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College Football Odds & Picks: South Alabama vs. Southern Miss Preview (Thursday, Sept. 3)

College Football Odds & Picks: South Alabama vs. Southern Miss Preview (Thursday, Sept. 3) article feature image

Steve Roberts/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Southern Miss

  • Southern Miss is a nearly two-touchdown favorite over South Alabama in Thursday night's Sun Belt opener, with the total at 55.5.
  • The line has ping ponged around the key number of 14, but Collin Wilson is focusing on the total instead.
  • Get his full breakdown and bet for South Alabama vs. Southern Miss below.

South Alabama at Southern Miss

South Alabama Odds +13.5 [BET NOW]
Southern Miss Odds -13.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 55.5 [BET NOW]
Time Thursday, 9 p.m. ET

Odds as of Thursday evening and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

There is plenty of respect between the two head coaches, as Jay Hopson of Southern Miss and Steve Campbell of South Alabama both coached at Delta State in the early 1990s. Whether or not that respect between coaches means the Southern Miss players are taking knees with a 14-point lead remains to be seen. Last season, both of these teams had issues getting points on the board when the opportunity presented itself.

Southern Miss finished the 2019 season ranked 111th in finishing drives — a stat that determines points per attempt past the 40-yard line. Not to be outdone, South Alabama finished last season seven ranks lower (118th) in that same category.

The Jaguars showed flashes of competent quarterback play once Desmond Trotter took over at the end of the season; but when under pressure, Trotter’s passing efficiency dropped from 60% to 40%. One area for Trotter to improve is sticking in the pocket, as the sophomore had one of the highest rates of rushing in drop-back passing attempts in his first year.

The story is different for Southern Miss quarterback Jack Abraham. The senior was 35th in passing success rate last season but had one of the smallest yards per attempt in the country. His accuracy is still questionable, with a 14-to-10 touchdown to interception ratio in drop-backs that had zero pressure. Considering these teams ranked 99th and 116th in offensive success rate, it is certainly worth looking at a low total.

Seconds per play is a stat that reports how much time is used off the play clock before the ball is snapped. Southern Miss ranked 105th in seconds per play for 2019, with South Alabama coming in at 71st. Because South Alabama ranked 122nd in havoc allowed as well,  scoring opportunities may be an issue Thursday night.

The projected spread for this game is Southern Miss -13.5, so there is little value in taking a side. Based on both teams’ previous season marks in players per game, pace and success rate, the projected game total for this matchup would be 49 points. Considering the dink-and-dunk nature of the Southern Miss offense, Trotter’s tendency to leave the pocket and both teams penchant for turnovers, I will be looking to take the under.

The Bet: Under 54 or better.

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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