Old Dominion vs Georgia State Betting Odds, Picks: Can Monarchs Cover?

Old Dominion vs Georgia State Betting Odds, Picks: Can Monarchs Cover? article feature image

Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Wayne Matthews III (Old Dominion)

  • Hayden Wolff and the Old Dominion Monarchs travel south to take on Darren Grainger and the Georgia State Panthers in a Sun Belt showdown on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Monarchs hold a key advantage in this conference matchup, according to Dan Keegan.
  • Check out Keegan's full analysis and betting pick for Old Dominion vs Georgia State below.

Old Dominion vs Georgia State Odds

Saturday, Oct. 29
3 p.m. ET
Old Dominion Odds
-108o / -112u
Georgia State Odds
-108o / -112u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Sun Belt has emerged this season as perhaps the most fun Group of Five conference to follow — living up to its moniker of the Fun Belt Conference.

Part of that has been the emergence of fast, athletic defenses that swarm to ballcarriers, like the outfits at Troy, Southern Miss and James Madison.

But a whole lot of the “fun” in “Fun Belt” is high-scoring shootouts, and Old Dominion and Georgia State create big plays on offense and are threats to light up the scoreboard right now.

When these two meet, will we see a shootout? Or is there a better play? Let’s dive into it.

Old Dominion Monarchs

Interestingly, this is a matchup of two of the newest FBS programs — Old Dominion was established in 2009 and Georgia State started its football program the year after that.

The teams played as newly-minted FCS programs, with ODU sweeping all three meetings from 2010-2012. Both joined FBS play in 2013 and went their separate ways, but have reunited this season as conference foes.

The Monarchs sit 82nd in SP+ with a balanced team — 75th in offensive SP+ and 79th defensively.

Ricky Rahne’s outfit is 3-4 with an interesting resume. The Monarchs lost on the last possession to Virginia — a win there would have given them a sweep over in-state Power Five rivals. They beat Virginia Tech in a 20-17 rock fight and smoked Coastal Carolina in a high-tempo shootout, 49-21.

They are consistent in one manner. Other than one game missed by starting running back Blake Watson, the trio of quarterback Hayden Wolff, Watson and wide receiver Ali Jennings III has led the team in passing, rushing and receiving, respectively, in all seven games.

Jennings III is a star. The West Virginia transfer leads FBS in receiving with 905 yards. His 47 grabs have gone for a preposterous 19.5 per catch and he has scored a touchdown in every game except the opener. His combination of volume and big plays is unmatched.

Jennings III and Watson (6.5 yards per carry) combine for one of the best big-play attacks at the Group of Five level.

The ODU offense is not an efficient one, ranking 115th in Success Rate. The Monarchs don’t matriculate the ball down the field. Instead, what they do is hit home runs (15th overall in FBS in Offensive Explosiveness).

This will be an interesting matchup against a Panthers defense that is strong at limiting explosives (22nd overall).

The Old Dominion defense is a below-average FBS unit. It doesn't create too much Havoc, or have great underlying metrics in too many matchups. However, there are two areas where the Monarchs' defense is performing well on the season.

The first is “bend-but-don’t-break” defense. By our Finishing Drives metric, the Monarchs rank 16th in FBS.

This same concept is also expressed in Parker Fleming’s ECKEL stat, a measure of quality drives and what teams do with them.

The Monarchs are 91st overall in allowing “ECKELs,” meaning teams can drive the ball on them and get first downs inside the 40. But they improve to 37th overall in points per ECKEL — they are good at forcing field goals or otherwise limiting your ability to capitalize.

This is a huge advantage against a Georgia State offense that ranks 116th in Finishing Drives, or 118th in Points Per ECKEL.

Secondly, Old Dominion’s defense ranks 10th in PFF tackling grade. This will be a huge factor in a matchup with a Georgia State offense that relies on the physical running of quarterback Darren Grainger and running back Tucker Gregg.

Preventing yards after contact will go a long way in keeping a mediocre Georgia State passing attack behind the sticks.

Georgia State Panthers

The Panthers were tabbed as preseason Sun Belt East sleepers, so their 0-4 start — and 2-5 record overall — is a disappointment.

The team reeled off seven wins last season, including a victory over Ball State in their third straight bowl appearance.

This hot streak coincided with the emergence of dual-threat quarterback Grainger and was aided by a solid, veteran defense that rose to No. 65 in defensive SP+.

Grainger and Co. have performed up to expectations on offense. The three-headed rushing attack of Grainger, Gregg and lightning running back Jamyest Williams has been prolific, as the team averages over 200 yards per game on the ground.

The Panthers run a quick pace, but keep the ball on the ground, ranking seventh in Rush Rate.

Forcing the Panthers into passing situations is a key for Old Dominion. Grainger has paired his 10 Big Time Throws with a matching 10 Turnover Worthy Plays. He only completes 53.8% of his pass attempts.

The Monarchs have to force the Panthers to try to move the sticks with passes, as Georgia State is 92nd in Success Rate through the air.

The Georgia State defense has regressed from last season’s effort and has been a key reason for its slow start. The unit that finished 65th in SP+ last season now checks in at No. 98.

There is still some competency against the pass — ranking 55th in PFF coverage grading — but the run defense has been ghastly — 95th overall in EPA/rush.

They do oddly align their strengths with Old Dominion’s strength — explosiveness. Georgia State has been solid at limiting big plays. It doesn't create any Havoc, however, ranking 100th in that category, which is too bad because Old Dominion can be vulnerable to Havoc (96th in preventing Havoc).

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Old Dominion vs Georgia State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Old Dominion and Georgia State match up statistically:

Old Dominion Offense vs. Georgia State Defense
Rush Success104124
Line Yards11098
Pass Success114100
Pass Blocking**9664
Finishing Drives8690
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Georgia State Offense vs. Old Dominion Defense
Rush Success10067
Line Yards1685
Pass Success9172
Pass Blocking**9363
Finishing Drives11316
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling10116
PFF Coverage6055
SP+ Special Teams8734
Seconds per Play24.0 (24)22.2 (11)
Rush Rate44.6% (118)65.3% (7)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Old Dominion vs Georgia State Betting Pick

This is a very close matchup between two offenses with drastically different approaches. Both teams will play fast, but ODU will chuck it around the yard while Georgia State keeps it on the ground.

But ultimately, both will look to create big plays.

I’ve gone back and forth on this one, as each team has one key advantage that I think could swing the game in their favor.

Georgia State has home-field advantage and its defense is far better at preventing explosive plays, even in its regressed state.

The Monarchs' knack for stopping drives is a big advantage against a Panthers defense that struggles to finish theirs.

I think this game will have a lot of exciting big plays between two evenly-matched teams. I think 4.5 points is too many in such a close matchup. I will take ODU and the points as long as I’m getting more than a field goal.

Pick: Old Dominion +4.5 (Play to +3.5)

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