South Alabama Jaguars (6-6) vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles (6-6)
As the NCAAF season hurtles towards its climax, the Las Vegas Bowl presents a tantalizing matchup with the South Alabama Jaguars clashing against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. With identical 6-6 records, both teams will be vying for supremacy on Saturday. This bout not only offers a riveting sports spectacle but also a critical decision point for NCAAF bowl picks today. The game, scheduled for 7:00 PM ET, will unfold at Hancock Stadium, and fans can catch the live action on ESPN.
The Jaguars have demonstrated many bright moments this season despite their mixed win-loss record, due to key players like La’Damian Webb and Caullin Lacy. Webb, an outstanding running back with a remarkable 1007 rushing yards at an average of 5.4 yards per rush and 16 touchdowns is an unstoppable force against any defense; whilst Lacy, their standout wide receiver, has made significant plays throughout this campaign with 91 receptions for 1316 receiving yards. Their offense remains extremely potent thanks to them both.
The Eagles bring similar strengths to the table as their Jaguar counterparts: running back Samson Evans and wide receiver Tanner Knue have been pivotal figures on offense. Evans rushed for 635 yards and 12 touchdowns – his consistency will be key against Jaguars defense; Tanner Knue made crucial contributions with 479 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns – possibly making his performance in Las Vegas Bowl decisive.
South Alabama Jaguars vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles Game Info
|Saturday, December 23, 2023, at 7:00 PM ET
Carter Bradley QB vs. Austin Smith QB
Carter Bradley has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the Sun Belt conference in his junior season. He is an impressive passer, evidenced by his 2660 yards and 19 touchdowns against just 7 interceptions. Bradley has showcased pinpoint accuracy, completing over 67% of his throws. He thrives in the short and intermediate passing game, efficiently leading receivers and moving the chains. However, Bradley has room for improvement when attacking downfield. Nearly all of his passing production has come on short and medium throws. He has yet to truly threaten defenses over the top on a consistent basis. Bradley is also a threat with his legs, able to escape pressure and pick up first downs as a runner. This adds an extra dimension to the Jaguars’ offense. At times, however, Bradley can be overeager to scramble out of the pocket rather than progressing properly through his reads.
Austin Smith took over the reins of the Eastern Michigan offense in 2023 and performed admirably. He passed for nearly 1800 yards in his first year starting, showcasing his capabilities as a game manager. Smith has focused on avoiding big mistakes, something his 7 interceptions prove. While not flashy, he is generally a sound decision maker who takes care of the football. However, Smith’s completion percentage of just 57% leaves room for improvement. His ball placement and touch could use refinement to increase that number. Smith has focused on distributing the ball to his playmakers, acting as more of a facilitator than focal point of the offense. He allows his surrounding talent to shine while limiting errors. But Smith has yet to truly take over games with his arm..
NCAAF Odds/Point Spread: South Alabama Jaguars -725, Total Odds: 46.5
The betting odds heavily favor the South Alabama Jaguars, reflecting their perceived superiority and the impact of their key players. The total odds set at 46.5 points suggest expectations of a moderately high-scoring game.
South Alabama Jaguars Betting Trends
South Alabama has struggled against the spread recently, covering just once in their last five contests. The under has hit in four of those last five as well. However, the Jags offense has fared well against Mid-American defenses, going over the total in five of their last seven such matchups. Their December record is concerning though, with South Alabama going 1-6 straight up in their last seven December clashes.
Eastern Michigan Eagles Betting Trends
The over has hit in four of Eastern Michigan’s previous six matchups coming into this one. They have also covered against Sun Belt foes, going 4-2 against the spread in their last six contests against that conference. The Eagles December play is strong, with the over hitting in five of their previous five bowl games in the year’s final month. And as an underdog, Eastern Michigan has covered against the number in four of its last five instances.
South Alabama Jaguars vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles 12/23/23 Betting Picks
Considering the statistics and trends, the Jaguars seem to have an edge, particularly in key player matchups. However, the Eagles’ resilience and better ATS performance make them a tempting underdog pick. The game’s outcome might hinge on the quarterbacks’ performances and the effectiveness of the Jaguars’ offense against the Eagles’ defense.
For those exploring top betting sites, the smart money might be on the Jaguars to win but the Eagles to cover the spread. The total going over 46.5 also seems plausible, given the offensive capabilities of both teams and their recent trends.