Ball State continues its tour of the SEC, this time against Georgia. It is time to continue our College Football odds series with a Ball State-Georgia prediction, pick, and how-to-watch.
Last week, Ball State lost to Kentucky. It was a 44-14 loss in the game, but it started well for the Cardinals. They took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter on a Layne Hatcher two-yard touchdown run. Kentucky took it from there. They would score 20 points in the second quarter, including a defensive touchdown. Last year, Ball State narrowly missed a bowl game, going 5-7. Now, without their best running back in Carson Steele, the offense struggled. They had just 295 yards on the day. Meanwhile, they did hold Devin Leary to 241 yards passing, but they gave up 116 yards on the ground in the loss.
Meanwhile, Georgia took care of business against UT Martin. They would win 48-7 in the game, as Carson Beck would throw for 294 yards and a touchdown in his first start replacing Stenson Bennett. The team was dominant on offense, going for 559 yards in the game, including 400 through the air. They got their back-ups in early in the game but still got their stars sometime in the game. Brock Bowers is one of them, as he had five receptions in the game for 77 yards and even ran in a touchdown.
Here are the college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: Ball State-Georgia Odds
Ball State: +42.5 (-115)
Georgia: -42.5 (-105)
Over: 52.5 (-110)
Under: 52.5 (-110)
How to Watch Ball State vs. Georgia
TV: SEC Network
Stream: ESPN App
Time: 12:00 PM ET/ 9:00 AM PT
*Watch college football LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Ball State Will Cover The Spread
Ball State did not have the best game against Kentucky, but some highlights show some potential. They would end up playing three quarterbacks in the game, with Kadin Semonza getting the most time and having the best day. In the game, he went 15-20 for 166 yards and a touchdown. The line did a fairly good job protecting him as well. He was pressured on just seven of his 24 dropbacks and sacked just once. The other three times, he was able to scramble away from pressure and gain positive yards. Meanwhile, Layne Hatcher went 6-8 for 33 yards, but his average depth of target was much lower, and he struggled on his deeper passes.
The major issue was running the ball. Ball Stste would run the ball 41 times for just 72 yards in the game. Marquez Cooper was in line for a solid game but did not deliver. He ran for just 33 yards and 15 carries in the game, with his longest run being eight yards. Still, he is a solid running back. He has run for over 1,200 yards each of the last two seasons while scoring 24 times. With Ball State still having a good offensive line, he could be in for a bounce back in this game, and help Ball State control the clock.
The defense also had a solid game against a good quarterback in Devin Leary. The big thing for them was pressure on the quarterback. Jack Sape managed four pressures in the game, while Kyle King added another four. Sidney Houston did a solid job as a linebacker, getting a sack and hurrying the quarterback four times. Still, he missed three tackles that could have added to his sack total. Meanwhile, Tyler Potts was picked on a lot at the corner. He was targeted eight times, and while four were completed for 54 yards and a score, he did come away with an interception as well.
Why Georgia Will Cover The Spread
For Georgia, it may just depend on how many points they want to score. Carson Beck was solid in his first game as the starter. He went for 294 yards on 21-31 passing with a touchdown. He did not throw a turnover-worthy pass but was conservative. His average depth of target was just 7.9 yards downfield. He was also protected very well. Beck was pressured just three times on 35 dropbacks and managed to scramble for positive yards on all three of them. He threw the ball away just once when there was tight coverage.
Meanwhile, the running game was solid as well. Roderick Robinson ran eight times, going for 50 yards and a score with a long of 23. He was good after first contact as well, running for 23 yards after contact. Kendall Milton ran for 53 yards on nine attempts. While he did not score, he had a long of 37 yards and over 50 yards after first contact.
The receiving core was amazing as well for the most part. Mekhi Mews was targeted three times and came down with all three targets. He had 75 yards with over 70 coming after the catch. He also scored. Dillion Bell went three for three in targets being converted to receptions, grabbing 32 yards. Still, Arian Smith did not catch a ball on five targets and had the worst game of the receiver bunch.
The biggest issue in the game came in the pass rush. They managed to just pressure the UT Martin quarterbacks just eight times in the game. They did get a sack, and three hurries, but no defensive players had over a 33 percent win percentage over the offensive linemen, with all the starters on their defensive line having a zero percent win percentage and only getting pressure on the UT Martin quarterback holding the ball too long. That may have been because of the pass coverage. The two starting corners, Kamari Lassiter and Daylen Everette, along with their slot corner, Tykee Smith, were targeted a total of seven times. Only two receptions came of it for a total of negative two yards.
Final Ball State-Georgia Prediction & Pick
Ball State lost the Kentucky by 30 points. Georgia will be able to put up as many points as they desire. Still, Georgia has not covered an out-of-conference 40-point spread since September 20, 2014, against Troy. They were 41-point favorites in that game. That was before Kirby Smart took over, and Smart does not aim to embarrass non-conference opponents there for a paycheck. Take Ball State to cover 43.5 in this once.
Final Ball State-Georgia Prediction & Pick: Ball State +42.5 (-115)