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College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for UAB vs. Marshall: Herd’s Edge on Offense Helps Value

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for UAB vs. Marshall: Herd’s Edge on Offense Helps Value article feature image

Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Dylan Hopkins

  • UAB is second in the C-USA West division and will need to keep pace with UTSA.
  • Meanwhile, Marshall is tied for first with Western Kentucky in the East division.
  • Darin Gardner breaks down who has the edge in this Conference USA duel.

UAB vs. Marshall Odds

Saturday, Nov. 13
3:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
UAB Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-110o / -110u
Marshall Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Entering the year, these two squads were at the top of the board for Conference USA championship odds after facing off in the title game a year ago.

Looking at where it stands now, Marshall has held up its end of the bargain, as it’s tied for first in the East division with Western Kentucky.

UAB has also gone 4-1 in Conference USA play, but the problem there is that it’s in the same division as UTSA, which is currently undefeated in the league. If UAB is able to pull off a win here, next week’s matchup on the road at UTSA will likely decide who represents that side of the conference in the championship game.

Simply put, both teams need a win here to feel good about their chances in the race for the conference title.

Do the Herd get revenge, or will UAB be able to pull off an upset and set up an important matchup in San Antonio next week?

UAB Blazers

UAB Offense

The highlight of the UAB offense has been running back DeWayne McBride, whose 6.8 yards per carry ranks seventh among running backs with at least 100 attempts.

Per PFF, his missed tackles forced per carry and yards after contact per attempt both rank top five among that group as well, which has earned him an 87.1 rushing grade on the year. He’s coming off a monster game against Louisiana Tech, where he carried the ball 14 times for 210 yards and four touchdowns.

Overall, though, the UAB offense ranks just 73rd in expected points added (EPA) per play, thanks to a mediocre passing game.

Quarterback Dylan Hopkins has taken the majority of snaps over veteran Tyler Johnston III. Among 148 qualifying quarterbacks, Hopkins ranks 115th in PFF passing grade and 133rd in turnover-worthy play rate.

The offensive line hasn’t been great either, ranking 117th in sack rate allowed. However, quarterbacks do play a role in a team’s sack rate and Hopkins could be to blame for some of that. Per PFF, 27.5% of his pressures have been turned into sacks, which is the 18th-highest among 148 players.

In terms of Success Rate, this passing game as a whole ranks smack dab in the middle at 65th.

UAB Defense

UAB is known for always having a strong defense under coach Bill Clark and this year is no different, with the Blazers ranking in the top 20 in both Rushing and Passing Success Rate Allowed.

However, the Blazers have had a problem allowing big gains in the passing game, with a ranking of 83rd in EPA per pass allowed.

The biggest strength of this team has been the pass rush, which ranks fourth in PFF grade.

Edge defender Alex Wright has been very productive there, as his 28.4% pass-rush win rate ranks fifth among all players at the position, per PFF, which has earned him an elite 90.6 pass rushing grade.

This will be a fun matchup to watch because Marshall has been elite in pass protection as well.

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Marshall Thundering Herd

Marshall Offense

As you just read, this Marshall offensive line has been very productive in pass protection, ranking eighth in pressure rate allowed.

Center Alex Mollette ranks second in the nation in PFF pass blocking grade at his position, with tackles Will Ulmer and Kendrick Sartor allowing just three sacks combined on the season. The group has been very solid in the run game as well, ranking 34th in PFF run blocking grade.

At quarterback, Grant Wells ranks 37th in PFF passing grade and 17th in big-time throw rate. He does a good job spreading the ball around as well, with five different players hauling in at least 25 catches in the passing game.

Receiver Corey Gammage has been the go-to guy, though, with 53 catches for 684 yards on the year. Willie Johnson has also been a deep threat in every sense of the word, as his 19.8 average depth of target ranks fourth among all receivers with at least 50 targets, per PFF.

On the ground, Rasheen Ali has been the bell cow, with 17 rushing touchdowns tying him for first in the nation.

Overall, the Herd rank 38th in EPA per carry.

Marshall Defense

UAB isn’t the only strong defense in this matchup, with Marshall ranking 12th in points allowed per drive and 16th in EPA per play allowed. It’s set up for an awesome day against a mediocre UAB passing game, ranking fifth in EPA allowed per pass and fourth in pressure rate.

In coverage, Stephon Gilmore’s younger brother, Steven, is allowing an incredibly low 4.2 yards per target into his coverage, while teammate Nazeeh Johnson ranks 27th among all safeties in PFF coverage grade.

Moving on to the pass rush, the top performer there has been Eli Neal at linebacker, whose six sacks are tied for seventh nationally at the position. Overall, there are eight players in this team with two sacks or more.

The run defense hasn’t been as effective, ranking 89th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed. UAB probably won’t have a great day in the air here, so it will have to really take advantage of this mismatch in order to pull off the upset.

UAB vs. Marshall Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how UAB and Marshall match up statistically:

UAB Offense vs. Marshall Defense
Rush Success 44 89
Line Yards 42 88
Pass Success 65 19
Pass Blocking** 46 8
Big Play 15 28
Havoc 107 98
Finishing Drives 71 7
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Marshall Offense vs. UAB Defense
Rush Success 46 16
Line Yards 87 16
Pass Success 44 7
Pass Blocking** 14 9
Big Play 17 18
Havoc 22 32
Finishing Drives 72 72
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 38 36
Coverage 13 19
Middle 8 44 26
SP+ Special Teams 93 83
Plays per Minute 126 10
Rush Rate 62.9% (13) 46.7% (116)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

UAB vs. Marshall Betting Pick

This is a tight matchup with two very strong defenses, but I believe Marshall’s edge on offense will ultimately be the deciding factor. The Herd have quietly done very well on that side of the ball this year, and UAB’s lack of an efficient passing game could make it very tough to move the ball against an elite Marshall pass defense.

This line has been pushed down to 4.5 after opening at six in some places, and I see this is a good opportunity to back the Herd in a game where I project them at 7.2-point favorites.

Pick: Marshall -4.5

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