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Posted at 6:15 AM EST and odds are subject to change.
Louisiana Tech +13 @ South Alabama
Hancock Whitney Stadium – Mobile, AL
Streaming: ESPN +
7:00 PM EST. Last week, as a 16-point underdog, the Jaguars lost at UCLA by a score of 32-31. However, USA took a 31-23 lead into the fourth quarter, managed to keep UCLA out of the end zone on an equalizing two-point attempt, only to find itself losing on a walk-off field goal. The emotional impact of this defeat we have yet to see. While the Bruins are by no means a national power or even at the head of the Pac-12 table, a win for a mid-major up-and-comer like South Alabama in the historic Rose Bowl against a team with a pedigree like UCLA nonetheless would have been program-defining for the Jaguars. To lose in such heart-breaking fashion can undoubtedly leave the Jaguars feeling demoralized. As a result, there’s a great chance that we catch South Alabama dragging its feet in this follow-up.
In one week, the Jags went from a 16-point underdog to a 13-point favorite (at the time of writing) thus producing a swing of 29 point. To put this in perspective, South Alabama was spotting 13½-points to visiting Nicholls State (a FCS side) to open its season. Nicholls State incidentally remains winless on the year and got whacked by UL-Monroe, a team that has found itself hanging around the bottom 10 of the FBS. Yet, USA finds itself laying a similar tag to Louisiana Tech who rolled a ranked FCS side in Stephen F. Austin and just put up 20 points on Clemson’s defense in Death Valley. To liken the two sides as equal in quality is insulting to the visiting Bulldogs; But thanks to last week’s impressive showing by USA in Pasadena, we get a beautiful/inflated price on Tech to come in under the number..
We could apply the “false favorite” definition to South Alabama here, as well. After all, the Jaguars are seldom favored by such a quantity (above double digits) and when they are, it’s against FCS sides or against cupcakes like UL Monroe. Certainly the Bulldogs had an atypical 3-9 year in 2021 after reaching an apex of 10 wins in 2019 under Skip Holtz, but that was just it: things ran their course under the Holtz era and LA Tech needed a regime change. The Bulldogs underwent a changing of the guard accordingly and now they expect to step a forward under Head Coach Sonny Cumbie who stewarded a renaissance in Lubbock at Texas Tech in 2021, firstly as offensive coordinator and then as Interim head coach to close out the campaign.
Cumbie is primed to do so again here with the Bulldogs but the best part is, we get to take advantage of this scenario while Tech remains off the radar. We wouldn’t be shocked if the ‘Dogs win this one outright but we have plenty of points to work with regardless.
Louisiana Tech +13 -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)