After winning the Ohio Valley Conference championship for five straight seasons between 2013 and 2018, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks are looking to put a disappointing 2019 behind them.
But as one of the few FCS programs to actually play at least a partial fall schedule, the Gamecocks will be more prepared than most on their quest to return to the top. That quest begins as 12-point favorites against Tennessee Tech.
Check out our best college football free picks and predictions for Tennessee Tech vs. Jacksonville State, with kickoff set for Sunday, Feb. 28 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles vs Jacksonville State Gamecocks betting preview
It could be a wet and dreary day in Jacksonville, Alabama this Sunday. The forecast is calling for overcast skies, with a 30 percent chance of rain at kickoff, with those chances increasing throughout the afternoon. There is expected to be a 10-to-12 mile per hour cross-field wind gusting from the Southwest, with temperatures in the mid-70s.
Against the spread (ATS) pick
Jacksonville State put up an impressive 3-1 record in the fall, which included an FBS win over FIU, and they even led Florida State 21-14 at the half as 27.5 point underdogs. The Gamecocks eventually lost that game, but those two performances should do loads of good for their program, as well as their FCS playoff resume.
They will have to do so without star quarterback Zerrick Cooper, who has twice led the conference in passing yards and touchdown passes but will miss this one with an injury. However, junior QB Zion Webb stepped in to help secure the win over FIU. Another player to keep an eye on is grad transfer running back Josh Samuels, who rumbled for 163 yards and a score on 25 carries against the Golden Panthers.
On the other side, Tennessee Tech opened its spring season with a bang last week, upsetting Ohio Valley Conference co-champ Austin Peay 27-24 as roughly touchdown underdogs. That said, Austin Peay is going through a huge transition year and it shouldn’t be a surprise if they take a big step back.
That’s not to take anything away from the Golden Eagles offense. Junior quarterback Bailey Fisher racked up 3,132 yards of total offense and 32 touchdowns as a sophomore, but struggled in the win over Austin Peay, throwing for just 106 yards and getting sacked seven times.
However, offense hasn’t really been the problem for Tennessee Tech since 2019, it’s been the defense that has held them back. While the Golden Eagles had a solid game in the opener, they ranked dead last in the OVC in scoring defense and second-to-last in total defense.
Jacksonville State proved in the fall they are a team on a mission, and while Tennessee Tech is coming off a big win, playing at JSU stadium is always tough and the Golden Eagles may be in a bit of a letdown spot. We’re laying the points with the home team in this one.
PREDICTION: Jacksonville State -12 (-110)
The total for this Ohio Valley Conference matchup sits at 52.5 and right off the bat we can tell you we’re leaning towards the Over.
Tennessee Tech, as we mentioned, has a capable offense that was second in the OVC in scoring last season at 29 points per game, while at the same time giving up the most points in the conference at 35.2 per contest.
For Jacksonville State, they may not have their star QB, but their backup beat an FBS team in the fall and has plenty of weapons at his disposal. Even though the Gamecocks’ defense should improve this spring, the unit still allowed 27.2 points per game in 2019. As we said, we’re betting this one to go above the number.
PREDICTION: Over 52.5 (-110)
Tennessee Tech vs Jacksonville State betting card
- Jacksonville State -12 (-110)
- Over 52.5 (-110)
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