Georgia State Panthers Picks for Week 9 in Doc's Specialization Series
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Georgia State Panthers are the real deal. No, they are never going to be ranked in the Top 25, and they probably won't win the Sun Belt Conference, but they appear to be heading to a bowl game-and comfortably-for the third time in five seasons. Georgia State is 5-2 overall and would be 6-1 if not for a triple-overtime loss at Texas State in which an extremely makeable field goal that would have won the game was missed. Since falling to Western Michigan and Texas State in succession, the Panthers have reeled off consecutive victories over Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, and Army. Only one of their final five regular-season opponents has a winning record (21st-ranked Appalachian State) and they still have an upcoming date with 1-6 South Alabama.
Thus, GSU looks like a lock for a third straight odd-year bowl-game appearance (also made it 2015 and 2017). Third-year head coach Shawn Elliott can lead his squad to an all-important sixth victory of the 2019 campaign when it hosts the Troy Trojans (3-3, 1-1 Sun Belt) on Saturday night. And with that, we continue to track Georgia State throughout its 10th season of football. There will be a selection on each game at the end of the weekly article, and we'll be using the Doc's Sports Unit Betting System for every pick, which will allow readers to follow along and document the results.
Georgia State vs. Army this past weekend was a showdown between two run-heavy offenses. Throw some dreadful weather into the equation, and both teams were expected to keep the ball on the ground early and often. Instead, the Panthers surprised the Black Knights by taking to the air 28 times. GSU quarterback Dan Ellington completed 20 of 28 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception. Army, by contrast, attempted only 11 passes and completed six of them for 65 yards with no TDs and one INT.
The Black Knights at least managed to rush for 278 yards and three scores on 61 carries, but it was not quite enough to keep up with the opposition's balanced attack. Georgia State ran it 32 times to go along with its 28 pass attempts, and running back Tra Barnett racked up 108 yards and a touchdown on 17 chances. Meanwhile, Ellington distributed the ball to seven different pass-catchers, five of whom had multiple receptions. Cornelius McCoy finished with seven for 66 yards, while both of Sam Pinckney's catches went for scores. Not too surprisingly, Army dominated the time of possession by more than 16 minutes-but it hardly mattered because of Georgia State's prolific passing attack and also because the Panthers forced two turnovers (an interception by Quavian White and a fumble recovery by Remy Lazarus).
- Troy is 1-4 ATS in its last five games on turf
- Georgia State is 3-0-1 ATS in its last four overall
- Georgia State is 13-3-1 ATS in its last 17 games in October
Troy at Georgia State College Football Odds
Georgia State actually opened as a +1 underdog at most sportsbooks, but the line wasted no time in adjusting such that the home team is now a -1 favorite across the board . The total has been on more of a roller-coaster ride, relatively speaking. At some books it opened as high as 68.5, dipped to as low as 66, and has settled in at 67. For good reason, there is lots of optimism in the two dynamic offenses and not much hope for two unspectacular defenses.
Troy at Georgia State College Football Picks
Troy will be attempting to win back-to-back games for the first time this year after beating South Alabama last Wednesday. The Trojans followed up their opening victory over Campbell by losing at home to Southern Miss and they failed to build on a blowout of Akron, promptly falling in succession to Arkansas State and Missouri. Speaking of Arkansas State, that is the one common opponent so far for Troy and Georgia State. The Red Wolves defeated the Trojans 50-43 and lost to the Panthers 52-38 (both were road games for ASU). Not too much unlike GSU, Troy features a balanced attack on offense. This team has attempted 236 passes while keeping the ball on the ground 225 times. The passing game has been more effective, as quarterback Kaleb Barker is 143-for-223 (64.1 percent) with 1670 yards, 16 touchdowns, and six interceptions. The Trojans are averaging a modest 4.2 yards per rush attempt, although D.K. Billingsley leads the way with 452 yards on 91 carries for a 5.0 ypc average.
Stopping the run is one of Troy's best attributes, but Georgia State just proved that it has no qualms about taking to their air. The Trojans' pass defense is less than stellar, and that is putting it generously. They are second-to-last in the Sun Belt Conference in that department, surrendering 287.7 yards through the air per game. That is 32 yards worse than eighth-ranked passing defense in the conference (Louisiana-Monroe) and only South Alabama is worse. Back Georgia State with plenty of confidence.
Pick - Georgia State -1 for 8 units
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