Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#735 Charlotte 132.5 vs.
#736 Western Kentucky -6.5
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 5:00pm EST
Written by Blake V.

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#735 University of North Carolina at Charlotte
#736 Western Kentucky University
10-5
11-6
10-5
6-10
6-9
9-7
67
76
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A pair of teams at the top of the Conference USA standings will do battle when Western Kentucky hosts Charlotte on Saturday night at E.A. Diddle Arena. Charlotte is 10-5 and has won four games in a row. The Hilltoppers have won seven of the last nine head-to-head meetings and are 11-6 this season.

Charlotte on four-game winning streak

Charlotte’s four-game winning streak has come on the heels of a narrow loss to East Carolina before Christmas. The 49ers have put together a strand of wins against UAB, Middle Tennessee State, Old Dominion and Marshall. Their most recent victory was the 77-75 win on the road against the Thundering Herd. Charlotte led by nine points at halftime and held off Marshall late in the game to improve to 4-0 in conference play.

The 49ers are led by junior guard Jordan Shepherd, who is scoring 14.5 points per game and is dishing out 3.5 assists per game. He has struggled to find his stroke from beyond the arc, making 7 of 32 from distance. Freshman guard Jahmir Young is the only other player in double figures, scoring 11.6 points per game to go along with a team-high 5.1 rebounds per contest. He has been one of the best outside shooters on the team, making 21 of 54 from distance. Senior guard Drew Edwards is adding 9.9 points per game and sophomore guard Malik Martin is contributing 8.5 points per outing.

Western Kentucky hunting top spot in conference

Western Kentucky is off to a hot start in conference play, winning four of its first five games. The victories have come against North Texas, Rice, Middle Tennessee State and Old Dominion. The lone loss was a 10-point setback against UAB on Jan. 9. The Hilltoppers were picked to win the conference in the pre-season poll, but that was largely based on dynamic NBA prospect Charles Bassey. The sophomore center was scoring 15.3 points per game and grabbing 9.2 rebounds per game before going down with a season-ending injury.

With Bassey no longer in the mix, junior guard Taveion Hollingsworth has stepped up and is scoring 14.0 points per game. He is also grabbing 4.1 rebounds per game and is dishing out 2.8 assists per contest. Junior forward Carson Williams is scoring 13.2 points per game and is pulling down 6.5 rebounds per game. He has been efficient from beyond the arc, knocking down 11 of 25 from distance. Senior guard Camron Justice is adding 11.9 points per game and senior wing Jared Savage is contributing 10.2 points per game. Savage is also pulling down 6.2 rebounds per game.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

This spread is just a little high to me. Western Kentucky is not off to a bad start in conference play by any stretch, but the Hilltoppers are just 2-4 ATS in their last six games. Charlotte has been exceeding expectation, covering at a 6-2 ATS clip in its last eight contests. Bassey’s absence is going to catch up to Western Kentucky the most when they play really good teams. When the competition is not as good, the Hilltoppers are able to get by without him. I think Saturday night’s game will really test them, so I am taking Charlotte to cover.

Prediction: Charlotte +6.5

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Charlotte is an under team all the way. The 49ers come in at No. 298 in KenPom’s adjusted tempo ratings, making them one of the slowest teams in college basketball. Because of this, six of their last seven games have gone under the total. Western Kentucky is missing Bassey on the offensive end of the court, with four of its last six games going under the number. These teams tend to play low-scoring contests, with four of the last six head-to-head meetings going under the total. The total has also gone under in six of Western Kentucky’s last eight games against a Conference USA opponent.

Prediction: Under 134
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Written By Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.