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College Football Best Bet: South Alabama at Texas State

Many readers of this blog will be surprised by Saturday’s free Best Bet in light of the fact that I have been a proponent of South Alabama all season, including winning my 5* Game of the Year on the Jaguars last week.  However, the oddsmakers have installed South Alabama as road favorites for the first time in school, and that hefty price tag is not justified based upon Saturday’s opponent.

Texas State is led by head coach Dennis Franchione, who is 25-9-1 ATS at home versus teams off a SU and ATS win, including 11-3-1 ATS when taking points.  More importantly, the Bobcats are 10-6 SU at home under Franchione and 3-1 ATS as home underdogs this season, including an impressive 42-21 blowout win over Western Kentucky earlier this season.  I also like the fact that Texas State is outgaining its opponents by an average of 105 yards per game at home in 2013.

Texas State Offense:

  • The Bobcats are averaging 23.0 points per game this season on 4.7 yards per rush play, 5.6 yards per pass attempt and 5.0 yards per play;
  • Texas State is averaging 27.0 points per game at home at 5.9 yards per rush play, 6.1 yards per pass attempt and 5.9 yards per play;
  • Overall, the Bobcats are 0.1 yards per rush play better than average, while being 1.4 yards per pass attempt and 0.6 yards per play worse than average offensively in 2013.

Texas State Defense:

  • Texas State is allowing 22.6 points per game on 3.1 yards per rush play, 6.5 yards per pass attempt and 5.1 yards per play to teams that combine to average 3.9 yards per rush play, 6.4 yards per pass attempt and 5.2 yards per play;
  • The Bobcats’ stop unit has really excelled at home where they are limiting opponents to a mere 15.5 points per game on 2.9 yards per rush play, 5.0 yards per pass play and 286 total yards (4.1 yards per play; 18.4 yards per point);
  • Overall, Texas State is 0.8 yards per rush play and 0.1 yards per play better than average defensively, while being 0.1 yards per pass attempt worse than average.

The first question is whether South Alabama will have success moving the ball against the Bobcats’ defense.  Both teams are similar from the line of scrimmage, but South Alabama should have some success throwing the ball (0.5 yards per pass play advantage).  The problem for the Jaguars, however, is the fact that they will not be able to establish a ground attack (1.0 yards per rush play disadvantage), which turns coach Joey Jones squad into a one-dimensional team.

The bigger concern for South Alabama is its defense that is yielding 34.7 points per game on the road, including 429 total yards per game at 12.4 yards per point.  Texas State will likely pound the ball on offense as the Bobcats possess a significant 0.7 yards per rush play advantage offensively in this contest.  And, one of my favorite things to do is invest on home underdogs who own a solid ground attack when matched up against an opponent who struggles to stop the run.  Take Texas State and invest with confidence.

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