While we didn't get the lines for Thursday's MAC games into the Hustle Belt offices in time to advise bettors against the spread, we've got a juicy offering for Friday's MACtion. It's Bowling Green at Western Kentucky, meaning a team from the city of Bowling Green is guaranteed to start off 2014 with a victory. Three MAC games on Thursday, a real good one on Friday, before eight, count 'em eight, big ones on Saturday. By the time Sunday morning rolls around you should have a nice bankroll to start the season with. Let's make some money. Friday's Week 1 MAC pick:
Bowling Green (-7.5) at Western Kentucky
It's a new era for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. That dirtbag Bobby Petrino is gone, leaving WKU to accept the head coaching position at Louisville. Last year's offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm has been promoted to take over for Petrino after one year with the team. There was no bowling for the Hilltoppers last year, despite finishing 4-3 in the Sun Belt and 8-4 overall. WKU kicked off 2013 by knocking off the Kentucky Wildcats, 35-26. Western is done with the Fun Belt, and will compete in Conference USA this season.
Western Kentucky returns Brandon Doughty, a senior quarterback who rewrote school record books last season, while also showing flashes of recklessness. In his first full season as a starter, Doughty threw for 2,857 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. There's not a lot of returning talent in the backfield, and a ton of questions on defense. This is a team that will need to throw the ball competently against a good Bowling Green defense if they are to kick off the 2014 season with a win.
Bowling Green has eyes fixed on defending its 2013 MAC Championship this season. Last year the Falcons destroyed Northern Illinois, 47-27 in the MAC Championship game. BGSU enters this season as a popular pick to repeat, and certainly has the talent to do it. The Falcons have an impressive out of conference schedule as well, featuring two Big Ten schools, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Any fan who does not know the names Matt Johnson and Travis Greene will by season's end. Last season Johnson flew under the radar for some, in a conference that included record breakers Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois and Keith Wenning of Ball State. The numbers were impressive in any company, north of 3,400 yards, and 25 touchdowns against 7 interceptions. Johnson is on the short list to be named MAC Player of the Year for the 2014 season. As is Greene. Last season the sophomore rushed for just shy of 1,600 yards and found the endzone 11 times. Greene and Ball State's Jahwan Edwards will be the top MAC running backs this season.
I still love this bet. Western Kentucky is a solid squad by all measures, but Bowling Green returns so much explosive talent. Bowling Green could very well break the scoreboard. The Hilltopper defense is suspect, the Falcon defense less so. Friday night take the Falcons and lay the points.