Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina Betting Odds & Pick: Can the Ranked Chanticleers Take Down the Eagles? (Saturday, Oct. 24)
Chris Thelen/Getty Images. Pictured: Shai Werts
- Georgia Southern travels to Coastal Carolina as a 5.5-point road underdog — a spot the Eagles are 4-2 against the spread in since 2018.
- Our college football betting analyst Mike Calabrese doesn't see the value on the spread, though.
- Find his preview of Saturday's matchup below complete with his pick.
Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina Odds
|Georgia Southern Odds||+4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Coastal Carolina Odds||-4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+160/-193 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||51.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET|
This season sets up nicely for teams to break into the AP Top 25. Coastal Carolina has already taken advantage, finding itself ranked for the first time after reeling off four wins to start its 2020 campaign. The Chanticleers gave the voters little choice after they recorded the program’s first-ever win against a ranked FBS team, dropping No. 21 Louisiana, 30-27, last week on the road.
The recipe for Coastal has been pretty straightforward thus far: run the ball, sustain long drives, and win the turnover battle. It’s accomplished all three at a very high level in 2020, rushing for over 200 yards per game, leading the nation in time of possession percentage, all while winning the turnover margin in three of their four games (+1 turnover margin per game, ninth).
It’s difficult to poke holes in what Jamey Chadwell and the Chanticleers have accomplished this fall, but this game is really more about the challenge Georgia Southern presents to the Chants than the other way around.
The Eagles feature a four-year starter at quarterback with a sterling 24:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio since 2018. Shai Werts pilots one of the nation’s most dynamic rushing attacks that ranks fourth in yards per carry (5.89) and yards per game (281.3). After torpedoing the Sun Belt’s only ranked team last year (24-21 over App St), I believe the Eagles will ruin another dream season here in 2020.
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Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
If a team’s hoping to beat Georgia Southern, it needs to stop the run and get off the field on third downs. So far in 2020, the Chanticleers rank in the 30s in both defensive third-down conversion percentage and rushing defense, which out of 76 eligible teams, means that CCU is fairly average in both regards.
That’s a bit concerning considering that half of its games have come against Campbell and Kansas. Both the Camels and Jayhawks average less than 141 yards per game on the ground, while KU continues to struggle mightily on third downs (21.15%, 75th).
As I mentioned in the opening, Coastal has benefited from the ninth-best turnover margin in the country. Unfortunately for CCU, Georgia Southern has historically been one of the best teams at protecting the football.
The Eagles have thrown just two interceptions over their last 30 games, which is far and away the lowest total of any team in the country. In addition, Coastal doesn’t have the kind of defense that forces turnovers, checking in at just 32nd nationally in defensive Havoc rating.
Offensively, CCU has made its bones in the red zone. The Chanticleers have racked up 18 red-zone trips and converted those opportunities into 17 touchdowns and a field goal. That’s the highest scoring percentage and second-highest touchdown percentage in the nation. The Eagles can counter with the 16th best red-zone defense, allowing scores 75% of the time.
It appears that every major strength favoring Coastal Carolina can be countered by Georgia Southern.
Georgia Southern Eagles
As a road dog, the Eagles are 4-2 ATS dating back to 2018. I foresee this success continuing behind an extremely experienced offense led by a fifth-year senior seeing action in his 40th career game. Some offenses demand experience to operate at a high level and the Eagles’ spread option scheme is one of those attacks.
The Eagles returned 80% of their offensive production year over year, and that continuity has led to four ball carriers averaging over 5.7 yards per carry thus far. J.D. King has been especially effective. The Oklahoma State transfer has racked up 423 yards and three scores as the Eagles’ lead back.
In addition to their ground-and-pound attack, Werts is off to the best start of his career through the air. He has already tossed five touchdown passes and thrown for more than 125 yards in two separate games. For perspective, Werts eclipsed 125 yards just twice last season and threw only nine touchdown passes in his 11 games.
This added element only makes the Eagles’ offense more dangerous. His maturation explains why he’s the eighth-rated quarterback according to ESPN’s Raw Total Quarterback metric.
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Betting Analysis & Pick
The real reason I’m so bullish on the Eagles is the performance of Werts under head coach Chad Lunsford in big conference games. Dating back to 2018, Georgia Southern is 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS when facing ranked Sun Belt foes. It won’t be intimidated by the upstart Chanticleers and has already flirted with an upset of a ranked opponent this season.
This time, I’m predicting the Eagles to be on the right side of a late field, spoiling the Chants’ dream start to their season.
Pick: Georgia Southern ML +175