Last year was just three wins for Butch Jones and Arkansas State Football. It is now time to continue our college football odds series with an Arkansas State football win total prediction and pick.
Arkansas State was once the model for consistency in the Sun Belt. It started with Hugh Freeze in 2011, as they won ten games. Then Gus Malzahn came in and won ten games the next year. Bryan Harsin was the third coach in three years, and an eight-win season. Finally, in 2014, Blake Anderson took over and went to six straight bowl games. In 2020, Anderson and the Red Wolves won just four games, and Anderson left for Utah State. Since then, Butch Jones has taken over and won just five games in two years.
On offense, JT Shrout will be at quarterback. Shrout started his career at Tennessee, before moving to Colorado for the 2022 season. He was solid in his time there, throwing for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games. He was expected to be the starter this year at Colorado, but Deion Sanders took over and Shrout was on his way to Arkansas State. His top target will be Corey Rucker. Rucker spent his first two years at Arkansas State before spending last year at South Carolina. There he caught just one ball for 52 yards, but in his two prior years, he showed he can be a big play threat.
Arkansas State sits 101st in returning production, and the majority of that is on defense. The linebackers bring back Melique Straker and Jaden Harris in the linebacker core. They have a solid front seven, but they need to find a way to cause some turnovers. They struggled with that and were in the red zone last year, two areas that will need improvement this year.
Here are the College Football Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: Arkansas State Over/Under Win Total Odds
Over 4.5 wins: -122
Under 4.5 wins: +100
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Why Arkansas State Can Win 4.5 Games
Getting to five wins will require a few upsets for Arkansas State. The season will start with a loss though, as Arkansas State travels to Oklahoma. After that, there is the potential first win of the season at home against Memphis. This would be a large upset though. Memphis should be a seven to nine-win team out of the American this year. Seth Henigan is a quality quarterback for Memphis, and Arkansas State does not have enough on defense to slow down Memphis.
The first win of the season does come against Stony Brook. Last year this team went 2-9 at the FCS level and Arkansas State will be getting to 1-0 here before they host Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles will be focused on running the ball. The positive is that Arkansas State has the front seven to slow down Frank Gore Jr. Also the Southern Miss run defense struggled last year, and if this solid offensive line can get running room for Brian Snead, the Red Wolves will win.
UMASS comes next and will get Arkansas State their third straight win. UMASS currently ranks 127th in SP+, well below Arkansas State. The win streak comes to an end there with a trip to Troy. The Troy Trojans will be one of the favorites to win the Sun Belt, behind a very strong defense. Arkansas State does not have the offense needed to score enough here to get the win. After a bye, it will be another loss against another conference favorite in Coastal Carolina. Grayson McCall returns for Coastal, and he is going to be too much to handle against a secondary that does not create turnovers and struggles in the red zone.
That leaves the Red Wolves needing two wins in their final five games. UL-Monroe provided the first one. UL-Monroe should be much improved this year, but Arkansas State has dominated this series. They will also be relying heavily on the ground game, which should be a strength for the Arkansas State defense. Louisiana is still reeling from the loss of Billy Napier and everyone who went with him. They are replacing a lot on offense, and do not have the best quarterback or line. This could be win number five for the Red Wolves.
If it is not here the Red Wolves will need to wait two weeks to get there. South Alabama has become one of the best teams in the Sun Belt, but Texas State is not. The games between these two schools have been tight every year. The last three match-ups have been decided by three points or less each time. If Arkansas State can figure out how to get a few more turnovers, they will win this one right here.
Why Arkansas State Can Not Win 4.5 Games
The season will start 1-2. There should not be the expectation to beat Memphis or Oklahoma, while they will not lose to Stony Brook. Then comes Southern Miss. Arkansas State has not beaten Southern Miss since 1977. Frank Gore Jr. is one of the best backs in the nation, and to beat Southern Miss, the best option is the run game. Arkansas State may struggle there and this could be a loss.
With losses coming up to Troy, Coastal Carolina, South Alabama and Marshall, a loss to Southern Miss would already make the under the winner. There are other options for losses though. First is UL-Monroe, who returns some solid pieces on the offensive line and their top two running backs. If UL-Monroe can figure out how to convert on third downs, they can take a close game and turn it into a win. Louisiana has not lost to Arkansas State since 2017. The streak could easily continue here with Chandler Fields and Ben Wooldridge. They will be a solid one-two punch for Louisana. They could also have one of the best secondaries in the Sun Belt. If that is the case, Arkansas State will turn over the ball plenty and take the loss.
Finally is Texas State. They bring in former Arkansas QB Malik Hornby. He will automatically be one of the better quarterbacks in the Sun Belt. Against a secondary that struggles in the red zone, they could easily capitalize.
Final Arkansas State Over/Under Win Total Prediction & Pick
There is a very fine line for Arkansas State to hit the over in this total. They will be heavy underdogs against the top teams in the Sun Belt, and there is nothing to show as of late that they can overtake that. With losses to Troy, Coastal Carolina, South Alabama, and Marshall in conference play, plus Oklahoma and Memphis, they can only afford two more losses. They will get those, with a loss to UL-Monroe and Texas State. It is a four-win year for Arkansas State.
Final Arkansas State Over/Under Win Total Prediction & Pick: Under 4.5 (+100)