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2013 Sun Belt Conference: NCAA Football Gambling Predictions | Futures

2013 Sun Belt Season Football Preview

Like many conferences, the Sun Belt has a totally different look in 2013. Florida International, Florida Atlantic, MTSU, and North Texas left the conference after last season. Texas State and Georgia State were added to the Sun Belt, so the team now has eight teams.

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There have been some very good teams in the Sun Belt over the last few years. Louisiana-Monroe made some noise last year, and FIU was highly competitive for a few years. Clearly, this conference isn’t as strong as it was last year, but there are still some teams that have a nice roster heading into 2013.

Let’s take a closer look at the 2013 Sun Belt Conference.

All odds listed are from BetOnline.

The Favorites:

Louisiana-Lafayette (+200)

Mark Hudspeth is doing an amazing job with this program.

Lafayette has shown potential for the past few years, but they took it to the next level last year. Quarterback Terrance Broadway is one of the biggest stars in this conference. Broadway started only nine games last year, but he still managed to set school records for total offense and completion percentage. The Ragin Cajuns also return four of their top five rushers and five of their top seven receivers.

Alonzo Harris is a game breaker at the tailback spot. Lafayette’s defense isn’t very good, but it won’t matter most of the time. This team averaged 35.3 points per game last year, and they should be even better this year.

Louisiana-Monroe (+250)

Kolton Browning led the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks to a spectacular win last year in Arkansas.

The Warhawks actually went 6-0 with Browning as their starting quarterback last year in conference play, but he missed two games and the team lost both of those contests. Still, last year was the best record for this Warhawks program since they became an FBS level school 20 years ago. Coach Todd Berry has this team believing that 2013 can their year. At one point last year, the team’s top five or six players were all hurt at one time.

If they can stay reasonably healthy this year, this team will be very dangerous. The Warhawks offensive line should be better this year, and they might hold the key to this team’s chances in 2013.

Arkansas State (+250)

Bryan Harsin is the first-year coach at Arkansas State.

Gus Malzahn was here last year, but he has moved on to be the head man at Auburn. Harsin has plenty of talent to work with, but it definitely hurts that he won’t have Ryan Aplin under center. The loss of that type of play makers always hurts. Still, Arkansas State has a lot of talent at the quarterback position. Adam Kennedy, Spencer Butterfield, and Stephen Hogan are battling it out for the starting position. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

The Red Wolves of Arkansas State have the best offensive line in the conference. This defense has plenty of depth at key positions as well. This team has more questions at the skill positions on offense, but they have a high upside as well.

Contenders:

Western Kentucky (+500)

Bobby Petrino will be on the sidelines at Western Kentucky this year. Petrino got in a lot of trouble at Arkansas, but he has shown he can win on the football field. You better believe there will be a lot of national attention on this Hilltoppers team in 2013. Antonio Andrews may be the best running back in the league, and he’ll need to get his hands on the football a lot this year.

The passing game is a major question mark with very little depth at receiver and no clear cut starter at quarterback. This team’s defense will keep them in games. Expect the Hilltoppers to upset some teams, but they might not be consistent enough to win the Sun Belt.

Troy (+800)

It wasn’t long ago that Troy was dominating the Sun Belt Conference on an annual basis. Strangely, Troy has now had two straight losing seasons.

It is the first time that has happened in Larry Blakeney’s 22 year career as head coach. Corey Robinson is a play maker at quarterback for the Trojans, but he won’t have as many weapons around him this year.

The biggest problem for this team is their defense. Troy had the worst red zone defense in the Sun Belt last year. Don’t expect the Trojans to be among the league’s elite teams this season.

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Use the College football previews for the 2012 NCAA football season to help you with your college football handicapping at our top sportsbooks online this season.

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