Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Appalachian State +183 over Troy
Sun Belt Conference Championship
Veterans Memorial Stadium – Troy, AL
3:30 PM EST. There are a couple different intangibles in play here and we’ll dive right into it. First, there is “brand recognition”. Troy State has very quietly emerged as the “It Girl” of the Sun Belt Conference as they step into this tilt as the reigning and defending conference champions who once again put together an impressive 10-win season. Their two losses? At Kansas State (who was ranked #15 at the time of play and defending Big 12 Champion) and James Madison University who had a storied run into the Top 25 and got to 10-0 before Appalachian State would upend the Dukes incredible run.
Though 8-4 on the year, the Mountaineers did something no one else could do, which was end JMU’s undefeated season in overtime and in doing so capsized the bigger narrative behind the Dukes’ story: The NCAA’s archaic and inflexible directives that, due to JMU being in a second year of transition, could not participate in a bowl game or conference championship. This story took center-stage when App State visited Harrisonburg two weeks ago and handed James Madison it’s first loss with much of the nation watching with College Gameday in attendance. Had App State not upset the apple cart, James Madison would have been successful in running the table, as one play in overtime served as the separation factor. Had the Dukes done the unthinkable, they may have forced the NCAA’s hand in the appeal process with respect to the rigidity of the transition period. With James Madison losing, it was far easier for the NCAA to stick to its guns with the transition period provision and by virtue of everything in play, Appalachian State got the invitation to square off with Troy instead. When we couple that with the revenge angle in play from Appalachian State defeating Troy by way of a Hail Mary last year in Boone, the Mountaineers are a fade target by virtue of market disdain and betting malpractices, which is the wrong side to be on.
Market perception is that Appalachian State doesn’t deserve to be here. However, the Mountaineers will be coming to Troy with a chip on their shoulder because of the storylines surrounding their participation in this venue. The pricing in this game would suggest that they are by no means a placeholder. In what is a 50/50 proposition, the 5 points offer some very decent value but we’re going for the kill and taking dog to win outright.
Appalachian State +183 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.66)