Old Dominion vs South Alabama Odds
Old Dominion is limping towards the finish line in 2022 – both literally and figuratively. The Monarchs are without their top two pass catchers and have lost five in a row.
South Alabama is the Sunbelt class. The Jaguars have lost just two games, Troy and UCLA, by five points total. If the Trojans come into play later Saturday afternoon, South Alabama could steal the Sun Belt West crown with a win over Old Dominion.
South Alabama is the far better team both on paper and in current form. Do the Monarchs have the matchups or motivation to keep this game tight?
The Monarchs season peaked after six games. By this point, they had split their games against Power Five state schools after defeating Virginia Tech and losing a close game to Virginia. They had lost a couple of tough non-conference games to ECU and Liberty but were 2-0 in conference and had just dominated Coastal Carolina.
The offense made big plays, the defense was efficient, and wide receiver Ali Jennings was a breakthrough star.
It’s been a nightmare for monarchs ever since. They’ve lost five games in a row in conference play, will miss a bowl and will likely finish the season last in the Sun Belt East.
Jennings had ankle surgery at the end of the season and joined star tight end Zack Kuntz on the Regal. The team went 13 straight quarters without scoring a touchdown.
When the Monarchs offense worked, they eschewed efficiency to create big plays. Without Kuntz and Jennings, that great pivot has dried up completely.
The details are ugly. In Week 10 against Marshall, the Monarchs were shut out, gaining 209 yards overall. Over the next week, James Madison held them to a single field goal and 227 yards. Last week, even Appalachian State’s lenient defense held them to 216 yards.
Despite the offensive battles, there is a certain level of defensive competence. However, it is not Well defense, and it is particularly permeable to the pass, ranking 89th in the EPA against the pass. It also doesn’t manage much Havoc (76th in FBS).
But it can field teams in the red zone and rank 13th in opponents’ points per opportunity.
Linebacker Jason Henderson is one of college football’s breakout stars. His 161 duels lead FBS by a clear margin. The Monarchs defense ranks 62nd in number of successful rushes allowed and 44th in explosive rushes allowed.
Unfortunately, it’s a poor matchup for this South Alabama team who prefer to pass the ball.
Senior Day in Mobile will be a victory lap for Kane Wommack and his Jaguars. Last year he built a promising roster in his first year at the helm and started his career with a 5-3 record. But his team went oh-fer against a brutal November plan and missed a bowl game.
This year’s team also started the game hot despite a quarterback change. The Jaguars replaced Jake Bentley with Toledo transfer Carter Bradley.
They almost upset UCLA in the Rose Bowl and started 3-0 in the Sun Belt game. If there were any worries of another late-season swoon after Thursday night’s heartbreaking 10-6 loss to Troy, the Jaguars have allayed those fears by winning their next four in mostly dominant fashion.
The Jaguars are balanced, ranking in the top 30 in EPA/passing and EPA/rush on defense and 28th in EPA/passing on offense. Running game is the weakest category – 78th in EPA/Rush on offense.
Bradley was a revelation, completing 64.8% of his passes for 2,786 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has thrown only nine interceptions. He leads an offense that has averaged 33.5 points in the four games since that fateful Troy contest.
The Jaguars’ offense is a poor matchup for the Old Dominion’s defense, which struggles on the pass but is competent on the run.
South Alabama’s defense is excellent, ranking 26th in SP+. Defensive backs Yam Banks and Darrell Luter Jr. are NFL prospects. The front is also strong and strong at preventing hasty attacks from being either efficient (31st in success rate) or explosive (26th).
Defense is also good at forcing negative plays (36th in Havoc) and strong in the red zone (15th in Finishing Drives). Wommack’s pedigree is on defense and you can see his success this side of the ball.
Old Dominion vs. South Alabama Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdown menus below to hide or show how Old Dominion and South Alabama statistically match:
Old Dominion Offense vs. South Alabama Defense
South Alabama Offense vs. Old Dominion Defense
Game pace / Miscellaneous
|SP+ special teams||96||1|
|seconds per game||23.9 (21)||26.7 (71)|
|rush rate||42.6% (122)||54.3% (64)|
Data from CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Old Dominion vs South Alabama Betting Tip
Wommack’s team should take care of business against Old Dominion and could find themselves in the Sun Belt title game if they get a little help.
Even if that help doesn’t arrive, a bowl game and a 10-win regular season will be celebrated.
South Alabama is a big favorite in this game, and with good reason. The Jaguars are the better team, they host Senior Day and celebrate the best team in school history. They’re healthy, they’re playing great football and they have more to offer. You should cruise to a comfortable victory.
… And that’s why I’m afraid of the 16-point spread.
Old Dominion just played the whistle last week, earning a backdoor cover against App State. That would certainly matter if South Alabama wanted to include more players in their final home game.
That’s why my favorite game is South Alabama 1H -8.5. I’m confident the Jaguars will cover that number in the first half, even if the second half turns into a celebration of the seniors – and a close eye on the scoreboard out of town.