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High-Upside Offenses Face Tests in Sun Belt Conference Title Game

Before diving head first into any NCAAF predictions on what should be an interesting Sun Belt Championship matchup, I’d be remiss to not show some love to James Madison, who finished the season with an 11-1 record and had a Sun Belt East-best 7-1 record. They’re unable to compete in the conference title game after moving from the FCS to FBS in 2022, as a team has to wait two years before being eligible to compete for its conference title.

All that said, fans will now be treated to a great matchup between Sun Belt East champion Appalachian State (8-4, 6-2 in conference) and Troy (10-2, 7-1 in conference). Both teams looked incredibly impressive this season, especially Troy, who was nearly dominant for the entire final three-fourths of the season after back-to-back early losses to then-No. 15 ranked Kansas State and James Madison. The Trojans reeled off nine consecutive victories to finish the year, winning all but two of those games by 18 or more points.

High-Upside Offenses Face Tests in Sun Belt Conference Title Game
High-Upside Offenses Face Tests in Sun Belt Conference Title Game

As for Appalachian State, it took an incredibly impressive second-half turnaround in order to emerge with a trip to the Sun Belt title game. The Mountaineers began the season with just a 3-4 record through the first seven games, including a double-overtime loss to North Carolina and a three-point loss to Coastal Carolina, whom they were battling with throughout the homestretch of the season to win the East. App State proceeded to reel off five consecutive victories to finish the season, including a pivotal road win over James Madison in the second-to-last game.

Appalachian State vs Troy Best Bet

This matchup should be a fun one, and it’ll be a real test for a few key areas of both teams, making it potentially one of the toughest college football picks of the week. While it’s hard not to be impressed with the stellar run Troy has been on since the early stages of the season, Appalachian State has been on its own tear, and the victory over James Madison proved this team can beat anyone in the conference.

The real question mark here is if App State’s impressive offensive play over the past five games can continue against this Troy defense. While the Mountaineers scored 42-plus points in three of the last five games, along with 31 and 26 in the two others, Troy’s defense has been arguably one of the top 15 best in the nation this season.

The Trojans have allowed the 12th-fewest total yards per game (300.1) while giving up 16.7 points per game – 10th-fewest nationally. While the App State defense has been OK in allowing 384.5 total yards per game, they’ll have their hands full with Troy.

Both teams boast well-rounded offenses, totaling north of 274 passing yards per game and 149 rushing yards, with App State leading the way with a strong 176.9 rushing yards per game.

With this game being played in Troy, and the Trojans having allowed more than 17 points just twice in the final nine games (and never allowing more than 24), I think we see the home team ultimately make a few key defensive stops and pull away in the fourth quarter. The Trojans are favored by six, and I think they win by right around double digits.

College Football Pick: Troy -6

Both Offenses Have the Talent to Put Points on the Board

While both defenses here have shown the capability to slow down talented offenses, I think we see both teams score some points here. App State and Troy each had strong finishes to the year offensively, even looking dominant at times, and while I do believe Troy’s defense will make the difference late, there should still be points to go around in this matchup when betting online.

The current over/under is set at 52½ in the Las Vegas odds and I’m not convinced that number is quite high enough. It could land near it unless one of the two defenses comes out of the gate and completely shuts down its opponent. I’m going to back these two teams upside to find the end zone, and take the over on the total, though, at the BetUS sportsbook.


College Football Pick: Over 52½



Predicted score: Troy 35, Appalachian State 24


Appalachian vs Troy Betting Lines


Appalachian State vs Troy Game Information

  • Game: Appalachian (8-4) vs Troy (10-2)
  • Date/Time: Sat, Dec 2, 4 p.m. ET
  • Location: Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy, Ala.
  • Appalachian vs Troy Live Stream: ESPN


Questions Of The Day

Which Troy player is most likely to go over their rushing yards prop against Appalachian State?

Troy’s Kimani Vidal averages more than 100 yards rushing per game, so he’s your man.

Will there be more total points scored in the first half or the second half of the Appalachian State vs Troy game?

Second half. The defenses could flex their muscles early before succumbing to the pressure of trying to stop the offenses.


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