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Sun Belt Conference: 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Predictions | Futures

2014 Sun Belt Preview: Betting

The Sun Belt Conference has experienced a lot of turnover in the last couple seasons. A lot of the old teams have moved on to slightly bigger conferences, while there are several new faces here looking to get a little national exposure.

This conference gets weekday games on ESPN and ESPN2 so there is some real media exposure for these squads. Let’s take a look at some of the key contenders and possible dark horses in the Sun Belt in 2014.

All odds listed are courtesy of 5Dimes.

Louisiana Lafayette (-150)

The Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns were the best team in the Sun Belt last year, and they return 17 starters from last year’s team.

Terrance Broadway was dinged up late in the year last year, but when he is healthy this offense is very dangerous. Broadway is the best quarterback in the Sun Belt by a large margin. Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire form a tremendous tailback tandem for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

The offensive line dominates in the trenches and makes life easy on the QB and RB’s. Lafayette’s defensive front was already big, and they get much bigger this year as 6’5 325 pound defensive end Jacoby Briscoe transfers in from Miami.

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Mark Hudspeth is an underrated coach with a ton of talent. This team should be the class of the conference by a large margin.

South Alabama (+400)

Joey Jones has done an admirable job turning this South Alabama program around.

The Jaguars outgained Sun Belt opponents by an average of 91 yards per game last year. They also return 15 starters from last year’s team. South Alabama’s 2013 team beat a good Tulane team on the road and lost by only a touchdown at Tennessee.

The quarterback spot is the biggest question mark on offense. There is depth here, but no clear cut starter. South Alabama has a ton of very good wideouts, so the hope is they will help make the quarterbacks look good. The offensive front is very good as well. Defensively, the Jaguars front seven will likely struggle to stop the run.

The secondary is loaded with talent.
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A clear step below Lafayette.

Arkansas State (+550)

The Red Wolves of Arkansas State have lost some big name coaches in the past few years. Hugh Freeze was great for a year, but bolted for the Ole Miss job. Gus Malzahn did a great job here, but he went to Auburn for a great job. Bryan Harsin was here last year, but he’s now the head coach at Boise State.

Can Arkansas State keep a coach and build up a program? Blake Anderson learned under Larry Fedora and he’ll be the coach this year. The Red Wolves have a massive question mark at quarterback this season. The running game should be good, but there’s not enough balance.

The defense is led by the best secondary in the Sun Belt. If they can stop the run, they’ll be excellent defensively.

Louisiana-Monroe (+650)

Kolton Browning covered up a lot of weaknesses for Monroe in the past few seasons. Browning was a four-year starter, but he’s now gone. Pete Thomas transferred in after playing at Colorado State and NC State.

He’s a quality starter for this conference, but he’s no Browning.

The weapons around Thomas are less than impressive though, and I think this offense will struggle. Defensively, the Warhawks return nine starters and I expect this group to keep them in most games.

Sun Belt Conference Pick:

Louisiana-Lafayette (-150) I love picking underdogs, but I just don’t see anyone else winning this conference. It won’t surprise me a bit if the Ragin’ Cajuns go unbeaten in the Sun Belt.

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About Kyle Hunter

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