The Ball State Cardinals (1-2, 1-2 ATS, 2-1 O/U) meet with the Georgia Southern Eagles (2-1, 2-1 ATS, 2-1 O/U) in a week four clash on Saturday night. The Cardinals earned their first win in a 31-0 triumph against Murray State. The Eagles were hit with their first defeat in a 35-21 loss at UAB last week.
Ball State Registers First Win
The Ball State Cardinals head into their final non-conference game with confidence. They struggled in the opening two games. They were clobbered 59-10 at Tennessee in the opener and were 6.5 point dogs in an ugly 37-30 home loss to WMU in their MAC opener. The Cardinals covered the 31-point spread in a 31-0 home win against Murray State of the FCS last week. The Cardinals have covered the points in one of their three games.
John Paddock had some experience last season but is in his first year as the #1 QB. The junior has been solid, recording 797 passing yards accompanied by a 6:3 TD to INT ratio. Paddock has collected at least 217 yards in all three games. Carson Steele has been a threat, rushing for more than 100 yards in two consecutive games. The sophomore RB has accrued 304 rushing yards and should have another productive game against a subpar rush defense.
Jayshon Jackson is consistently producing as well, bringing in 209 receiving yards. Ball State has three receivers with at least 100 yards. The offense is definitely the strength of this team and will be tough to contain in MAC play.
The Cardinals' defense is another matter. They didn’t have much of a challenge last week against Murray State but had no answer for the Vols and Broncos in the first two clashes. The pass defense stands 68th while the rush defense is pegged 98th. Ball State is posting 23.7 points, landing them 103rd overall. The defense is allowing an average of 32 points, pegging them 101st in the FBS.
Georgia Southern Tagged with First Defeat
The Georgia Southern Eagles are targeting their third victory of the season. They easily walloped Morgan State 59-7 to begin the season and registered an incredible 45-42 road win at Nebraska in the next game in a clash that had Georgia Southern labeled as 23-point dogs. They were 12-point dogs in a 35-21 road loss against a good UAB team last week. The Eagles have to be pleased with the results after three weeks. They have covered the points in two of their three clashes.
They have an experienced QB in Kyle Vantrease. The senior QB spent the last four seasons with Buffalo of the MAC. He was accustomed to a run-heavy offense in Buffalo but has attempted a ton of passes in his first year with the Eagles. Vantrease had 409 yards in the win against Nebraska and already has 980 passing yards along with a 6:6 TD to INT ratio.
Jalen White accumulated a season-best 116 rushing yards last week. The junior RB now has 237 yards on an average of 5.8 yards per carry. Georgia Southern features several potent receivers. They have four WRs with at least 100 yards led by Khaleb Hood with 208 yards. The offense is elite for a mid-major school and is averaging a ridiculous 521 total yards.
The Eagles' defense isn’t nearly as effective as the offense. They squandered 413 yards against UAB, many of them on the ground. The pass defense has been solid, tabbing 23rd overall but the rush defense is marked 127th. Georgia Southern is averaging a stellar 41.7 points, landing them 23rd. The defense is conceding an average of 28 points, positioning them 86th in the FBS.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Ball State Cardinals have dropped two of their first three games. The lone victory was against FCS opponent Murray State last week. They lost 37-30 to Western Michigan in their conference opener and are expected to be one of the worst teams in the MAC this year. Georgia Southern has a stellar offense and beat Nebraska of the Big Ten 45-42 in week two. There is no shame in losing to UAB last week, considering they are one of the best teams in the C-USA.
Furthermore, the Cardinals' defense won’t be able to contain the Eagles. Kyle Vantrease has recorded 980 passing yards in three games and should thrive considering Ball State ranks 68th against the pass. The Eagles also have a strong running game, averaging nearly 200 rushing yards and the Cardinals are pegged 98th against the run. Georgia Southern is averaging a remarkable 521 total yards and should cover thanks to the offense.
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect a barrage of scoring. The Cardinals' offense has been productive. QB John Paddock had 269 passing yards against Tennessee and 301 yards against Western Michigan. This is key as the Eagles' defense is not a strength. They are squandering an average of 413 total yards per game.
In addition, the Eagles' offense has no weaknesses. They were able to score 45 points at Nebraska earlier this month which illustrates the strength of the offense. They also generated 418 yards against a strong UAB defense last week. The over is 4-1 in the Eagles' last five games after allowing less than 170 passing yards in their previous game.