The TaxAct Camellia Bowl will feature the Georgia State Panthers and Ball State Cardinals for the 2021 edition. Although it does not seem like a marquee matchup on the surface, it certainly is an interesting game that becomes even more interesting when examining it from a betting perspective. Georgia State will enter the game with a 7-5 record, and it did not always look certain that they would even make a bowl game as they needed to win 4 of their last 5 just to get here. On the other side of the game are the 6-6 Ball State Cardinals, who really have not looked all that great in recent weeks, and the bookmakers agree, as the Cardinals are listed as 6 point underdogs for this one.
Ball State Cardinals Betting Preview:
It is amazing that Ball State got to a 6-6 record when you look at their stats, as they are not particularly good on offense or defense. Their offense only puts up 334.8 yards of total offense per game, and their defense has struggled, allowing a little over 415 total yards per game. Those stats can be explained in part by the schedule they have faced, as they have gone up against some awfully tough defenses this season. The good thing is when they did play a team that was not quite as talented, they tended to take care of business and are not playing world beaters this coming Saturday.
This defense has been able to step up at times, and nowhere was that more true than their last game against Buffalo, as they managed to hold the Bulls to just 3 points. Jayson Jackson was the guy on offense who got the job done for the Cardinals in that game, going for 103 yards on 9 receptions and a touchdown. Ball State is projected to be trailing in this game, so I would not be at all surprised to see Jackson involved in a big way once again.
Senior QB Drew Plitt had another nice season throwing for 2248 yards and had a 17-5 TD-INT ratio, with the only concern hanging over his head is a slightly reduced completion percentage down to 60.5% from his usual 65%. He will no doubt want to leave his Ball State career behind following a win, and he has a very good matchup against this Panthers secondary to do just that.
Georgia State Panthers Betting Preview:
The Panthers seemed to really put it together towards the end of the season with three straight wins over Coastal Carolina, Arkansas State, and Troy. They did get a bit lucky in their win against the Chanticleers, as Coastal Carolina essentially gift-wrapped that game for them with turnovers, but this team still deserves respect for how they played down the stretch.
Darren Granger was good at the QB position, but he did not blow anyone away, throwing for 1512 yards to go along with 16 TD’s. Granger can be good as a dual-threat QB, but he has not been overly efficient this season, oftentimes needing 10+ rushing attempts to eclipse the 30-yard mark, so the Ball State defense might be able to keep that side of his game in check.
It is far more likely that if the Panthers get their running game going, it will come through their senior RB, Jamyest Williams, who has been great this year with 810 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns during the 2021 campaign. Williams’ matchup against the Cardinals’ front 7 is a strong one, so I certainly can see a situation where he is responsible for getting the Panthers up and keeping them there.
Ball State Cardinals vs. Georgia State Panthers Betting Prediction:
I really like the Cardinals in this spot, as I can see them having a ton of success through the air this Saturday. Drew Plitt has the experience, and ability to step up in this spot, and the Panthers’ secondary has not been scaring anyone this year. I would look to take them on the spread and have a bit on the Moneyline as well, as I would not be surprised to see them win this game outright.
Free Betting Pick
Ball State Cardinals vs. Georgia State Panthers Betting Verdict: Ball State ATS +6
Ball State Cardinals vs. Georgia State Panthers Correct Score Prediction: 31-27 Ball State