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Army vs. Coastal Carolina Football Picks, Betting Odds, Predictions: Betting Guide to This Week 1 Clash

Army vs. Coastal Carolina Football Picks, Betting Odds, Predictions: Betting Guide to This Week 1 Clash article feature image
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Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers quarterback Grayson McCall

  • Grayson McCall and Coastal Carolina take on Army in college football's Week 1.
  • Both offenses should have a field day in Myrtle Beach on Saturday.
  • Here's why from our expert Dan Keegan.

Army vs. Coastal Carolina Odds

Saturday, Sept. 3
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Army Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+1.5
-108
53.5
-115o / -105u
+104
Coastal Carolina Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-2.5
-112
53.5
-115o / -105u
-125
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The season opens for these two squads in Conway, South Carolina, as Army squares off in the first of its four scheduled Sun Belt showdowns in 2022 against Coastal Carolina.

Both teams will be replacing some important players, but both have staff continuity and strong cultures and identities. These are two “we do what we do” programs.

There are also schematic similarities. Army runs the classic flexbone service academy triple option, and Jamey Chadwell’s Chanticleers run a bespoke shotgun spread with myriad triple option and RPO concepts.

Both offenses have key players back and should operate unimpeded in what promises to be an entertaining game.


Army = System Over Talent

Jeff Monken has turned around an Army program that was plumbing the depths before his arrival in West Point. Monken is a Paul Johnson triple option disciple and has reached five bowl games in his eight years with Army.

The service academy formula is proven and durable at this point: undersized athletes with best-in-class intangibles and a reliance on a well-oiled flexbone system.

Traditional projection metrics are unreliable for academies. The rating metrics can under-project the service academy offenses, and low-returning production numbers are not worrisome. Returning stars are a luxury for academies, not a necessity.

While last season’s starter Christian Anderson has graduated, Monken still feels confident about his quarterbacks this season. He usually relies on a rotation at the position, and decision making and familiarity with the system are more important than arm talent or passing progressions.

Army will split quarterback reps between Tyhier Tyler and Jemel Jones, and both have had success running this system.

Anderson led the team in 2021 with 391 snaps, but Tyler has 551 in his career and Jones has 242. The system marches on.

In some games, the triple option operates as a slow, plodding offense designed to chew clock and limit possessions.

But when it meets a defense that it can exploit — say, one breaking in mostly new talent that doesn’t regularly play a quality service academy offense — it can hang points up in a hurry.

Last year Army scored 43 against Georgia State, 38 against WKU, 31 against Liberty, 52 against UConn and 56 in a shootout against Wake Forest.


Coastal Carolina Welcomes Back Grayson McCall

Like Monken, Chadwell has been successful building a program with an option-oriented attack. Unlike the Army recipe, Chadwell has relied on a singular talent at quarterback to drive that success.

Grayson McCall is back for another year to McCall the McShots. He is one of the most talented passers in the country and set an FBS record for passer rating (207.65) last season.

New faces out wide might be a concern, as the Chants’ three leading receivers depart, including star tight end Isaiah Likely.

Junior Tyson Mobley and Sam Pinckney — a grad transfer who was productive during his Georgia State career — are the leading candidates to be on the receiving end of McCall’s passes.

Coastal does return experience at running back in senior Reese White (1,1160 career yards) and the explosive Braydon Bennett, who averaged 8.6 yards per carry in 2021 over his 74 totes.

Chadwell’s offense might have some new pass catchers, but the creativity, explosive plays and entertainment value will remain. Coastal was fifth in SP+ on offense last year and projects to be 23rd in 2022.

The defense is a different story. This unit will be rebuilding, as it loses nine starters. The defense has an Action Network TARP score of -3.5. (TARP is measured on a scale of 0-5, with a negative number meaning a deficit of Transfer Assets and Returning Production).

There are three returning stars on defense: defensive end Josiah Stewart is a pass-rushing monster (12.5 sacks last season as a true freshman), and the Chants have a pair of sturdy cornerbacks in D’Jordan Strong and Lance Boykin.

These are great assets to have as you rebuild a college defense, but maybe not the weapons of choice against a triple-option attack.


Army vs. Coastal Carolina Betting Pick

Both offenses are experienced and know exactly what they want to do, so they will have their way with the defenses on Saturday in Myrtle Beach. With these systems and signal callers, I am comfortable taking the over.

But wait! The greatest frustrations for every over bettor are successful drives that stall in the red zone. So, let’s take a look at how these teams finish drives.

Army’s defense ranked ninth in Finishing Drives last year, but Coastal’s offense was first in the country. That’s right, the Chants were the undisputed kings of punching it in.

Army’s offense was 51st in Finishing Drives, but Coastal’s defense was hospitable to red-zone visitors, ranking a cool 91st. And that was with all the contributors who have since moved on.

Coastal’s defense is rebuilding, and a fine-tuned flexbone will provide frustration in its 2022 debut. Coastal’s offense will have no such challenges.

Both teams will find the end zone frequently, so I’ll play the over at 53 with value up to 55.5.

Pick: Over 53 

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