrible in others. For instance, they were blown out by Coastal Carolina, 51-0, but then lost a close one against Appalachian State, 17-13. Georgia State also played Louisiana close in the season in a 34-31 loss. Those were both “good” losses for the Panthers. However, then they have games where the defense went haywire and lost 59-52 against Arkansas State. The offense and defense truly decides to show up when it wants and goes to sleep in other spots.
Quarterback Cornelius Brown is the sparkplug of the offense for the Panthers. Brown has passed for 14 touchdowns and 9 interceptions on 59.1% completions. That does not sound good, but Brown has also scored 7 rushing touchdowns. He can be a dual-threat that makes defenses pay attention to his running ability. Fortunately for Western Kentucky, Brown is not going to run all over their defense. He isn’t fast enough to take over a game with his legs, though Brown can move around. That said, the Hilltoppers likely have the talent on defense to neutralize Brown.
Western Kentucky were quite active defensively this season, and the good news is that they got better as the season progressed. The Hilltoppers gave up an average of 336.3 yards and 24.1 points per game. Their ability to stop the pass was top-notch, and gave several quarterbacks plenty of problems in 2020. Western Kentucky conceded just 170.1 passing yards per game. That was eighth in the FBS, ahead of West Virginia and Liberty. Western Kentucky conceded only 14.25 points per in their final four games of the regular season. The Hilltoppers can certainly make Brown miserable in this contest.
The Panthers have not been on par with Western Kentucky defensively. Note that Georgia State has gotten throttled, especially through the air, for 284.1 passing yards per game. They were average against the run with 140.2 yards per game. Overall, the Panthers allowed an average of 32.9 points a game. I suspect that dual-threat Tyrrell Pigrome should do enough for the Hilltoppers in this contest. Pigrome has passed for 9 touchdowns and 0 interceptions on 58.3% completions. Note that Pigrome also gained 328 yards on the ground and 3 scores. Look for Pigrome to do enough, while the Western Kentucky defense dictates the pace. The points look awfully tempting in the LendingTree Bowl.