UAB vs. Marshall Odds & Picks: Your Betting Guide for the Conference USA Championship
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Marshall RB Brenden Knox
- Conference championship weekend kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on Friday when Marshall faces UAB in the C-USA Championship.
- The Thundering Herd have dominated opponents for much of the season, and BJ Cunningham doesn't see the Blazers hanging with them for long.
- Check out Cunningham's full betting preview with updated odds and a pick below.
UAB vs. Marshall Odds
|UAB Odds||+3.5 (+100) [BET NOW]|
|Marshall Odds||-3.5 (-120) [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+170 / -208 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||42.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
UAB heads to Huntington to take on Marshall in the Conference USA title game Friday night.
Marshall saw its perfect season slip through its fingertips as the Herd lost to a depleted Rice squad, 20-0. The Thundering Herd had been dominating Conference USA up to that point and were as high as 16th in the AP Poll. They will need to put that bad performance behind them if they want to win their first C-USA title since 2014.
UAB has had its schedule ravaged by COVID-19 with four canceled games, and the Blazers didn’t play at all between Halloween and last week. It was an up-and-down season for them at 5-3 with losses in their three toughest games.
The Blazers offense came alive in its first game in over a month. Even though it only scored 21 points against Rice, it gained a whopping 6.94 yards per play. The better news for UAB is that its running back tandem of Spencer Brown and DeWayne McBride are both available to play on Friday after missing that game.
The ground game is the bread and butter of the UAB offense. The Blazers rank 55th in Rushing Success and are averaging 5.1 yards per rush attempt.
However, UAB has played a relatively easy schedule up until this point. In the Blazers’ two biggest tests of the season against Miami and Louisiana-Lafayette, they struggled with only 3.64 yards per carry. Marshall has one of the best run defenses in the country, so I think UAB is going to have trouble establishing its run game.
One of the benefits of being off for a month and a half is the fact it allowed the Blazers to get healthy. Starting quarterback Tyler Johnston averaged 12.2 yards per attempt on only 18 pass attempts against Rice.
The bad news for UAB is that its best receiver, Austin Watkins, has opted out of the season. He has almost 30% of the team’s catches this season.
UAB has been dominating opponents on defense. The Blazers are 15th in Defensive Success Rate and top 10 in the country in both Defensive Passing and Rushing Success, per College Football Data. However, while all of that sounds good, they are really prone to giving up explosive plays.
The Blazers are 102nd in explosive plays allowed and are 119th in rushing explosiveness allowed.
A lot of UAB’s success on defense is due to the fact it dominated lesser opponents. Against Miami and Louisiana, the Blazers allowed 5.53 yards per play. They allowed 4.32 yards per play against the rest of their opponents.
Marshall Thundering Herd
Before the complete dud against Rice, the Marshall offense was humming. The Thundering Herd are 25th in Offensive Success Rate, per College Football Data, and have the best rushing attack in Conference USA.
Junior running back Brenden Knox leads Marshall’s rushing attack, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. The Thundering Herd sit 27th in Rushing Success and are top-five in Power Success and Offensive Line Yards. UAB is one of the best rushing defenses it’s faced all season, so Marshall may struggle to run the ball on Friday, at least relative to normal.
Freshman quarterback Grant Wells was having a stellar season before throwing five picks against Rice. Wells averages 8.1 yards per attempt and has led Marshall to the 31st-best passing offense in Success Rate. If Wells can put the Rice game behind him and play like he has all season long, then Marshall has a fantastic shot at winning the title.
Marshall features one of the best defenses in the country and has been dominating everyone on its schedule. In their eight games this season, the Herd have not allowed an opposing offense to score over 17 points. In their two biggest games of the season, they allowed only 13 total points to Florida Atlantic and Appalachian State.
The strength of Marshall’s defense lies in the front seven. The Thundering Herd are ninth in Defensive Rushing Success, first in rushing explosiveness allowed, and are allowing an FBS-low 2.3 yards per carry.
Their secondary is also one of the best in Conference USA. They’ve allowed only 6.0 yards per attempt and are ranked sixth in passing explosiveness allowed. If UAB can’t break off any big runs, it will struggle to move the ball effectively.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Even though Marshall put up a dud in its last game, the Herd are due for a rebound. Their defense is one of the best in the nation and should shut down the Blazers’ offense.
I have Marshall projected as a -10.36 favorite at home, so I think there’s value on the Thundering Herd at any number under -7. There’s a -4.5 at FanDuel out there as of Wednesday night, but most of the market is at -5 or -5.5, dead numbers anyway relative to -4.5.
Pick: Marshall -5.5 (up to -7).