Georgia Southern Eagles at Arkansas State Red Wolves (+7, 55)
After opening the season 0-3, Arkansas State must have thought that things couldn’t get much worse – then came a humiliating loss to FCS Central Arkansas. The Red Wolves look to end their season-opening four-game losing skid Wednesday as it hosts a Georgia Southern team coming off its own humbling loss at Western Michigan.
Arkansas State is the defending Sun Belt champion, but you wouldn’t know it from a putrid September performance in which the Red Wolves were outscored by an average of nearly 20 points per game in dropping four straight nonconference games. Arkansas State was a whopping 16 1/2-point fave against Central Arkansas back on Sept. 24, but Hayden Hildebrand connected with Brandon Cox on an 18-yard scoring strike with 6:26 remaining as the Bears rallied from a nine-point deficit. Georgia Southern lost its first game of the season last time out but has to be pleased with its start, having opened conference play with road victories over South Alabama and Louisiana-Monroe. The key matchup here will be Georgia Southern’s relentless rush attack matched up against an Arkansas State defense that has already spent far too much time on the field.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2
LINE HISTORY: Most books saw a half-point bump in Georgia Southern’s favor shortly after the initial line was posted, but it has since settled back to Arkansas State +7. View complete line history here.
Georgia Southern – None.
Arkansas State – WR Christian Booker (questionable, knee), RB Johnston White (questionable, hamstring), DE Griffin Riggs (out, suspension)
WEATHER REPORT: Playing conditions at Centennial Bank Stadium are expected to be favorable, with partly cloudy skies expected and temperatures hovering in the high-70s at kickoff. Wind will blow out of the southeast at 6 mph.
ABOUT GEORGIA SOUTHERN (3-1, 1-3 ATS, 1-3 O/U): Real eagles may soar, but these ones favor the ground – a lot. Georgia Southern has racked up an absurd 253 carries for 1,271 yards and 12 touchdowns through the first four games of the season, with four players already having surpassed 40 carries and 200 rushing yards on the year. Six different Eagles players have at least one rushing score, led by Wesley Fields and Kevin Ellison with three apiece.
ABOUT ARKANSAS STATE (0-4, 0-4 ATS, 1-3 O/U): The Red Wolves open conference play Wednesday night against a team that is perfectly built to beat them. Arkansas State is surrendering an average of 239 rushing yards per contest so far in 2016, while generating just 80 of its own. They’ll look to succeed through the air, with sophomore quarterback Justice Hansen coming off a sensational 424-yard, three-touchdown showing in the loss to Central Arkansas.
* Georgia Southern is 4-0 ATS in its last four games following an SU loss.
* Arkansas State is 0-5 ATS in its last five games.
* Under is 6-1 in the Eagles’ last seven conference games.
* Over is 22-4 in the Red Wolves’ previous 26 conference games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: A small majority of bettors believe Arkansas State can hang around in this one, with 56 percent taking the home team and the seven points.
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