- UAB (1-1) travels to South Alabama (1-1) for Thursday evening kickoff at 7:30 p.m. (EST)
- UAB won last year’s matchup 35-3 and covered as an 11.5-point favorite
- Find the odds, a breakdown of the matchup and a pick for the game below
Despite being separated by just a four-hour drive down I-65, UAB is set to play South Alabama for just the second time in the programs’ history on Thursday night in Mobile.
The matchup between the two Group of Five sides might not be the most tantalizing game on the Week 4 schedule, but those looking to get some action before the marquee games on Saturday could find some value in this one.
The Blazers are back against a more manageable opponent after losing their last game to Miami (FL) on September 10th, while the Jaguars hope to rebound after stalling in the second half against Tulane and missing out on a near-upset in a 27-24 loss.
UAB vs South Alabama Odds
|UAB||-6.5 (-115)||-250||O 47.5 (-110)|
|South Alabama||+6.5 (-106)||+200||U 47.5 (-110)|
Odds as of September 23rd at DraftKings
Spencer Brown Leads Blazers
Senior running back Spencer Brown has been a workhorse for the Blazers since starting as a true freshman for UAB in 2017. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, but struggled through injuries last season to finish with 566 yards on 150 carries.
Brown is off to a hot start in 2020, after rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown in the season-opener against Central Arkansas, and 4.6 yards-per-carry against the Hurricanes on September 10th.
Highlights from UAB as they defeated Central Arkansas 45-35 for their 19th consecutive home win at Legion Field. @CBS_42 @UAB_FB @TJohnston0130 @k_swoopes @251Skull @bryson_lucero pic.twitter.com/N6xSMUq1f6
— Ronald Gaines, Jr. (@RonGSports) September 4, 2020
Last season, UAB ran the ball an average of 46 times in its Thursday night games, and the Blazers should be expected to do the same in this one, with Brown running well and starting quarterback Tyler Johnston III out with a non-throwing shoulder injury.
Sophomore quarterback Bryson Lucero is set to play in place of Johnston. In UAB’s first game against Central Arkansas, he completed 7-of-9 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown, but struggled against Miami in replacement duty after Johnston was injured in the fourth quarter.
Lucero was a three-star prospect coming out of high school, and should be better-equipped to handle the Jaguars with two weeks to prepare than he was when he was thrown into the fire against the Canes.
Desmond Trotter Banged Up for USA
Under normal circumstances, Sophomore quarterback Desmond Trotter is the type of talent that could make a major difference for the Jaguars. However, he has been dealing with a shoulder injury that has hampered him this season and saw him bounce in-and-out of the game against Tulane with diminishing returns.
Trotter is a high-caliber talent for Sun Belt Conference-level play, but hasn’t been particularly efficient so far this season, thanks in part to his ailing shoulder.
South Alabama AGAIN
Chance Lovertich now has two touchdowns since replacing Desmond Trotter
The Jags mean business tonight pic.twitter.com/wxdxQf1Xvq
— Sun Belt Pages (@SBPages) September 13, 2020
South Alabama head coach Steve Campbell said last week that Trotter and junior college transfer Chance Lovertich could platoon at the position, but that situation makes the Jags all the more difficult to trust.
Against the Green Wave, Lovertich engineered three touchdown drives before Trotter tried to finish the game and the offense stalled shuffling between the two. Through two games this season, Lovertich has completed 62-percent of his passes for 311 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Best Bet for Thursday Night
Since 2018, Campbell is 1-8 outright as a home underdog, but South Alabama is 6-3 ATS in those games.
South Alabama has only been an underdog by fewer than eight points twice under Campbell, and is 0-2 outright and 1-1 ATS in those games. In a limited sample size so far this season, the Jaguars have been the better of the two sides when considering UAB vs. South Alabama trends.
— South Alabama Football (@WeAreSouth_FB) September 22, 2020
This could very well be an emotional letdown spot for the Jags. After letting a win against the Green Wave slip away late, returning home to deal with Hurricane Sally, and heading into this week with uncertainty at quarterback, there are a few reasons to fade South Alabama.
However, redshirt sophomore running back Carlos Davis is off to a promising start for the Jaguars, and the Blazers’ rush defense has been horrid to start the year.
Early on, the point total ballooned up over 50 points on numerous sportsbooks, and taking the over at the current 47.5 is a strong play. Otherwise, waiting to see if the line moves again before tomorrow’s kickoff may be the more sensible strategy in the meantime. After opening at 7.5, it now sits at 6.5, and if money comes in on the Jags to move it to 6-or-lower, UAB becomes a more attractive option. Should the spread move back up over a touchdown, the Jags would be a sneaky pick.
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