Troy vs. Appalachian State Betting Odds, Picks: Can Trojans Keep It Close?

Troy vs. Appalachian State Betting Odds, Picks: Can Trojans Keep It Close? article feature image

Justin Ford/Getty Images. Pictured: Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson.

  • The Troy Trojans head to Boone, North Carolina, on Saturday afternoon to take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers in Week 3 college football action.
  • The Mountaineers pulled off an upset of their own over Texas A&M last week, and now the Trojans will look to give them a taste of their own medicine.
  • Our Alex Hinton thinks the Trojans can keep it close and explains why with his best bet below.

Troy vs. Appalachian State Odds

Saturday, Sept. 17
3:30 p.m. ET
Troy Odds
-105o / -115u
Appalachian State Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Appalachian State reprised its familiar and comfortable role as a giant slayer last week as it went into College Station and shocked No. 8 Texas A&M, 17-14.

That game marked App State's second win over an AP top-10 opponent in program history. This week, the Mountaineers return home and welcome Troy to Boone, North Carolina.

Troy dropped its season opener at Ole Miss before returning home to knock off Alabama A&M last week.

This week's game will be the Sun Belt opener for both teams. Appalachian State has won six of the seven meetings between the teams since it joined the conference.

While App State pulled off a huge upset last week, it enters as a 12.5-point favorite. It will also host ESPN's College GameDay for the first time in school history.

Will the Mountaineers have a letdown back at home?

Troy Trojans

Quarterback Jarret Doege transferred from West Virginia to Western Kentucky following last season. Once he failed to win the starting job, he transferred from WKU to Troy just before the start of the season.

However, no one gave Gunnar Watson the memo that he was supposed to relinquish his starting job to the former Power Five starter.

Through the first two games, Watson is averaging 313 passing yards per game and has five touchdown passes while completing 70.4% of his passes.

However, he has thrown three interceptions as well and will need to cut down on those this week to prevent the potent Appalachian State offense from getting extra chances.

Watson has been responsible for much of Troy's offense thus far, as its rushing attack has been anemic. Troy is averaging 59 rushing yards per game on two yards per carry. Even when removing Watson's yardage lost on sacks (-45 yards), the results don't get much better. The Trojans rank 106th in Rushing Success Rate, 129th in rushing EPA/Play and 131st in rushing play explosiveness.

Watson's top target this season has been Jabre Barber, and he's been a big bright spot with 10 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown. UAB transfer Rajae' Johnson-Sanders plays the red-zone role with his 6-foot-4 frame and has two touchdowns through the first games.

Defensively, Troy held up pretty well against Ole Miss in its season opener, limiting the Rebels to 28 points and forcing three turnovers. However, the Rebels did run for 266 yards.

Appalachian State will pose a similar threat with its running game, which could be a problem as Troy ranks 110th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.

However, Troy may have success making App State drive the length of the field. The Mountaineers are 74th in standard down explosiveness, and Troy comes in at 20th in standard down explosiveness allowed. The teams are also about even in Finishing Drives.

If Troy can limit App State to field goals when it crosses the 40, the Trojans may be able to keep it close.

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App State Mountaineers

Appalachian State is a few plays away from being 2-0 with two wins over Power Five opponents. The Mountaineers nearly overcame a 20-point deficit against North Carolina after a 40-point fourth quarter before falling, 63-61.

Last week, App State forced two turnovers and dominated time of possession against Texas A&M. A 29-yard field goal from Michael Hughes with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter ended up being the deciding play, giving the Mountaineers a 17-14 win.

App State is a threat any given week because it has one of the most balanced offenses in the country. The Mountaineers average 255 yards per game through the air and 234 yards on the ground.

Quarterback Chase Brice has thrown for seven touchdown passes and just one interception.

The Mountaineers also boast a pair of running backs that may be in the NFL next season. Camerun Peoples and Nate Noel each have been 1,000-yard rushers in their careers. Although Noel sat out last week after getting banged up in the opener, Peoples picked up the slack and ran for 112 yards on 19 carries.

App State's offensive line turned in a standout performance last week, only allowing two havoc plays and four quarterback hurries. The Mountaineers are eighth nationally in havoc allowed.

Last week was a bounce-back week for the Mountaineers defense. After UNC torched it for 567 yards and 63 points, App State held Texas A&M to 186 yards and 14 points.

The Mountaineers enter this week 31st in Rushing Success Rate Allowed. However, their pass defense has not recovered yet from facing Drake Maye and ranks 102nd in Passing Success Rate Allowed.

Troy vs. Appalachian State Matchup Analysis

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

Troy Offense vs. Appalachian State Defense
Rush Success13031
Line Yards12685
Pass Success46102
Pass Blocking**7142
Finishing Drives131125
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Appalachian State Offense vs. Troy Defense
Rush Success3177
Line Yards8966
Pass Success7878
Pass Blocking**4182
Finishing Drives5351
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling13031
PFF Coverage57104
SP+ Special Teams37127
Seconds per Play25.0 (41)27.4 (91)
Rush Rate38.4% (121)59.0% (34)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Troy vs. Appalachian State Betting Pick

From a pure numbers perspective, I would go with Appalachian State this week. However, college football is not played on paper.

The Mountaineers are the talk of the nation after knocking off Texas A&M, and it will host the College GameDay for the first time ever. That screams "letdown spot" here.

Watson should have success against an App State secondary that ranks 104th in pass coverage and 102nd in Passing Success Rate Allowed.

Defensively, the key for Troy will be getting App State off the field on third down and preventing it from dominating time of possession. The Mountaineers have gone 16-for-33 on third down this season to rank 35th nationally.

If Troy can do that, it will be able to get its own offense on the field and compete in the time-of-possession department.

Action Network's projections have this line at -8.4 points. At -12.5, you're getting four points of value. I'll back the Trojans in this spot.

Pick: Troy +12.5

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