College Football Betting Odds & Pick: Florida Atlantic vs. Georgia Southern Preview (Saturday, Dec. 5)
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Meiko Dotson #15 and Teja Young #32.
- Originally the season opener for both teams, Florida Atlantic finally travels north to take on Georgia Southern.
- The Owls have cruised to four straight wins, with their only loss of the season coming against No. 20 Marshall.
- BJ Cunningham sees value in Florida Atlantic as road underdogs, and he lays out why he’s betting the Owls.
Florida Atlantic vs. Georgia Southern Odds
|Florida Atlantic Odds||+2 [BET NOW]|
|Georgia Southern Odds||-2 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+105/-127 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||41 [BET NOW]|
|Time||6 p.m. ET|
Florida Atlantic will try to reach to 6-1 on the season as it heads north to take on Georgia Southern on Saturday. This game was scheduled to be the opener for both teams but had to be postponed to this weekend due to COVID-19 concerns.
Florida Atlantic’s only loss this season has come at the hands of 21st-ranked Marshall. Outside of that game, the Owls have cruised to four straight wins even though their schedule has been ravaged by COVID-19. They have one of the most dynamic rushing attacks combined with a stout defense that can shut down Georgia Southern’s triple-option attack.
The Eagles have dropped two straight games to Army and Georgia State to fall to 6-4 on the season. Their triple option has been on fire the last three games, so it’ll be interesting to see how it will fare against the Owls’ stout run defense.
Florida Atlantic Owls
New head coach Willie Taggart has the Florida Atlantic offense humming through its first six games. Almost all of its success has come on the ground. Entering the season, the Owls returned their top four running backs and have been gaining 4.8 yards per rush attempt. Malcolm Davidson has been their best back, averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
The passing attack has struggled, though, as Nick Tronti only averages 5.6 yards per attempt. However, Javion Posey took over at quarterback against UMass and is a legit dual-threat option. Posey is averaging 7.2 yards per carry on the ground but only 6.4 per pass attempt. Georgia Southern’s weakness is in the secondary, so Posey may be forced to throw more than he wants to.
Florida Atlantic has gone through a lot of changes on the defensive side of the ball. The Owls returned only 43% of their defensive production from last year, including its entire defensive line.
So far, Florida Atlantic has been outstanding versus the run and pass, ranking inside the top 25 in both Defensive Rushing Success and Passing Success. Its strength, though, has been against the run, as it’s allowing only 3.3 yards per rush attempt. This will be the first time that the Owls will be seeing the triple option in over two years, so it will be interesting to see how they match up against it.
Georgia Southern Eagles
Georgia Southern’s triple option has looked great at times and has looked ineffective at others.
Against its three weakest opponents (Louisiana-Monroe, UMass, and Texas State), the Eagles gained a whopping 6.5 yards per play. However, against its three toughest opponents (Coastal Carolina, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Troy), it achieved only 5.38 yards per play.
Senior quarterback Shai Werts has been under center for Georgia Southern for what seems like 10 years, but he runs the triple option effectively. Werts is gaining 5.0 yards per carry but has struggled in the passing game, throwing for only 7.7 yards per attempt. However, Werts is questionable to play on Saturday, and if he can’t go, the Eagles are going to be in big trouble.
Georgia Southern also lost star running back JD King for the rest of the season and has seven other offensive players either out or questionable for Saturday.
What usually happens with triple-option teams is the defense gets a lot of rest from not having to be on the field very often. So far, the extra rest has benefited the Eagles’ defense. Georgia Southern ranks inside the top 30 in Defensive Success Rate and is allowing only 5.0 yards per play, which ranks third in the Sun Belt.
The Eagles have been incredible against the run, allowing only 3.1 yards per carry. Additionally, they rank inside the top 40 in the nation in Defensive Line Yards, Stuff Rate, and Power Success Allowed, per College Football Data.
However, Georgia Southern has a ton of injury issues to deal with on the defensive side of the ball. Ten players are either out or questionable to play against Florida Atlantic, so depth is going to be a major concern against the Owls’ dynamic rushing attack.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I don’t understand why Georgia Southern is favored in this game with all of the injury issues surrounding the team. Florida Atlantic’s rushing attack and defense is better than the Eagles’ and should be able to propel it to victory.
I have Florida Atlantic projected as -3.49 favorites on the road, so I think there’s plenty of value on the Owls at +2.5.
Pick: Florida Atlantic +2.5 (up to -1).