LendingTree Bowl: WKU vs. Georgia State odds, preview, and pick
On the day after Christmas, two teams with a combined 10 wins between them will take to the field in the 22nd Lending Tree Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers take on the Georgia State Panthers.
In a year without much interconference competition, it will be an interesting matchup between teams from Conference USA and the Sun Belt.
Sat, December 26 2020, 8:30 PM
Georgia State Panthers
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Western Kentucky is picking up steam
Western Kentucky enters this matchup at 5-6 straight up, and 4-7 against the spread. Georgia State is 5-4, and a more profitable 6-3 against the spread. Despite its poor record against the spread, Western Kentucky has covered in two straight games and won its last three games straight up heading into this bowl game. They are quite clearly better than the team that started the first half of the year.
The Hilltoppers are led by quarterback, Tyrrell Pigrome, who has been a steady, if not prolific, leader in 2020. Pigrome has nine touchdowns and zero interceptions, and is the team’s second leading rusher with 316 yards on the ground and three scores. Western Kentucky relies on its defense, as the Hilltoppers are just 115th in the nation in scoring offense. If Pigrome can manage an effective game and take care of the ball, it will keep his team in the game.
Georgia State is far more prolific on offense
Georgia State has fared far better on offense in 2020, and comes in 37th in the nation in scoring offense. The Panthers average 227 yards per game through the air, and 190 yards per game on the ground. This balanced offense is led by quarterback, Cornelious Brown IV, who is a pro style passer and a former three-star recruit.
While Brown will likely improve, he has shown signs of youth this year in his redshirt freshman campaign, throwing nine interceptions. The Western Kentucky defense will be ready to capitalize if he makes mistakes.
Will Georgia State cover the spread against Western Kentucky in the LendingTree Bowl?
Expect a low-scoring affair
While it’s easy to look at Georgia State and see a superior offense and a better record against both the spread and in the win-loss column, I believe there is a big difference this year between Conference USA and the Sun Belt.
The Sun Belt received a lot of hype to kick off the season, but several of its teams have been near the bottom in many metrics, and in a low-scoring, presumably ugly game, points have intrinsic value. I’ll take those points in a game that Western Kentucky will likely look to keep close and low-scoring.
Score prediction: Western Kentucky 24, Georgia State 20