Week 9 Thursday games feature Georgia State vs. Georgia Southern
Usually an ACC matchup on Thursday would be the primary game of the night, but that is not at all the case with a huge matchup between Georgia State and Georgia Southern on the docket. Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech will and should take a back seat, though it is hard to argue the chills that come along with the Hokies’ entrance in Blacksburg.
In any event, “Modern Day Hate” is the game that has my attention for Thursday and it is a huge game in the Sun Belt Conference standings.
Odds as of 10/24, 5:30 p.m. PT
As the name implies, there is no love lost in this rivalry. Georgia State has won three head-to-head meetings in a row and leads 6-3 since both teams joined the FBS ranks. The quarterback battle between Darren Grainger and Davis Brin is a major storyline going into this one. Grainger has completed nearly 70% of his passes with a 10/2 TD/INT ratio and has added five more touchdowns over 368 yards on the ground.
Brin, who transferred in from Tulsa to run head coach Clay Helton’s pass-happy offense, has a 14/11 TD/INT ratio, but five of those picks came in the loss to Wisconsin. He’s completed just shy of 67% of his tosses, but he’s also thrown four picks over his last two games.
When you look at where these two teams are at right now, Georgia State seems to be catching Georgia Southern at a pretty good time. The Eagles have only managed 4.97 yards per play in three conference games and just 4.73 YPP in the last two games. On the flip side, Georgia State has averaged over six yards per play this month and 5.62 YPP in conference action.
Georgia Southern’s defense is also going in the wrong direction. Despite allowing 5.37 YPP to non-conference foes, the Eagles have actually allowed 6.44 YPP to Sun Belt competition. Georgia State has allowed 5.84 in four conference clashes.
Georgia State won 41-33 at home last season in a game that featured nearly 1,000 yards worth of offense, as the Panthers rushed for 336 and the Eagles threw for 360.
Turnovers could decide this game and that also favors Georgia State. While the Panthers only have 10 takeaways to 14 for Georgia Southern, they also only have seven giveaways compared to 17 for the Eagles.
I think Georgia State is the play here.
Pick: Georgia State +1.5
Note: Our own Tyler Shoemaker has a best bet on this game as well.
Other Thursday Game
Syracuse at Virginia Tech (-2.5, 47): Syracuse comes into this game having played three superior opponents. They’ve lost all three of those games, losing by a combined 112-24 score against Clemson, North Carolina, and Florida State. Virginia Tech is not on that level, but the Hokies do have a couple of ACC wins over Pitt and Wake Forest to their name.
Virginia Tech also has losses to Purdue, Rutgers, and Marshall on the season. They’re actually fortunate to not have to face Florida State, North Carolina, Duke, or Clemson this season, yet it appears that they’ll be in a dogfight for bowl eligibility, which says a lot about where the program is right now.
With such contrasting conference schedules to this point, I can’t say with certainty that I want to fade Syracuse and back Virginia Tech here. No play from me in this one and the line seems pretty reasonable.