This Thursday we turn our attention to the Sun Belt, as the South Alabama Jaguars host the Georgia Southern Eagles. Kickoff is set for 7:30 EST at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and will be televised on ESPNU.
Oddsmakers opened this game with Georgia Southern at -13, but it’s been bet down slightly to the Eagles -11.5. The total for this contest is either 48 or 48.5 depending on where you shop.
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Vegas Betting Odds & Game Preview: Georgia Southern vs South Alabama
Georgia Southern Eagles (1-3, 0-1 Sun Belt)
The Eagles will be looking to bounce back from a 24-37 loss at home to Lafayette in their 2019 Sun Belt opener. While that’s a game I think people expected Georgia Southern to win, they were a 3-point dog in the fight.
They were definitely outplayed by the Ragin’ Cajuns, as Lafayette had a 440-252 edge in total yards. They also lost by 13-points, despite posting a +2 turnover margin.
That loss dropped the Eagles to 1-3 SU and 1-2-1 ATS. While the record doesn’t look great, you do have to keep in mind they had to play to Power 5 teams on the road in LSU and Minnesota. While they got destroyed 55-3 by LSU, they lost in the final second to Minnesota 35-32.
South Alabama Jaguars (1-4, 0-1 Sun Belt)
The Jaguars also opened up conference play with a loss last week. South Alabama fell 30-17 at ULM, but did cash in a cover as a 14.5-point dog. It was a bit of a backdoor cover, as the Jaguars were down 20 with less than 5 minutes to play. However, they were only outgained by a mere 51 yards (377 to 428).
South Alabama has now lost 3 straight and are just 1-4 on the season. Their only victory on the resume is a 37-14 win over FCS foe Jackson State. They had failed to cover 3 straight prior to cashing in a winning ticket against ULM. Their only other cover was a 35-21 loss at Nebraska as a 35-point dog.
The schedule as a whole has not been easy. They have had to play 3 of their first 5 games on the road and one of their home games was against Memphis.
Georgia Southern has dominated the series since they joined the Sun Belt back in 2014. The Eagles have won all 5 meetings and are a perfect 5-0 ATS in these matchups. The last two have not been close. Georgia Southern won 48-13 as a 13-point home favorite in 2018 and 52-0 as a 6-point home dog in 2017.
Free NCAA Football Pick & Betting Predictions: Georgia Southern -11.5
I would have to lean towards laying the points with Georgia Southern in this one. I don’t love betting against home dogs in these weekday games, especially in conference matchups. However, I don’t think the Jaguars have the greatest home field edge. The line is also moving in favor of South Alabama, which is also scary.
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Georgia Southern is 5-0 SU and 5-0 ATS with an average margin of victory of 32.4 ppg. Considering they are off to a 1-3 start and just got embarrassed at home in their conference opener, hard to see them looking past this prime time game against the Jaguars.
Keep in mind coming into the year most were assuming best case scenario for the Eagles going into this game was 2-2. They almost upset Minnesota on the road and Lafayette is a team that looks a lot better than expected. Ragin’ Cajuns are 4-1 with their only loss being by a mere 10-points against Mississippi State. That’s also a team that won 45-25 on the road against Ohio, who many were picking to win the MAC this year.
Georgia Southern also figures to be getting back a key piece to their offense in junior running back Wesley Kennedy. He’s served his 4-game suspension he was dealt (academic reasons). Kennedy was expected to play a big role after rushing for 495 yards and 3 scores (7.9 yards/carry) in a backup role as a sophomore.
Also it’s hard to see the Jaguars being able to slow down the Eagles option attack. South Alabama is giving up 179 yards/game and 4.6 yards/carry against the run in 2019. They allowed 312 at home to Memphis a few weeks back and 201 to UAB. Eagles are averaging 202 yards/game and 4.5 yards/carry. Keep in mind those numbers are a bit skewed due to that game against LSU. Give me Georgia Southern -11.5