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App State vs Georgia Southern Odds, Prediction: Why to Bet Mountaineers

App State vs Georgia Southern Odds, Prediction: Why to Bet Mountaineers article feature image
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David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: App State’s Miller Gibbs.

Appalachian State vs Georgia Southern Odds

Saturday, Nov. 26
6 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Appalachian State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6
-110
64.5
-110o / -110u
-235
Georgia Southern Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6
-110
64.5
-110o / -110u
+192
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The big game is finally here.

Two historic archrivals, meeting on the gridiron in the final week of the season with postseason stakes on the line. There’s intrigue about health, as one team has been suffering injuries with its star running backs, and the other has lost multiple members of its talented skill position corps.

The winner will advance in the postseason, but the loser will not.

Of course, I’m talking about Appalachian State vs. Georgia Southern. Any parallels to any other big games today are strictly coincidental!

In all seriousness, this is a fantastic Sun Belt finale, and you should enjoy it. It’s one of the best rivalries in the Group of Five, and both teams are going to throw the ball around the yard.

Georgia Southern would love nothing more than to end App’s strange, up-and-down season by eliminating the ‘Neers from postseason possibilities. And App would love to return the favor and make sure the Eagles don’t complete their stunning first-season turnaround with a bowl berth.

This game, after all, is Deeper Than Hate.

Should you back the road favorites in this game that promises to be a high-scoring affair? Or are the upstart underdogs at home the best play? Let’s get into this exciting game.


App State Mountaineers

The Mountaineers have six wins on the season already, but because two of those victories were against FCS squads, they actually still need to win this game to become eligible for a bowl.

You know the beats by now of App’s wild season — the preposterous high-scoring affair with North Carolina, the upset in College Station, the Hail Mary while hosting GameDay and the blown lead against James Madison. And that was just September! They have gone 4-3 since that outrageous opening month, with a struggling defense but a consistent offense.

Chase Brice is having a marvelous season; despite losing some of his top targets from 2021, he has completed 63.4% of his passes for 2,668 yards and 27 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He spreads the ball around to a variety of targets; no App receiver has more than 600 yards but five have 282 or more.

The story for the ‘Neers entering the season was supposed to be the two-headed backfield duo of Camerun Peoples and Nate Noel. Both have been in and out with injury all season; Peoples is unlikely to play in this game, and Noel has been playing through nagging issues lately.

But the offensive line is strong, and the ‘Neers have been able to move the ball on the ground even without their stars. Third-chair Daetrich Harrington has been efficient with his opportunities, and youngster Ahmani Marshall got his first lead back action last week and ran for 137 yards on 7.2 per tote.

The Mountaineers will be able to move the ball at will on Saturday against an Eagles defense that checks in at 123rd in SP+. They’ll be able to score frequently, either with Brice and his grab bag of receiving options or with their strong ground game.

Their defense has struggled overall this season, but they are stiffer against the rush than against the pass, and better at limiting efficiency than explosives. That could be a good matchup for them against this RPO Georgia Southern attack, which is stronger with efficiency than chunk plays.

App’s defense is one of the best in the Group of Five at creating Havoc – 41st in that metric – but Georgia Southern is excellent at preventing Havoc, ranking sixth in the country.

Kyle Vantrease has been interception-prone, but other than that, App will not have many opportunities to create negative plays against this offense.

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Georgia Southern Eagles

A decades-long triple-option tradition has been upended in Statesboro, as Clay Helton has modernized the playbook with an RPO-based Air Raid scheme.

The results have been statistically stunning, as quarterback Kyle Vantrease has rewritten the school’s record book, and the team is on the verge of a bowl game despite one of the worst defenses in FBS.

The passing game has been a revelation this season, led by Vantrease completing 60.8% of his passes for 3,512 yards and 22 touchdowns but a ghastly 14 interceptions.

But notably, the Eagles are on a three-game losing streak in which the passing attack has struggled. In losses to South Alabama, Louisiana, and Marshall, Vantrease did not crack 60% passing completion, posted some of his lowest yardage totals, and only threw five touchdowns.

There are two factors in play for the struggles in the passing game. One is competition – those three opponents have some of the stiffest secondaries in the Sun Belt, with both Marshall and Louisiana actually ranking in the top ten in the country in PFF’s coverage grading.

The other is health. In this space a few weeks ago, I highlighted the quartet of excellent receivers that were powering the Eagles’ revitalized aerial assault.

With Khaleb Hood and Amare Jones operating from the slot, and Derwin Burgess Jr. and Jeremy Singleton challenging defenses from out wide, the Eagles had a deep and veteran receiver corps. But Jones and Burgess Jr. have been lost for the season to injury, and the Eagles have forfeited this excellent advantage.

Injuries could be a factor in the rushing attack, too. Jalen White has been excellent on the season – 914 yards on 5.6 per pop – but left last week’s contest against Marshall. His main backup is veteran Gerald Green, who left the game two weeks ago and did not play against Marshall.

The primary ballcarrier in this game could be true freshman OJ Arnold, who has only 14 carries on the season against Sun Belt opponents. He did scamper for a 23-yard touchdown last week against Marshall’s tough defense when pressed into action.

The less electronic ink I spill about Georgia Southern’s defense, the better. This is a poor unit. It ranks 94th in EPA/pass and 126th in EPA/rush. It doesn’t create much Havoc. It’s marginally better at preventing big plays (67th in explosives allowed) but you can matriculate the ball down the field largely at will — 105th in Success Rate Allowed.


Appalachian State vs Georgia Southern Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Appalachian State and Georgia Southern match up statistically:

Appalachian State Offense vs. Georgia Southern Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 29 116
Line Yards 30 128
Pass Success 51 72
Pass Blocking** 47 61
Havoc 21 109
Finishing Drives 36 57
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Georgia Southern Offense vs. Appalachian State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 58 29
Line Yards 85 20
Pass Success 23 80
Pass Blocking** 46 25
Havoc 6 41
Finishing Drives 62 72
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 62 104
PFF Coverage 113 58
SP+ Special Teams 119 95
Seconds per Play 26.4 (65) 22.1 (8)
Rush Rate 56.1% (47) 38.8% (129)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Appalachian State vs Georgia Southern Betting Pick

I considered the over as the play here – both offenses should have matchup advantages over their opponents. But Georgia Southern’s late-season swoon gives me pause.

Yes, the competition was better, but their skill position talent is thoroughly decimated at this point. The Eagles offense has found the end zone only three times combined in the past two games.

I’m skipping the over because while I think App could be able to name their score, I think there’s a chance Georgia Southern’s offense is just too broken at this point, and might not contribute their fair share to the game total.

I’ll take Appalachian State and lay the points in this heated rivalry game. They have their own nagging injuries at running back, but a stronger track record and their starters seem more likely to participate than the Eagles, even if that is based on reading notoriously shaky college injury reports.

The ‘Neers will be able to score at will and will be able to build a comfortable lead if they break serve with a few interceptions of Vantrease.

Pick: Appalachian State -4.5 (Play to 6)

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