The South Alabama Jaguars will host the Georgia Southern Eagles in a Sun Belt Conference matchup on Thursday. South Alabama comes into this game with a 3-2 record and 2-3 against the spread after losing 33-31 to Texas State in four overtimes. Georgia Southern is 2-4 overall and 3-3 against the spread. On Saturday, Georgia Southern lost to Troy 27-24 as a 5.5-point dog.
The Eagles and Jaguars have met in the past seven seasons, with Georgia Southern winning every tune. Last year, Georgia Southern beat South Alabama 24-17 as a 3.5-point home favorite.
South Alabama looking to bounce back from back to back lossesThe South Alabama Jaguars opened up this year with three straight wins, beating Southern Mississippi 31-7 as a two-point favorite, Bowling Green 22-19 as a 14.5 point favorite, and Alcorn State 28-21 as a 21.5-point favorite. Before Saturday's quadruple overtime loss at Texas State, the Jaguars fell to Louisiana 20-18 as a 12-point dog.
It's final in San Marcos. The Jaguars will be back at home on Thursday night to take on Georgia Southern in a nationally-televised game on ESPNU.— South Alabama Football (@WeAreSouth_FB) October 10, 2021
Brought to you by @BCBSofAlabama#LEO #SunBeltFB pic.twitter.com/Lm2rqTIYUT
South Alabama averages 26 points per game this season and ranks 97th with 356.2 total yards per game. The passing attack averages 223.2 passing yards per game, led by senior Jake Bentley with 1,116 touchdowns passing yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions while completing 66.2% of his passes. Bentley played for South Carolina from 2016-2019 and Utah last season. The South Alabama rushing attack is 91st with 133.0 yards per game, led by Kareem Walker with 208 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 3.9 yards per attempt. Walker is questionable for Thursday with a quadricep injury.
The Jaguars' defense has allowed 20 points and 311.2 yards per game. Opponents have rushed for 121.0 yards and thrown for 190.2 yards per game.
Georgia Southern looking for eighth straight win over South AlabamaThe Georgia Southern Eagles opened up the season with a 30-25 win as a 27-point favorite over Gardner-Webb and followed by three straight losses. Georgia Southern's losses came 38-6 as a 6.5-point dog to FAU, 45-10 as a 23-point dog to Arkansas, and 28-20 as a 14.5 point dog to Louisiana. The Eagle earned their second win of the year on October 2, beating Arkansas State 59-33 as a two-point favorite, and then fell short against Troy last week.
The Eagles are averaging 24.8 ppg, led by their rushing attack that is sixth in the nation picking up 253.2 yards per game but just 125th with 127.5 passing yards. Collectively, Georgia Southern has completed 50.7% of their passes and thrown just one touchdown pass against five interceptions this season. Running backs Logan Wright and Gerald Green led the team with five rushing touchdowns each. Wright also has 481 rushing yards averaging 7.3 yards per carry, and Green has 327 yards on 6.8 yards per game.
The Georgia Southern defense is allowing 32.7 points and 486.0 yards per game. The passing defense has given up 337.2 passing yards per game, which is the worst in the Sun Belt, and third holding opponents to 148.8 rushing yards per contest.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I have a hard time taking South Alabama as a favorite in this situation, as they haven't clearly shown that they are the better team this season. These teams rate out very even, with Georgia Southern ranking 107th according to the Football Power Index and South Alabama rating 110th in the nation overall. South Alabama has the home-field advantage, but Georgia Southern Eagles have dominated the all-time series against South Alabama, winning all seven games head-to-head matchups, including a 20-17 road victory as a 10-point road dog in 2019. I expect to see a tightly contested matchup on Thursday and will take the Eagles, who have a solid chance of winning this game outright.
Full-Game Total Pick
This year, South Alabama has not been an offensive juggernaut, but they are averaging 26 points per game and should at least be around that mark, if not better, on Thursday when they face a Georgia Southern defense that ranks 120th in the nation allowing 499 yards per game defensive in games against FBS teams. The Eagles are more one-dimensional on offense, but they are excellent in that dimension, averaging 6.0 yards per rushing attempt over their last three games, which is seventh-best in the nation over the stretch. I think the total here is very reachable and will take this game to go over.