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The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Austin Peay Governors face off on CBS Sports Network on Saturday to get the 2022 college football season underway. Austin Peay is making its debut as a member of the ASUN conference after producing a 6-5 record as a member of the Ohio Valley last season. Led by a prolific offense, WKU won nine games a year ago, reaching the Conference USA title game in the process.

Western Kentucky is a 29.5-point home favorite for this noon ET start. The total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, or the over/under, is 67.5 in the latest Western Kentucky vs. Austin Peay odds. Before making any Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky picks or CFB predictions, you need to see what SportsLine college football expert Zack Cimini has to say.

A Las Vegas handicapper who's never afraid to buck conventional wisdom, Cimini excels in multiple sports. Over the past two NBA seasons, Cimini is 134-101-1, returning $2,296 to $100 players. All-time in MLB, he sports a record of 535-468-6, returning $2,962 to $100 bettors. All-time in college basketball, he is 423-375, returning $1,331 to $100 players. 

In addition, Cimini is 5-0 in his last five college football picks involving Western Kentucky, returning $500 to $100 bettors. Anyone who has followed him is way up.

Now, Cimini has set his sights on Austin Peay vs. WKU and just locked in his picks and CFB predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks. Now, here are several college football odds and betting lines for WKU vs. Austin Peay:

  • Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky spread: WKU -29.5 
  • Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky over/under: 67.5 points 
  • AP: The Governors are joining ASUN this season 
  • WK: The Hilltoppers won eight of the last nine games in 2021 
  • Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky picks: See picks here.

Why Austin Peay can cover

The Governors have a lot returning, and Austin Peay also projects to face a retooling Western Kentucky team. Austin Peay won its last three games in 2021, and the Governors return a top-flight wide receiver in Drae McCray. McCray, a preseason All-Conference selection in the ASUN, caught 53 passes for 882 yards and exceeded 1,000 all-purpose yards last season. Special teams could also be an edge for the Governors with kicker Maddux Trujillo, who met or exceeded multiple school records for field goal kicking in 2021. 

From there, Western Kentucky loses a great deal of production from last season, including Bailey Zappe, who set FBS records in the passing game. The Hilltoppers bring back only four starters from the team's prolific 2021 offense, and Western Kentucky must also replace its top two wide receivers in addition to quarterback. Defensively, Western Kentucky was below-average by the metrics in 2021, further opening the door for Austin Peay.

Why Western Kentucky can cover

Much has been made of Western Kentucky's personnel losses, headlined by the departure of Zappe. However, the Hilltoppers are facing an Austin Peay team on a lengthy FBS losing streak, and Western Kentucky has plenty of talent. The Hilltoppers won eight of the last nine games last season, and grad transfer Austin Reed steps in at the quarterback position. He posted a 22-3 record as a starter for West Florida, and Western Kentucky returns two highly productive wide receivers poised for potential breakouts. 

Daewood Davis averaged 17.7 yards per reception and generated eight touchdown catches last season. Alongside, Malachi Corley produced 73 catches for 691 yards and seven touchdowns, catching multiple passes in every 2021 game. That includes 10 different games with at least five receptions, and Western Kentucky's defense returns six starters from a group that had as many interceptions (19) as passing touchdowns allowed a season ago.

How to make Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky picks

For Saturday's contest, Cimini has identified a critical X-factor he believes makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's sharing what it is, and which side of the Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky spread he's backing, only at SportsLine.

So who wins Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky? And which critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky spread you need to jump on Saturday, all from the expert who has crushed his college football picks, and find out.