Conference USA Free Betting Picks: Southern Miss Golden Eagles at UAB Blazers

#20 Southern Miss Golden Eagles at UAB Blazers
Legion Field – Birmingham, Alabama
Thursday, November 17, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS Sports Net
Opening Line: Southern Miss -23 1/2
Current Line: Southern Miss -23
Opening Total: 62 1/2
Current Total: 61 1/2
Opening Money Line: Southern Miss -2160 / UAB +1490
Current Money Line: Southern Miss -2160 / UAB +1490

Austin Davis and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles are 23 point favorites on the road at UAB Thursday night.

Southern Miss is one of the hottest teams in the country having won 8 straight games. The Golden Eagles can clinch the Conference USA East Division title and set up a potential showdown with undefeated Houston in the C-USA Championship game with a win against the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers. Southern Miss is 9-1 this season and 5-1 in conference play under coach Larry Fedora. The Golden Eagles are ranked #20 in the BCS standings. Southern Miss has a 26-20 loss at Marshall as the only blemish on their record. The Eagles have home wins over Louisiana Tech 19-17, SE Louisiana 52-6, Rice 48-24, SMU 27-3, and last week against Central Florida 30-29, along with road wins over Virginia 30-24, Navy 63-35, UTEP 31-13, and East Carolina 48-28. UAB is coached by Neil Callaway, and is 2-8 overall and 2-5 in conference. The Blazers have wins at home over UCF 26-24 and last week at Memphis 41-35. UAB has road losses to Florida 39-0, East Carolina 28-23, Troy 24-23, Tulsa 37-20, and Marshall 59-14, along with home losses to Tulane 49-10, Mississippi St 21-3, and Houston 56-13. Southern Miss leads the series 9-2 against UAB, but the Blazers have won 2 in a row against the Eagles, including 50-49 in double overtime last year in Hattiesburg.

Southern Miss was a 9.5 point favorite last week at home against Central Florida on the college football betting line. The Golden Eagles were up 13-6 at halftime. Southern Miss took a 19-9 lead early in the fourth quarter, but UCF ran back the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to get back in the game. At one point the Knights were up 23-22. The Eagles scored with less than 6 minutes to go on a 4 yard touchdown pass to receiver Chris Briggs from quarterback Austin Davis, and the Eagles went for 2 and converted to take a 30-23 lead. The Knights scored on the last play of regulation but went for two rather than kicking the extra point and sending it into overtime,  and didn’t convert, making the final 30-29 Southern Miss. The game featured 24 combined penalties (13 by Southern Miss) and four turnovers (3 by UCF.) The Eagles had 519 total yards including 392 passing yards. Davis threw for 364 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Receiver Ryan Balentine had 6 catches for 122 yards. Kevin Bolden had 5 catches for 95 yards. UCF had364 yards but only 48 rushing yards.

Southern Miss averages 457.4 yards and 36.8 points a game. The Golden Eagles average 258.6 passing yards and 198.8 rushing yards a game. Southern Miss has 20 turnovers and has allowed 13 sacks this season. The Eagles are 73-161 on third and fourth down conversions, and 35-39 scoring in the red zone with 24 touchdowns. USM is allowing 345.5 yards and 20.5 points a game. The Golden Eagles allow 258.6 passing yards and 121.3 rushing yards a game. USM has forced 19 turnovers and 21 sacks this season. Eagle opponents are 68/181 on third and fourth down conversions and 24/34 scoring in the red zone with 16 touchdowns. Southern Miss averages just under 8 penalties a game for 67 yards. The Eagles have 9 defensive/special teams touchdowns including 5 interception returns.

Davis is 217/346 passing for 2,511 yard with 20 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 77 carries, 227 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Running back Jamal Woodyard has 83 carries, 545 yards, and 3 touchdowns, along with 10 catches, 88 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Kendrick Hardy has 72 carries, 426 yards, and 2 touchdowns, plus 10 catches. Hardy has missed the last 5 games and is questionable with a shoulder injury for this game. Tracy Lampley has 59 carries, 296 yards, and 3 touchdowns along with 29 catches for 303 yards. Jeremy Hester has 57 carries, 278 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Balentine has 42 catches, 618 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Bolden has 46 catches, 544 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Kicker Danny Hrapmann is 42/43 on extra points and 18/25 on field goals with a long of 49 yards.

UAB got their second win of the season last week at Memphis who also has two wins on the season. The Blazers were actually a 5 point favorite on the road against the Tigers. Memphis was up 21-10 at halftime and expanded their lead to 35-17 at the end of the third. UAB stormed back in the fourth with 24 points to win 41-35. The Blazers overcame 2 turnovers in the win. UAB had 601 total yards including 410 passing yards from quarterback Jonathan Perry who had 4 touchdown passes and no interceptions. Perry also rushed for 47 yards on 9 carries. Greg Franklin and Darrin Reaves each rushed for 73 yards. Franklin had a touchdown run and also had 3 catches for 70 yards. Receiver Jamarcus Nelson had 6 catches, 133 yards and 2 touchdowns. Memphis had 384 total yards and 217 rushing yards.

As you might expect from a 2 win team, UAB ranks near the bottom of the country in most major offensive and defensive categories. The Blazers are averaging 356.1 yards a game including 238.9 passing yards and 117.2 rushing yards. UAB is scoring 17.3 points a game. The Blazers have allowed 17 sacks and have 22 turnovers this season. UAB is 49/150 on third and fourth down conversions, and 21/32 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns. The Blazers are allowing 488.7 yards a game including 293.4 passing yards and 195.3 rushing yards. UAB is giving up 37.2 points a game. The Blazers have forced 18 turnovers and 7 sacks. UAB opponents are 64/134 on third and fourth down conversions, and 44/51 scoring in the red zone with 37 touchdowns. UAB has 3 defensive/special teams touchdowns but has given up 5.

UAB quarterback Bryan Ellis was 67/127 passing for 743 yards 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions along with 11 carries for 11 yards. Ellis is out for the season with a hand injury. Perry is 140/248 passing for 1,616 yards, with 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 64 carries, 144 yards and a touchdown. Franklin has 56 carries for 319 yards and a touchdown, along with 18 catches for 258 yards. Reaves has 51 carries, 274 yards, and a touchdown.  Pat Shed has 60 carries, 223 yards, and a touchdown, along with 23 catches for 146 yards. He has missed the last 4 games and is questionable against Southern Miss.   Receiver Jackie Williams has 49 catches, and 467 yards. He doesn’t have a receiving touchdown but does have 2 rushing touchdowns.  Nick Adams has 26 catches, 337 yards, and a touchdown. Nelson has 15 catches, 325 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Patrick Hearn has 26 catches, 296 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Kicker Ty Long is 15/16 on extra points and and 14/17 on field goals with a long of 49 yards.

UAB is 6-4 against the spread this season and the total is 4-6 in those games. Southern Miss is 7-3 ATS and the total is 4-6 this season. UAB has won and covered two straight against Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles are 4-0 ATS in road games against teams with losing home records, and in road games overall, 7-1 overall, 6-1 after a straight up win and as a road favorite of 10.5 points or more, 5-1 as a favorite, 4-1 in conference, 16-5 in November games, 5-2 after failing to cover, 20-8 as a road favorite and 0-4 in Thursday games. The Blazers are 5-1 ATS as an underdog of 10.5 points or more, 4-1 after a cover, 4-1 at home against teams with winning road records, 6-2-1 as a home underdog, 6-2 overall, 5-2 as an underdog, 3-7 against teams with winning records, 2-5 at home, 3-9 after scoring 40 points or more, and 1-7 in November.

Southern Miss certainly needs this game more than UAB. Though this game is a road game, there might be more Southern Miss fans making the trip across the border to Birmingam than Blazer fans in dilapidated Legion Field. The Golden Eagles should win this game handily but the number might be a little high.

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