Logan Wright running with football

Georgia Southern running back Logan Wright (2) during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept 11, 2021 in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Murray)

  • Georgia Southern visits South Alabama in Sun Belt Conference play Thursday
  • The Eagles have beaten the Jaguars seven straight games
  • Read below for odds, analysis and a betting prediction

Two teams staring up at much of the competition in the Sun Belt Conference will battle for a much-needed win on Thursday.

The Georgia Southern Eagles (2-4, 1-2 Sun Belt) will be in South Alabama to take on the Jaguars, looking for their eighth straight win in this series.

Surprisingly, that hasn’t stopped the Jaguars (3-2, 0-2 Sun Belt) from being pegged as 3.5-point home favorites in this one.

Georgia Southern vs South Alabama Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Georgia Southern Eagles +135 +3 (-105) O 50.5 (-110)
South Alabama Jaguars -155 -3 (-115) U 50.5 (-110)

Odds as of October 12 at DraftKings 

It all gets underway from Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, AL, with kickoff at 7:30pm ET. You can watch it on ESPN U.

Eagles Count on Ground Game

Georgia Southern runs a ton. They rank sixth in the nation in that category, churning out better than 256 yards per game, a healthy 5.43 yards per tote. They used that punishing ground to game win their first Sun Belt game of the season, hammering Arkansas State 59-33, putting up over 500 yards rushing.

That game script was flipped last time out, in a 27-24 road loss to Troy. The Eagles rushed for just 82 yards on 38 carries.

Quarterback Justin Tomlin had his highest passing yardage output of the year — the first time he’s surpassed 200 yards passing in a game this season — but was picked off three times in a highly ineffective outing.

They’ll want to revert back to their bread-and-butter for this one. South Alabama boasts one of the top defenses in the NCAA, ranking 12th in total pass yards allowed, limiting teams limiting teams to just 6.6 yards per attempt.

Their run defense is 40th best in the nation, holding teams to 3.43 yards per rush and seven total rushing touchdowns against all season.

The Eagles’ top running back this year is Logan Wright, who’s carried 66 times for 475 yards and five TDs. Gerald Green has 327 yards on 48 totes and five rushing scores of his own. Jalen White (210 yards, 2 TDs) gives them three running backs averaging better than 6.4 yards per carry.

South Alabama Struggles to Score

As noted, defense isn’t the problem for the Jaguars, it’s finding some offensive punch.

After reeling off three straight wins to start the year, they’ve dropped two straight. They did match their season-high point total in a 33-31 4OT loss at Texas State.

It was also an uncharacteristic outing for their defense, which couldn’t hold a 24-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

The good news is Jake Bentley seemed to get back on track. The Jags’ pivot tossed two TD’s — his first scoring passes since Week 1. He has thrown for 927 yards with four TDs and a pair of picks on the year.

Georgia Southern might just be what the doctor ordered, as the Eagles rank dead last in passing defense. They are the only team to surrender over 2,000 yards passing and 20 TD receptions against this season. Georgia Southern is giving up a whopping 338.8 yards per game to its opponents, also last in FBS.

Look for Jalen Tolbert to be featured heavily. He leads the team with 25 catches for 544 yards and a TD on the year.

What’s the Best Bet?

Georgia Southern has been listed as an underdog four times this season and have failed to win any of those games. However, they have covered the spread twice when playing as 3.5-point underdogs or longer on the year.

South Alabama has a sturdy 9-4 mark ATS in their last 13 home games, while the Eagles are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven on the road.

While most signs point to the Jaguars, I don’t know how sturdy their run defense is against a premier attack. I think the Eagles can get out to a lead and continue to pound the rock. That makes those points too good to pass up.

Pick:  Georgia Southern +3 (-105)

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Eric Rosales

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