Betting preview for R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama


Previewing the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama

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This is the preview for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama (-4.5, 55.5)

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 21, 9:00  p.m. ET

Caesars Superdome (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Betting splits: 54% of handle, 57% of bets on Western Kentucky +4.5

This line has been quite the roller coaster ride. DraftKings opened South Alabama at -3.5, which was adjusted up to as high as -8 based on betting action and the announcement that Western Kentucky QB Austin Reed was in the transfer portal. The line stayed that way for over a week before Reed announced that he withdrew from the portal and returned to WKU, setting the line back at -4.5.

With Reed back in the mix, this, once again, becomes one of the more fascinating bowl games. Western Kentucky was second in the nation in passing yards but also ranked in the top 40 in yards per carry. South Alabama was not nearly as potent on offense but still racked up 5.84 yards per play. While that number is about 0.75 YPP behind the Hilltoppers, the Jaguars’ defense ranked in the top 20 in YPP. Western Kentucky wasn’t bad either, ranking in the top 40.

These are two very well-coached teams, with up-and-comer Kane Wommack on the South Alabama sidelines and Tyson Helton for Western Kentucky. Both teams played bad schedules, with Western Kentucky sitting 120th per Jeff Sagarin going into the bowl season and South Alabama 129th. Reed’s presumptive absence made this an easy handicap, but his return makes it a rather tricky game to bet.

The Jaguars are 0-2 in bowls and haven’t been to one since 2016, so program history is on the line here. This is actually the first time the Jaguars have had more than six wins in an FBS season, so they’d love to punctuate it with a bowl win, while the Hilltoppers are looking to improve to 6-3 all-time in bowls. – Adam Burke

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