- Spread: Appalachian State -3
- Moneyline: Appalachian State -165; Marshall +135
- Over/Under: 59.5
*Odds via DraftKings.com as of 9/15/20
Most of the time, when we talk about Marshall, either Randy Moss is part of the conversation, or there is a ‘we are’ in front of it. As for Appalachian State, when the Mountaineers are in the discussion, it is usually because we are making fun of Michigan fans.
But this season, thanks to the coronavirus, we don’t have nearly as many teams playing. Consequently, we have the time and opportunity to give teams like Appalachian State and Marshall some much-deserved attention.
Both are former FCS schools that played in the Southern Conference (Appalachian State leads the all-time series 14-8). Marshall left in the late 1990s to move up to the FBS level; Appalachian State didn’t move until 2014.
So, when they meet Saturday at John C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, West Virginia, there will be history between the two. As for who will win…
Appalachian State Mountaineers Betting Preview
The No. 23 Appalachian State Mountaineers entered the season with high hopes following a 13-1 year in 2019 (7-1 in Sun Belt Conference play). Losing head coach Eliah Drinkwitz to Missouri was unfortunate, but new head coach Shawn Clark had been an assistant for four years, so the program was in familiar hands.
Of course, it helps that he has a great team coming back for his first full season as head coach in 2020.
Zac Thomas is back at quarterback for his senior season after a very productive season in ’19. To make matters even better for Clark, he had a lot of help returning with him: four starters on his offensive line, his four best wide receivers, and two excellent running backs in Marcus Williams and Cameron Peoples.
They were not a great offense in ’19, but they were productive and efficient. With so many guys coming back, it is not hard to picture them playing even better this season. Sure enough, in their season opener against Charlotte, they recorded 512 yards of offense and 35 points.
However, if there is a weakness on the team, it may be the defense. The unit was the best in the Sun Belt last year but lost its top five tacklers, and two members of what was an excellent secondary. Against Charlotte, they played fine, but Marshall has a much better offense.
Marshall Thundering Herd Betting Preview
Marshall entered the season with a lot more stability at head coach with Doc Holliday entering his 11th season. But the Thundering Herd’s ’19 season was not nearly as good as Appalachian State (8-5; 6-2 in Conference-USA play).
Part of the problem was the inconsistent play of the offense that sometimes struggled to put points on the board against easier competition. However, with eight starters coming back, including quarterback Grant Wells, there was reason for hope.
In their season opener against Eastern Kentucky, it looked like the experience paid off. Wells went off for 307 yards and four touchdowns while Knowledge McDaniel and Brenden Knox paced a rushing attack that gained 282 yards.
If there is a weakness, it could be the defense. The secondary is in good shape, but the front four lost three of its starters from ’19. The unit was not great against the run, anyway. With a smaller group up front this year, the front four could be pushed around by a bigger offensive line.
But if the offense can do its job and put up some points, opposing teams will have to pass more. In that case, a smaller defensive line can be a quicker one that is good at rushing the passer.
Appalachian State at Marshall Betting Pick
Appalachian State comes into the game ranked and looking to give the voters a reason to move them up. But Marshall is going to have something to say about that. Look for their passing game to take advantage of the less experienced members of the Mountaineers secondary and negate their run game.
Take Marshall to win, straight up and against the spread. As for the over/under, both offenses are good enough to score 30+ points against the other—take the over.
Appalachian State – Marshall Best Bets:
Marshall ML (+135)
Marshall +3 (-106)
OVER 59.5 (-110)