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Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion: Picks, best bets for Famous Toastery Bowl in Charlotte

The Hilltoppers and Monarchs meet in the Temporarily Relocated Bahamas Bowl.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 24 Liberty at WKU Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers take on the Old Dominion Monarchs in the Famous Toastery Bowl on Monday, December 18. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET from Charlotte, North Carolina.

WKU (7-5, 5-3 CUSA) finished the season on a two-game winning streak, defeated Sam Houston and FIU after falling to New Mexico State. The Hilltoppers were led by quarterback Austin Reed, who passed for over 3,300 yards this season. He finished the year with 31 passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Hilltoppers run an air-raid offense, and wide receiver Malachi Corley was frequently on the other end of Reed’s passes, catching 11 touchdowns in 2023.

ODU (6-6, 503 SBC) won their last two games over Georgia Southern and Georgia State. The Monarchs’ top running back, Kadarius Calloway, is questionable for the bowl. Wide receiver Javon Harvey, who had 391 receiving yards this season, will not play after entering the transfer portal. Quarterback Grant Wilson passed for over 2,000 yards this season, and finished with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Here’s everything you need to know and a pick for the bowl.

SP+ Rankings

WKU: 72 overall, 55 offense, 86 defense
ODU: 105 overall, 97 offense, 92 defense

List of injuries and players opting out of game

WKU

QB Austin Reed - Out (Draft prep)
WR Josh Sterns - Out (transfer portal)
QB Caden Veltkamp – Out (transfer portal, 2 pass attempts, 4 yards)
WR Malachi Corley - In
WR Blue Smith – Questionable

ODU

RB Kadarius Calloway - Questionable (undisclosed)
WR Marquez Bell - Out (transfer portal)
WR Javon Harvey - Out (transfer portal, 391 yards, 4 TDs)
WR Jordan Bly - Out (transfer portal, 13 receptions, 52 yards)
WR Ethan Presutty – Out (transfer portal)
RB Devin Roche – Questionable

ATS/Total

Against The Spread in 2023

WKU: 5-7 ATS
ODU: 7-5 ATS

Total in 2023

WKU: Over 6-6
ODU: Over 5-7

Team Pace

WKU: 25.1 seconds per play
ODU: 21.6 seconds per play

Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Old Dominion -6.5
Total: 49
Moneyline: Old Dominion -238, Western Kentucky +195

Weather

54°F, Sunny, 0% chance of rain, 11 MPH winds

Our Best Bet for the Famous Toastery Bowl

WKU +6.5

Old Dominion has struggled to defend the pass this season, and as they go up against the Hilltoppers’ air raid approach, the Monarchs will be caught on their heels. WKU looked solid against the run down the stretch, and should be able to cover the spread in Charlotte.