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Daily Sports Picks: Georgia Southern Hosts Red Wolves in Sun Belt Affair

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Oskeim Sports previews Saturday’s college football game between Arkansas State and Georgia Southern.  Oskeim recommends taking the Eagles plus the points as one of his daily sports picks for September 29.

Oskeim also provides daily sports picks in the following college football games: Mississippi at LSU and Pittsburgh at Central Florida.

My math model favors Arkansas State by just 1.77 points and the Eagles enter their Sun Belt Conference opener off a much-needed bye week. Arkansas State struggled against the Eagles’ unique offense last year, allowing 333 yards on the ground and 493 total yards despite escaping with the win.

Georgia Southern’s option-attack is averaging 244 rushing yards per game at 4.7 yards per carry and should once again have success exploiting a subpar Arkansas State front seven that is 0.3 yards per play worse than average against the run (5.3 yards per rush attempt to teams that would combine to average 5.0 yards per rush play to a mediocre offense).

I like investing in conference home underdogs that possess solid ground games because it allows them to control time-of-possession and shorten the game. The Eagles possess a decent 0.5 yards per rush play advantage from the line of scrimmage against a weak Arkansas State front seven.

The Eagles also possess a 0.2 yards per play advantage defensively over a pedestrian Arkansas State attack that is averaging 6.1 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 6.2 yards per play to a mediocre offense.

I also like the fact that Georgia Southern’s defense does not give up big plays, allowing 18.8 yards per point to teams that would combine to average 14.2 yards per point. The Red Wolves will have to earn every yard they gain and, by extension, every point they score on Saturday.

Georgia Southern is 5-1 ATS in its last six games and 4-0 ATS in its last four home games. In contrast, the Red Wolves are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a win, 1-4 ATS in their previous five September affairs, 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall and 0-4 ATS in their last four clashes with .501 or greater opposition.

Finally, the Eagles are a mission team under first-year head coach Chad Lunsford, who took over for Tyson Summers midway through last season after Summers was fired. Lunsford served as the Eagles’ special teams coach before assuming the interim head coach role last November.

Under Lunsford’s leadership, Georgia Southern handed South Alabama its first shutout loss in program history (52-0) and upset Louisiana 34-24 the following week. The players chanted “WE WANT LUNS” in the locker room following the victory, prompting the school to name Lunsford the Eagles’ permanent head coach.

Lunsford made an excellent hire in offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse, who served as New Mexico’s offensive coordinator from 2012-17. New Mexico’s ground attacked finished ranked in the top five on four separate occasions under DeBesse’s tutelage and he has already committed himself to the option with the Eagles.

I don’t see Arkansas State escaping Statesboro with a win on Saturday – grab the points with the Eagles as one of Oskeim’s daily sports picks for Saturday, September 29.

Oskeim Sports’ Daily Sports Picks for September 29:

  • Georgia Southern (+3.5) (-110) over Arkansas State
  • Pittsburgh (+13) (-110) over Central Florida
  • Mississippi (+10.5) (-110) over LSU