Western Kentucky vs. Appalachian State Boca Raton Bowl Best Bets

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Bailey Zappe #4 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Nic Antaya/Getty Images/AFP

Can Western Kentucky and Appalachian State put on an offensive show in the Boca Raton Bowl? Keep reading to check the NCAAF odds and cash out at the top-rated online sportsbooks.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs Appalachian State Mountaineers

Saturday, December 18, 2021 – 11:00 AM EST at FAU Stadium

If you enjoy offense, the Boca Raton Bowl is likely for you. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers will take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers at FAU Stadium. Western Kentucky finished the season 8-5 on the year but had one of the best offenses in the nation.

The Hilltoppers nearly won the Conference USA title but came up short in the Championship game against UTSA. Before that game, Western Kentucky was consistently winning games behind one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.

Bailey Zappe threw for 56 touchdowns and 5,545 yards on the season. It’s surprising he didn’t get much love for the Heisman award. The senior lead Western Kentucky to an average of 43.1 points per game on offense and 528.4 yards per game as well.

The offense is simply elite but the defense wasn’t this season. The defense was instead average and allowed over 28 points per game on the year while also allowing 422.5 yards per game. Western Kentucky struggled mostly in the run game and has a much better pass rush and secondary unit in comparison to the run game.

The Hilltoppers allowed 161.3 yards per game on the ground along with 261.2 yards in the air. To be fair, Western Kentucky’s defense was playing a lot because of the number of touchdowns Western Kentucky would score per game.

On the other hand, Appalachian State lost the Sun Belt Championship to Louisiana and will now have the consolation prize of playing in the Boca Raton Bowl against another team that lost a championship game.

The Mountaineers, led by Chase Brice, averaged 34.2 points per game on 428.4 yards per game. That all sounds great until you realize that Western Kentucky earned 100 more yards than Appalachian State did this season.

Defensively, the Mountaineers were much better than Western Kentucky, allowing just 19.3 points per game and limiting opponents to 325.8 yards per game. Ironically, the best portion of the Appalachian State defense was the coverage in the secondary.

Prediction

If the secondary can hold Zappe just slightly, as UTSA did, Appalachian State will find a way to win this game. But even holding Zappe to 300 yards in this game won’t help the scoreboard stay silent.

There is potential for Western Kentucky’s pass rush to get through against borderline average pass protection for Appalachian State. Either way, I really think we see a ton of points in this game. Both offenses are led by senior quarterbacks that have combined for 79 touchdown passes on the year.

To beat Western Kentucky’s defense, you’ve got to run the ball. Appalachian State is rushing for 187.7 yards per game. To stop Western Kentucky’s offense, you have to put 12 men on the field. And that might not even work! So for our NCAAF picks, let’s take the over 68 in this game. It’s a high number but it’s still going to hit.

NCAAF Pick: Over 67.5 (-115) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Over 67.5 (-115)
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