Camellia Bowl Picks: Georgia State vs. Ball State
Georgia State Panthers (7-5 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Ball State Cardinals (6-6 SU, 4-8 ATS)
When: Saturday, December 25, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Ala.
Point Spread: GAST -4.5/BALL +4.5 (GTBets - Deposit $50 to $500 and they’ll match you dollar for dollar with a 100% REAL CASH bonus! They have a sweet Rewards Program as well!)
Total: O/U 50
It’s Christmas in the Camellia Bowl, as the Sun Belt and the MAC take center stage for the only bowl game being played on Christmas Day. Georgia State has been a bettor’s delight over the final 5/6 of the season, as the Panthers have cruised through the soft underbelly of the Sun Belt while playing competitively against Louisiana and beating Coastal Carolina (albeit with no Grayson McCall) to go 8-2 ATS in their final ten games of the season. Georgia State rides a three-headed monster in the backfield, as the Panthers boast the No. 8 rushing attack in the nation.
That’s got a good chance to work well against Ball State, which has to wonder what might have been if it could have done its job at home. Scheumann Stadium was once a place to be feared for visiting MAC squads, but Ball State went just 1-3 at home in the MAC this season, which was the biggest reason why they ceded their MAC title to archrival Northern Illinois. The Cardinals have a fair amount of talent on the field, but it has never really clicked this year, as Ball State had to get through Buffalo in order to even qualify for this game. The Cardinals have shown the ability to stop a good running game against Army, as they held the Black Knights to just 16 points, but more often than not, Ball State simply has not been on the same page on either side of the ball in 2021.
How the Public is Betting the Georgia State/Ball State Game
The public’s action has sided with the Panthers with approximately 60% of the spread bets moving the line to GSU –4.5 after opening on most betting boards at –3.5. The total is now 50 points up a notch from a 49.5 opener with 64% of Joe Public’s wagers on the Over.
Georgia State reports no injuries.
Tight end Dylan Koch (undisclosed), offensive lineman Kaleb Slaven (undisclosed), and running back Tye Evans (leg) are out.
When Georgia State Has the Ball
It used to be archrival Georgia Southern that famously didn’t like to pass, but Georgia State now carries the label and embraces it. The Panthers haven’t gone triple option the way the Eagles did, as they still have Darren Grainger put the ball in the air more often than he runs, but Georgia State knows who it is and will prefer to attack with Tucker Gregg and Jamyest Williams throughout the contest, along with sprinkling in some quarterback runs from Grainger to keep the defense honest.
All three average double-digit carries per game, with Gregg the most likely to touch the ball at 176 carries and 899 yards for the year. However, he and Williams have both scored nine touchdowns on the year, making the latter the real threat to watch for in the red zone. Further driving home the point that this is a run-first offense that can pass when it needs to, the Panthers have 16 touchdowns through the air on the season, with Aubry Payne the most unheralded threat of all. For the year, Payne has 17 catches, but the tight end leads the Panthers in touchdown catches with five. If your betting site allows you to bet on a player to score a touchdown in college games, Payne is the man you want from Georgia State.
When Ball State Has the Ball
This wasn’t what was supposed to happen to Drew Plitt this year, as Ball State’s offense was supposed to pick up where it left off from 2020 and establish itself as a threat on the MAC again. Instead, Plitt has put up a solid amount of yards without seeing his team amass a ton of points. Ball State averages just 24.4 points per game this season, with the Cardinals ranking in the 90s in passing yards, rushing yards, and points scored.
The positive thing you can say about the Cardinals is that Plitt doesn’t make mistakes with the football, tossing 17 touchdowns against just five picks on the season. But the Cardinals also don’t do enough positive things with the ball, as Carson Steele hasn’t been a good enough replacement for Caleb Huntley with just 829 yards and six touchdowns on the season. Jayshon Jackson and Justin Hall have been decent pass catchers, but too often, this is an offense that finds itself stalling out before it can put points on the board.
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An offense like Ball State’s has meant that your best play on the Cardinals has been the under. The under has cashed in five straight for the Cardinals, with Ball State managing to cover the number just once in their final five games. The Cardinals also didn’t manage a win over a bowl-eligible team since Oct. 16, when they managed to beat Eastern Michigan. Since then, Ball State is just 2-3 SU, losing to Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, and Miami-Ohio.
Georgia State failed to cover against Arkansas State, but that’s the only misstep since October 2 as far as bettors are concerned. The Panthers have covered in six of their past seven and won outright on six occasions, falling only to Louisiana by four. Georgia State has also been a solid under team, going under the total in five of their past six games.
Dreaming of a white Christmas? Not happening in Alabama, where temperatures of 64 degrees will greet the teams. Wind will blow at eight miles per hour to the northwest, ideal conditions for football.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
One of these teams finished the season strong and did so against all levels of strength from its conference, covering against its league champions on the road and winning against a 10-win team as a double-digit underdog. The other really struggled down the stretch and hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record in two months, beating only a pair of weak teams in Akron and Buffalo.
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