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South Alabama vs Southern Miss Odds & Picks: Jaguars to Cover?

South Alabama vs Southern Miss Odds & Picks: Jaguars to Cover? article feature image

Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: South Alabama head coach Kane Wommack.

  • South Alabama and Southern Miss meet in a Saturday afternoon Sun Belt showdown today.
  • Kane Wommack and the Jaguars enter as favorites of just over a touchdown, according to updated odds.
  • Check out Dan Keegan's full betting guide and pick for Saturday's Sun Belt clash below.

South Alabama vs Southern Miss Odds

Saturday, Nov. 19
3:30 p.m. ET
NFL Network
South Alabama Odds
-110o / -110u
Southern Miss Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Jaguars head to Hattiesburg, looking to extend their magical season and ruin Southern Miss’s senior day in the process.

South Alabama has a relatively new football program, and they look to Southern Miss, a nearby Group of Five stalwart, as a model program. The Golden Eagles will appreciate the compliment, but are looking to rebuild to their former powerhouse stature in the Sun Belt, and reverse their 0-2 record against the Jaguars.

Both of these coaches – Kane Wommack for the Jaguars, Will Hall for the Golden Eagles – are happy with their second-year efforts, but both understand there is still more work to do.

For the Jaguars, that means continuing to win out and stay alongside Troy in the division race in case the Trojans slip up. For Southern Miss, that means one more win for bowl eligibility, which would be an impressive turnaround feat for this program and a testament to the strength of their defense.

South Alabama Jaguars

It has been an incredible second year for Kane Wommack in Mobile. His team is only a handful of points away from an undefeated campaign, and they are well-balanced on both sides of the ball.

They are tied with Troy with only one loss apiece in the Sun Belt, but because their loss was to the Trojans, they need to win out and hope Troy falters in order to reach the conference championship game.

The balanced Jaguar attack is led by quarterback Carter Bradley and running back La’Damian Webb. Bradley, the Toledo transfer, has thrived in Major Applewhite’s offense, completing 64.6% of his passes for 2,548 yards.

The one-man-band receiving corps of 2021 — Jalen Tolbert and not much else — is now a three-headed attack, with Jalen Wayne, Caullin Lacy, and Devin Voisin all posting extremely similar numbers at the wide receiver position. All three are between 44 and 51 receptions, and all are between 581 and 699 yards.

The success of the passing game has opened up lanes for Webb, the workhorse back, who has 179 carries for 938 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. The Jaguars are better at moving the ball with an efficient pass game — 29th in Success Rate in the air, vs. 109th on the ground — which creates big plays in soft fronts from Webb, ranking 35th in the country in explosive rushes.

But the defense is solid in Mobile, too, especially in the secondary. Cornerback Darrell Luter and safety Yam Banks give the Jaguars a pair of NFL prospects in the back end, and they’ve elevated this defense to 15th overall in EPA.

They are good at creating Havoc, ranking 36th, and Southern Miss’s offense is vulnerable to negative plays, ranking 126th in Havoc prevention.

The Jaguars are excellent in snuffing out scoring chances. They are 34th in the country in ECKEL rate, meaning they don’t offer many scoring chances, and 11th in the country in Points Per ECKEL.

This is a great matchup against Southern Miss’s scuffling offense, which ranks 110th in creating ECKELs and 104 in points per ECKEL.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles

While the Jaguars are a well-balanced unit, the story of Southern Miss’s season has been the search for any sort of consistent play from the quarterback position.

That continued search has prevented the rushing attack and a solid defense from achieving their potential, and the defense might be starting to show signs of wear and tear.

Will Hall has been forced by injuries and ineffectiveness to play a musical-chairs quarterback rotation in his time in Hattiesburg.

Currently, Trey Lowe sits in the driver’s seat; he was impressive last week against Coastal’s horrific secondary, but was unimpressive two weeks ago against Georgia State’s sturdier stop unit. Was Lowe’s nice outing in Conway — 19-of-26 for 295 yards — real or a mirage against one of the worst pass defenses in FBS?

This is one of the worst offenses in the Sun Belt. Hall has a good reputation on this side of the ball, and with enough youth and potential in the quarterback room, there's belief that one day, the Golden Eagles will be productive. But that day is not in 2022.

Hall’s outfit is 120th in EPA/Pass and 127th in EPA/Rush. Running back Frank Gore Jr. and wide receiver Jason Brownlee are stars, and both are able to wiggle free for occasional big plays, especially in the “Superback” Wildcat offense.

But these occasional big plays have not been a reliable source of offense, as the team is 116th in Success Rate.

The defense, which has been solid all season, is starting to fray at the edges. Both Georgia State and Coastal Carolina got out to early leads in the previous two weeks by running the ball. The fact that Coastal did so without Grayson McCall is an even more worrying sign that the defense is wearing down.

The season-long metrics are still impressive — Southern Miss’s defense is 33rd in EPA. It's efficient, ranking 16th in Success Rate, but increasingly susceptible to busts, now down to 88th in explosive plays.

South Alabama vs Southern Miss Matchup Analysis

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South Alabama vs Southern Miss Betting Pick

I’ve watched a lot of Golden Eagles football this season, and I've been impressed with their grit and creativity despite all the challenges they have faced at the quarterback position.

But that is starting to catch up with them, and their inability to control or move the ball is wearing on its defense.

The stout Southern Miss defense is not playing its best ball of the season, and worse offenses than South Alabama’s have exposed it in recent weeks.

Trey Lowe’s performance last week was impressive but not sustainable against a talented Jaguars secondary. South Alabama should be able to control this one from start to finish, and Southern Miss’s fight for bowl eligibility in a respectable season will come down to their finale.

I’ll take the Jaguars on the road and lay the points.

Pick: South Alabama -7.5 (Play to -9.5)

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