UAB vs. Central Arkansas Odds, Picks, Betting Predictions: Take Blazers in First Half (Thursday, Sept. 3)
John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Thomas Johnston
- UAB is a three-touchdown betting favorite over Central Arkansas on Thursday night, with the odds moving from -14.5 to north of -21 over the past few days.
- UCA, an FCS team, played Saturday night and needed a last-minute touchdown to beat Austin Peay, despite controlling the game. UAB meanwhile returns most of its production from a 9-5 team.
- Get Collin Wilson's full breakdown and betting pick for UAB vs. Central Arkansas below.
Central Arkansas at UAB Odds
|Central Arkansas Odds||+19.5 [Bet Now]|
|UAB Odds||-19.5 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||49.5 [Bet Now]|
|Time||Thursday, 8 p.m. ET|
Central Arkansas was victorious 24-16 over Austin Peay last Saturday in the FCS Kickoff. But, rather than taking a bus back to Arkansas and then returning to the state of Alabama on a short week, UAB Athletic Director Mark Ingram set up housing for the Bears in Birmingham.
There is no denying that Central Arkansas’ potent passing attack will be tested against one of the most havoc-minded teams in FBS. UAB has one of the highest marks in returning production in all of FBS at 81% — including a highly disruptive defense that ranked eighth in tackles for loss and 13th in passes broke up last season.
Those numbers are especially important against Central Arkansas quarterback Breylin Smith, who is sack-prone and had two interceptions against Austin Peay.
— Austin Peay Football (@GovsFB) August 30, 2020
Meanwhile, Tyler Johnston III returns at quarterback for UAB behind an experienced offensive line. The Blazers return four offensive linemen with double-digit career starts, while seven others have appeared in 10 or more games.
The Blazers’ experience bodes well for the return of running back Spencer Brown, as the offensive line had minimal run disruption in 2019 per Sports Source Analytics.
Per Bet Labs, Bill Clark is also one of the most profitable coaches before and after UAB’s hibernation from college football. Clark’s attention to detail and preparedness has led to a 63% winning percentage against the spread since 2014.
My projected full-game spread for this showdown is UAB -19.5, with an early market opener of -14.5 quickly on its way to that target.
Central Arkansas continues to have issues finishing drives, and I think we see that play out here. Against Austin Peay in Week 0, the Bears crossed their opponent’s 35-yard line on 11-of-15 drives without doing much damage on the scoreboard. UAB ranked 20th in defensive finishing drives last season, which may exacerbate Central Arkansas’ difficulties on Thursday.
While I would play the full-game spread up to UAB -17, there may be a better bet on the first half.
Central Arkansas was slow to get points on the board against Austin Peay, but that is not a one-time occurrence. In 2019 action, the Bears scored just one touchdown in the first half against Illinois State, a field goal in the first quarter in a 52-point effort versus Incarnate Word and a field goal in the first quarter over Stephen F. Austin. We may think those are random events for head coach Nathan Brown, but consider the Bears were blanked early against Southeast Louisiana, Sam Houston State and Nicholls.
This is not a trend with Central Arkansas; it is an identity. That may not bode well against a UAB club that posted 124 points in the second quarter versus just 27 in the fourth quarter during 2019.
The Bet: UAB First Half -9.5 or better