On Saturday, December 2, 2017, the Idaho Vandals travel to Georgia State Stadium to take on the Georgia State Panthers. Georgia State enters this game with a loss last Saturday against Appalachian State that snapped a three-game winning streak. Idaho has lost three straight, and six of their last seven, as both of these teams look to get on the winning side of the scoresheet to close out the season.
Idaho has played quite well against the spread, going 7-4 this season and 14-4-1 over the last 19 games against the spread. In their last 11 games on the road, the vandals are 10-1 against the spread. They have won just one of their last five games on the road. The Vandals have gone under in seven of their last eight contests, but have gone over in 17 of their last 25 on the road.
Georgia State is4-6 against the spread this season, including going 1-4 in their last five against the spread. At home, the Panthers are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven. Georgia State has won just six of their last 22 games at home. They have gone under in four of the last five as well as gone under in four of the last five at home.
Idaho enters the final game of the season struggling, as their only victory in their last seven contests was over Louisiana-Monroe on October 28. The Vandals are not putting up huge numbers of points each week, averaging 20.6 points per game, while allowing 27.2.
Aaron Duckworth is the leading ground gainer for the Vandals, gaining 912 yards this season with three touchdowns. Idaho is averaging 122 yards rushing per game, which is a solid number, considering that they have scored just eight touchdowns on the ground while giving up 18. It would really help if Duckworth and Isaiah Saunders, who has 445 yards the season, could hang onto the ball and ground out a big performance.
The Vandals are dealing with a big loss in quarterback Matt Linehan, who threw for 2056 yards in 16 touchdowns. Linehan was extremely smart with the ball the season, only throwing four interceptions while completing 61.6 percent of his passes. Unfortunately, he is out. Backup Mason Petrino is also questionable in this game.
Idaho should have some opportunities to score, the big question mark will be whether they can shut down the Georgia State offense. That will be the big challenge, as this group is allowing nearly 400 yards of offense per game, including over 168 yards rushing.
Tony Lashley is the leading tackler for the Vandals with 107, and Leonard Hazewood leads the team with 5.5 sacks. Ed Hall leads the team in interceptions with three.
GEORGIA STATE PANTHERS
Georgia State is also averaging just beneath 21 points per game, while giving up an average of 25.6 per contest. It is in the running game where their defense is struggling as well, giving up on average nearly 150 yards per contest and allowing nearly 400 total yards.
It is the inability to get pressure that has been hurting the Panthers this season, as they have just 14 sacks in their 10 games. The defense has recorded 14 total turnovers, led by Bryan Williams who has four interceptions. Michael Allen leads the team in sacks with 4.0.
Georgia State is not a team that is going to be running the ball a lot, as their leading ground gainer, Glenn Smith, has just 447 yards rushing and the team has only scored nine touchdowns.
That puts the offense on the shoulders of Conner Manning who has thrown for 2599 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Manning has a big arm, and is quite accurate, completing 64.0 percent of his passes the season. He has thrown seven interceptions but that has come in 331 attempts, an average of about one interception per 48 throws.
Vandals vs. Panthers Betting Lines
Neither of these teams plays defense particularly well, but the big advantage for Idaho is that they play a little bit better against the passing game of their opponents. Their run defense is abysmal, but since the Panthers don’t really run the ball on a regular basis this should not come back to haunt them. It would make sense to go with the team that is at home in a contest like that, but it makes sense to back the system. Take Idaho and the points in a game that is going under 47.5.
My Pick: Idaho +4 (-110)
Totals:Under 47.5 (-110)
$60 in FREE Premium Picks
Get $60 in FREE premium member picks from Doc’s Sports Service
One of the most trusted names in handicapping since 1971! No salesmen – No obligation