Sports bettors everywhere are cringing at the idea of betting on Southern Mississippi after its horrific 0-12 campaign last year. But, let’s not forget that the Golden Eagles suffered from an inordinate level of variance last season, including being -16 in turnover margin (7th worst in NCAA football). Hiring new head coach Todd Monken, who served as Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator the last two years, was an excellent move for the program as the Golden Eagles are going to feature an up-tempo offense in 2013. We believe that laying the points with Southern Mississippi in Week One against Texas State is a solid investment and could ultimately qualify as a college football best bet from Pro Edge Sports Picks.
Southern Mississippi Offense:
- Five quarterbacks started for the Golden Eagles last year and combined for just 2,019 yards (48.2%; 9-13 ratio). However, Southern Mississippi landed California quarterback Allan Bridgford during the spring, which will pay immediate dividends for coach Monken and his up-tempo offensive scheme.
- The key for Southern Mississippi’s backfield is the health of Kendrick Hardy, who averaged 6.5 yards per carry (team’s leading rusher) in 2010 and 5.9 yards per carry in 2011 before suffering through an injury-plagued 2012 campaign (151 rushing yards; 50 yards per carry). Pro Edge scouts indicate that Hardy has looked good in spring practice and should be completely healthy for the Golden Eagles’ season opener against BYU.
- The biggest concern on the offense is an inexperienced offensive line that returns just twenty starters, compared to 80 career starts last season. I expect the same level of performance from this group as we saw last year, which was underwhelming to say the least.
Southern Mississippi Defense:
- This is one of the most underrated units in all of college football as defensive coordinator David Duggan welcomes back nine starters.
- While the defense allowed 37.8 points per game last season, which was its worst performance in twenty years, the Golden Eagles have one of the conference’s best linebacking units that returns seven of its top performers from a year ago.
- The Golden Eagles also return four of their top five defensive backs, including seniors Deron Wilson and Jacorius Cotton.
- Southern Mississippi also takes the field with a much more experienced defensive line that only recorded nineteen sacks last season. In fact, this is one of the most experienced lines in nearly a decade for the Golden Eagles, and I expect vastly improved numbers from this unit in 2013.
Pro Edge Sports Picks Week One College Football Best Bet:
Southern Mississippi (-8) (-110) over Texas State