Sun Belt Odds & Picks for Week 3: How to Bet College Football’s Upset-Minded Conference After Crazy Week
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Marshall quarterback Henry Colombi.
Week 2 of the 2022 college football season will forever be known as the week of the Sun Belt.
It was a season-defining week that saw two top-10 teams upset at home by Sun Belt squads. On top of that, the conference delivered two more road upsets, including South Alabama over Central Michigan and Georgia Southern over Nebraska, which resulted in the firing of Huskers head coach Scott Frost.
Altogether, six Sun Belt underdogs covered the spread in Week 2. A wild week indeed.
But what now? Was it a flash in the pan? Is the Sun Belt the best Group of Five conference in college football? Where do we go from here?
People have a lot of questions about the Sun Belt but not many have answers. Luckily, I do know where we go from here — Week 3! This includes five more Power Five opponents for the Sun Belt and another great week of matchups for the conference.
If you aren’t up to date on the Sun Belt, congratulations — you’re in the right place. Check out our preseason Sun Belt Conference preview written by Kyle Remillard — or listen to our Big Bets on Campus Podcast episode previewing the Sun Belt Conference just a few weeks ago:
The State of the Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt East
Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, James Madison and Marshall are all tied for first in the East at 2-0. But, in my opinion, Marshall is the standalone favorite in the division. And if this isn’t your first rodeo, you saw Stuckey give out their conference future at +500 this preseason.
Marshall Thundering Herd
The Thundering Herd lead the Belt in rushing yards, while quarterback Henry Colombi paces the conference in completion percentage. They also boast the best scoring defense in the conference.
Their recent win on the road against a top-10 team in Notre Dame solidified them as a serious threat moving forward.
Sun Belt West
Louisiana and South Alabama are tied for first in the West. While the Ragin’ Cajuns were second on the odds board to win the conference in the preseason, I think South Alabama is a real threat to win the division.
South Alabama Jaguars
The Jaguars are a well-rounded team that can match up well with Louisiana — and any team in the West, for that matter. The Jaguars rank third in scoring offense and fourth in scoring defense. They’re also third in passing yards on offense and second in rushing yards allowed.
Sun Belt Advanced Stats
Below are some graphs that display each team’s current stats in the conference in terms of Success Rate, Havoc and Points per Opportunity, followed by game-specific analysis for some key teams in Week 3.
Sun Belt Teams by Off. & Def. Success Rate
Sun Belt Teams by Off. & Def. Havoc
Sun Belt Teams by Off. & Def. Points per Opportunity
Sun Belt Teams in Action in Week 3
UL Monroe (+49.5) vs. Alabama
Listen, I know the Sun Belt as a whole had a fantastic showing last week, while Alabama struggled against Texas. But I’m going to be honest with you: If you’re taking Louisiana Monroe to cover +48.5 against Alabama, we may need to have a meeting, my friend.
ULM is not Marshall. It’s not App State. It’s not Georgia Southern. Texas beat the Warhawks, 52-10, in Week 1 if I need to make this point any more straightforward. If you bet on this game, you’re braver than I. I commend you. But I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.
Marshall (-16.5) vs. Bowling Green
Marshall is among the top three teams in the Sun Belt in defensive scoring, rushing yards allowed and passing yards allowed. It also leads the conference in overall rushing yards and rushing yards per game while also ranking second in yards per carry.
Bowling Green has allowed 387 yards rushing in just two games and ranks 110th nationally in rushing yards allowed.
Our Action Network projections make Marshall an 18.5-point favorite over Bowling Green. I would back Marshall as high as -17 against the Falcons.
Potential Sun Belt Upsets
Old Dominion +275 vs. Virginia
The Monarchs might not have Virginia’s experience, but they have the talent to keep this one close and potentially pull off the upset. As I mentioned in my full write-up, the Monarchs rank fourth in Havoc. And while Virginia may have a solid defense, its offense has struggled so far this season.
I expect this game to be quite similar to Old Dominion’s matchup with Virginia Tech earlier in the year — a low-scoring dogfight. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Monarchs come away with the win and move to 3-0 on the year.
Georgia Southern +365 vs. UAB
Fresh off an upset of Nebraska, I don’t think the Eagles are done yet.
Their offense is a threat both on the ground and through the air. UAB has a lot of inexperienced players on the defensive side of the ball — something Georgia Southern can take advantage of, as it leads the Sun Belt with seven yards per play.
Not to mention, three different coaches on the Georgia Southern staff previously spent time as coaches at UAB — most notably offensive line coach Richard Owens, who was just with the Blazers last year.
Defensively, the Eagles will need to get creative to stop UAB. But even if they do find themselves in a high-scoring affair, I think they have the potential to come out on top.
The Best Sun Belt Side to Bet in Week 3
Louisiana (-11.5) vs. Rice
The Ragin’ Cajuns are the third-best team in the Sun Belt in terms of rush defense, allowing just 152 yards total in their first two games. They may be without former head coach Billy Napier, but the program he built is still running strong.
More importantly, our Action Network projections make Louisiana a 19-point favorite in this game. I don’t foresee the Owls having much success trying to slow down the Ragin’ Cajuns or gaining much on the ground.
Getting the Ragin’ Cajuns at -11.5 feels like a must-bet in this situation, and I would take them as high as -14.
Pick: Louisiana -11.5 (Play to -14)