The UAB Blazers are coming off their second C-USA championship in three seasons and sit among the betting favorites to defend their conference crown.
The Blazers open the 2021 season against FCS Jacksonville State, but the Gamecocks are not an FCS team to be taken lightly. Jacksonville State won its conference in spring ball and upset FBS Florida International last fall.
Will the Blazers stay focused and cover the two-touchdown spread, or is the value with the underdog? Check out our college football betting free picks and predictions for UAB vs. Jacksonville State on Wednesday, September 1, and find out.
UAB vs Jacksonville State game info
• Location: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL
• Date: Wednesday, September 1, 2021
• Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
UAB vs Jacksonville State odds
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UAB vs Jacksonville State betting preview
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.
UAB: No key injuries to report.
Jacksonville State: No key injuries to report.
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.
Betting trend to know
UAB went 1-3 ATS last season when laying double-digit chalk. Find more NCAA betting trends for UAB vs. Jacksonville State.
Against the spread (ATS) pick
UAB will face off against FCS Jacksonville State in the all-Alabama Montgomery Kickoff at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. (Yes, Jacksonville State is in Alabama for those who didn’t know). The Blazers are two-touchdown favorites but this won’t be a walk in the park.
Despite the Blazers winning two of the last three C-USA titles, you can make the case this will arguably be Bill Clark’s best team yet. On offense, quarterback Tyler Johnston is back and healthy, and will be playing behind one of the best and most experienced lines in college football.
UAB does have to replace its top two pass catchers and school-leading rusher Jermaine Brown, but transfers at both positions should help mitigate the losses. On defense, the Blazers return nine starters to a unit that ranked seventh nationally in total defense.
But make no mistake, this game will be a battle. Jacksonville State was one of the few FCS teams to play both in the fall and the spring and are the defending Ohio Valley Conference champions.
The Gamecocks led the FCS with 10 wins, which included a victory over FBS Florida International as 10-point underdogs. They also were leading Florida State midway through the third quarter later in the season.
In the spring, the Gamecocks' season ended with a little disappointment losing in the quarterfinals, but they’ll want to prove they are one of the FCS’s best with a strong performance in this game.
Quarterback Zerrick Cooper is back and healthy and was named to the Walter Payton Award (the FCS Heisman) watch list for this season and leads an offense that led the OVC in total offense and was second in scoring offense. The Gamecocks also return defensive starts in defensive back Nicario Harpe and edge rusher DJ Coleman.
UAB should win this game, but I don’t expect it to be easy, and with the Blazers' struggles to cover double-digit chalk last season, we’ll ride with the dog here.
PREDICTION: Jacksonville State +14.5 (-110)
When I first saw this matchup on the board, my gut reaction was to lean towards the Under. This game features two terrific defenses and offenses that love to run the ball. That typically is a combination to love Unders. But then I saw the number and at 47.5 and I can’t stay away from the Over.
The Blazers feature a balanced offense behind veteran QB Johnston and a strong running game, averaging 28.4 points per game a season ago. And while Jacksonville State has a strong defense by FCS standards, Florida State put up over 500 yards on them and they showed some weakness against the run down the stretch this spring.
On the other side, the Gamecocks did the bulk of their damage on the ground last season, rumbling for over 200 yards per game, but if Cooper is healthy (and all accounts say he is) that brings a whole new dimension to the JSU offense. The Gamecocks averaged 29.3 points last season in the OVC and 21.5 against FBS opponents. If they can eclipse 20 points – and I think they will – this one should go Over.
PREDICTION: Over 47.5 (-110)
UAB vs Jacksonville State betting card
- Jacksonville State +14.5 (-110)
- Over 47.5 (-110)
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