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October 11, 2017

There is one pick today.

 

Take Troy -17 spread against South Alabama risking 3% of the bankroll.

The Troy Trojans jumped into the national spotlight with their stunning upset of the LSU Tigers in Death Valley on September 30th. In that matchup, Troy was simply the more physical team on the line of scrimmage. On 42 carries, the offense accumulated 206 yards and three scores for an average of 4.9 yards per carry, which is a testament to how good this offensive line can be given how tough and athletic the LSU defense is up front. The lead back for coach Neal Brown’s offense is senior Jordan Chunn, who rushed for 191 of the 206 yards against LSU and enters tonight's contest game with 490 yards on the season. Chunn has posted back-to-back 100-yard efforts, and as his 17 receptions indicate, he’s also a good receiver out of the backfield. The Jaguars defensive line is nowhere near as good as that of LSU's so if the O-line can continue to win the battles in the trenches, it should allow some lanes to open and Chunn to be able to gash the defense.

Chunn isn't the only star that they have on this offense as the field general in this contest is QB Brandon Shivers. Shiver earned the first-team All-Sun Belt spot in the league’s official preseason award voting, however he is off to a somewhat slow start passing for just 1,241 yards and 2 touchdowns. That being said, he has been tasked with going up two top defenses in the likes of Boise State and LSU, which is a reason we have yet to see the veteran QB shine. Troy is loaded at the receiver position with the likes of Deondre Douglas (22 catches), Emanuel Thompson (20), Damion Willis (14) and Tevaris McCormick (15). Troy has a lot of weapons on the offensive side of the ball and with Chunn and the ground game forcing to keep the defense honest, it should allow the passing game to open up much more for Shivers in this contest. We have been waiting to see a big game from Shivers and we believe this could be the ideal opportunity for him to showcase his skillset.

As for South Alabama, they had a lot of question marks on offense, most specifically at receiver and on the offensive line. Through the first 4 games, it is clear that the Jags haven't quite figured out the answers to their questions as they are averaging 23.6 points per game and 5.3 yards per play. Additionally, the Jaguars are converting just 23.3 percent of their third-down attempts and rank near the bottom of the Sun Belt in plays of 40 yards or more. The Jags are a team that is survived by their ability to pick up yards on the ground. If the Troy defense is able to slow down their ground game it will force the Jags into a lot of 3rd and long situations, which should not bode well against a defensive front that has already generator 9 sacks through 4 games and a secondary that ranks near the top in the conference in defensive efficiency.

Had the Trojans not had a bye week following their huge victory, we may have expected a letdown in this contest, however, with an extra week to refocus their efforts and now heading into conference play, we expect the Trojans to come into this matchup focused on the task at hand. With Silvers and Chunn leading the way, it’s tough to see South Alabama’s defense generating enough stops in the second half to keep this one close. The Jaguars are giving up over six yards per play, and the balanced attack by Troy will create plenty of headaches for Jones and coordinator Kane Wommack. Troy is the better team, has more firepower on offense and should be able pull away comfortably in the second half. Barring a late score in garbage time, when the game is already out of reach, Troy should win this one by 17+ points.




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