2021 Sun Belt Conference Win Totals: Betting Value on Coastal Carolina & Georgia State Futures
Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Reese White.
2021 Sun Belt Conference Futures Odds
The Sun Belt Conference has lived up to its “Fun Belt” nickname over the last few years, and the conference has the potential to put a team in the College Football Playoff this season.
If the NCAA committee had decided to go to a 12-team playoff format last year, Coastal Carolina would have snuck in as the 12-seed. Louisiana wasn’t far off, ending the season ranked 19th in the College Football Playoff Rankings after finishing 9-1, including a road win over Iowa State.
Last year the conference picked multiple wins over Power Five programs, such as Louisiana over Iowa State, Arkansas State over Kansas State, and Coastal Carolina over Kansas. Since 2017, the Sun Belt has finished 14-6 in its bowl game appearances and has been trending upward year over year.
And this season, there’s plenty of betting value on win totals across the conference.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Over 10 Wins
Jamey Chadwell looks to have built a powerhouse program in the blink of an eye. After joining the FBS in 2017, the Chanticleers won 13 games in their first three seasons. They followed that up by going 11-1 in 2020, only losing a heartbreaker to Liberty in the Cure Bowl.
Coastal Carolina returns 20 starters and reports an offensive TARP of 83% and defensive TARP of 91%. Among that group is standout quarterback Grayson McCall, along with his whole offensive line and top pass-catchers in tight end Isaiah Likely and wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh.
The Chanticleers should have seven surefire wins coming this season over The Citadel, Kansas, UMass, UL-Monroe, Arkansas State, Texas State and South Alabama. In addition, they should be big favorites over Troy, Georgia Southern and Georgia State.
After those 10 winnable games, Coastal Carolina will have the opportunity at a perfect season if they can come away with wins over Appalachian State and Buffalo.
I see 12-0 or 11-1 as a much more likely scenario than 9-3 with the Chanticleers’ schedule.
Georgia State Panthers Over 5 Wins
Georgia State finished last season 6-4 and secured a bowl win over Western Kentucky in Shawn Elliott’s fifth year as head coach. Among those four losses was a 34-31 overtime defeat against Louisiana and a 17-13 loss to Appalachian State.
The Panthers were one of the younger teams in the nation and are seeing a significant portion of their talent returning this year, boasting an offensive TARP rating of 86% and defensive rating of 72%.
Cornelious Brown IV, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound quarterback, is a game-changer and returns after his redshirt freshman season. He will have the majority of his offensive line returning, along with deep-ball threats Sam Pinckney and Cornelius McCoy.
Defensively, the Panthers allowed a whopping 40.2 PPG through the first six games last year. They responded well down the stretch, allowing just 19.0 per game and look to continue that trend heading into the 2021 season.
I have Georgia State locking up four wins against Charlotte, UL-Monroe, Texas State, and Arkansas State. They will then need to find one victory in their remaining eight games. Among those eight games are three coin-flip matchups against Army, Georgia Southern, and Troy.
I see value in over five wins for the Panthers, who should find themselves playing in yet another bowl game this year after grabbing at least six wins.
Arkansas State Red Wolves Under 4.5 Wins
Arkansas State finished last season with a 4-7 record and had one of the worst defenses in the country. The Red Wolves ended the season allowing an average of 37.2 points per game and have not done much in the offseason to address that.
They brought in former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones to attempt to rebound from last year’s woes. Arkansas State lost its top two pass-catchers and leading rusher from last year and owns just a 65% offensive and 66% defensive TARP rating.
After opening the season against Central Arkansas, the Red Wolves have a brutal six-game stretch in which I see them being double-digit underdogs in each game. I anticipate them starting 1-6 and to eclipse this number will need to win four of their final five games, which include both Appalachian State and Georgia State.
This over/under opened at 3.5, and I believe there may have been some overreaction that drove this number up a full game to 4.5.
I’m playing under 4.5 with a new head coach taking over a declining program that owns one of the worst pass defenses in the country.