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South Alabama vs. Western Kentucky picks and best bets for New Orleans Bowl

South Alabama was a very quiet 10-win team this season but have a tough challenge in WKU’s potent offense.

NCAA Football: Boca Raton Bowl-Memphis vs Western Kentucky Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (8-5, 6-2 CUSA) take on the South Alabama Jaguars (10-2, 7-1 Sun Belt) in the New Orleans Bowl. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET at the SuperDome, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Jags might be one of the least talked about 10-win teams in the nation this year. They lost a close game to UCLA early in the year that they arguably should’ve won if not for a botched fake FG attempt. USA rolled off five straight wins to put a cap on the regular season too. Their defense is limiting opponents to under 20 points per game. That unit is led by Jaden Voisin. The DB leads the team in tackles, has two picks, five passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this season too.

Western Kentucky won three of their final four games on the season, including the season finale over FAU. They score a lot of points, over 35 per game on average, and are led by QB Austin Reed. He’s got over 4200 yards through the air and 36 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions. He also has eight more scores on the ground this year.

Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: South Alabama -4
Total: 57.5
Moneyline: South Alabama -180, Western Kentucky +155

Key players that have opted-out, injuries for New Orleans Bowl

South Alabama

  • OT Anterrious Gray (transfer portal)
  • WR Devin Voisin (injured)

Western Kentucky

  • S Talique Allen (transfer portal)
  • TE Joey Beljan (transfer portal)
  • S Arthur Brathwaite (transfer portal)
  • OT Gunner Britton (transfer portal)
  • WR Daewood Davis (NFL Draft)
  • LB JaQues Evans (transfer portal)
  • LB Matthew Flint (transfer portal)
  • CB Kahlef Hailassie (NFL Draft)
  • K Brayden Narveson (transfer portal)
  • QB Darius Ocean (transfer portal)
  • TE Joshua Simon (transfer portal)
  • OC Rusty Staats (transfer portal)
  • CB B.J. Wagner (transfer portal)


The New Orleans bowl takes place in a dome, so weather won’t impact the game.

The Pick: WKU +155

This game is strength on strength with a potent offense facing off with an elite defense. The Jags are favored, but they haven’t looked super strong recently despite coming away with wins. Reed won’t put up his normal video game like numbers, but he’s still going to move the ball effectivley.