MACtion and Fun Belt this week. What a time to be alive. #blessed. Insert other expression/hashtag/meme here. The Arkansas State Red Wolves take on the Georgia State Panthers in a game that opposes Oklahoma vs. Iowa State and precedes UCLA vs. Colorado. That means you can get your fill of Sun Belt Conference early and then settle in for dessert. The Red Wolves, a preseason Sun Belt favorite, are a three-point favorite here on the road in Atlanta, where the players play.
Arkansas State vs. Georgia State College Football Preview
Date/Time: Thursday November 3, 7:30 p.m. ET
College Football Betting Odds from 5Dimes
College Football Betting Favorite: Arkansas State -3
All of the sudden, the Red Wolves look like the team that they were supposed to be. This is the first time since 2010 that Arkansas State enters its third consecutive season with the same coach. Actually, last season was the first time since 2010 that the Red Wolves had the same coach for the second straight season, as Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn, and Bryan Harsin all went one-and-done. The Red Wolves lost at home to Central Arkansas. They’ve won and covered three straight since. Georgia State has been an ATS machine this season with six straight covers against the closing number. They are only 2-6 straight up, but they’re getting to the window for the bettors that have picked up on them since that 23-17 loss at Camp Randall.
Arkansas State Red Wolves:
Every line tells a story. This isn’t a tale that would seem to have a happy ending for the Red Wolves. They’re only laying three on the road here with three straight wins and covers. The Red Wolves scored 51 points last week against Louisiana-Monroe, one of the worst teams in FBS. Justice Hansen finally had breakout game. The former Oklahoma recruit and JUCO transfer was 21-of-36 for 303 and four touchdowns. It was a sight for sore eyes in Jonesboro because the Arkansas State offense, which averaged 40 points per game last season, cracked 28 for the first time this season. They’ve only scored 23 points per game with just 382 yards per contest. After rushing for 4.9 yards per pop last season, the Red Wolves have rushed for 3.6 yards per carry this season.
On the defensive side, the Red Wolves have bent a lot, but they haven’t fully broken. Arkansas State has allowed 419 yards per game, but only 26.7 points per contest. That’s down from the last two seasons under Blake Anderson, when the Red Wolves allowed over 30 points per game. The Red Wolves have faced a lot of run-heavy teams, with Auburn, Utah State, and Georgia Southern on the ledger thus far. They’ve done pretty well against the run in that respect, holding teams to 4.3 yards per carry. This is their first time on the road since September 16, so it will be interesting to see how the team responds to that scenario.
Georgia State Panthers:
There are bad offenses and then there’s Georgia State’s offense. The Panthers have managed just five yards per play this season and they’ve held the ball for less than 25 minutes per game. Conner Manning and Aaron Winchester have combined to throw as many touchdowns (9) as interceptions and they’ve only completed 55 percent of their passes as a unit. Winchester, a redshirt freshman, has gotten the starting nod in each of the last two games. He’s more of a runner than a thrower it appears, with 37 carries for 139 yards and 34 passing attempts for 232 yards. At least it gives this offense a different look because it needs one. The Panthers have rushed for 3.3 yards per carry and Winchester is the second leading rusher.
Jesse Minter deserves a medal or a statue for what he’s been able to do with this defense. Georgia State’s defense has seen 79 plays per game and has been on the field for over 35 minutes per game, and yet they’ve allowed less than 400 yards per contest. The Panthers defense has only given up 23.7 points per game and they’ve faced teams like Air Force, Wisconsin, Appalachian State, and Troy. This group had nine returning starters coming into the season and they’ve been everything that the coaching staff could want and then some. It should come as no surprise that Georgia State is 6-2 to the under and this defense is a primary reason why. They’ve only given up nine points per game in the first half, so they simply wear down a little bit late.
College Football Free Pick: Georgia State +3
Every line tells a story, right? Arkansas State, the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt, is only a three-point road favorite against a 2-6 team that hasn’t scored more than 21 points in a game against an FBS opponent not named Texas State? That’s a significant suggestion from the books. Maybe they’re just protecting against the Panthers’ ATS streak, but it seems pretty clear that the Red Wolves haven’t impressed anybody lately.
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