Central Arkansas vs. UAB Betting Picks and Predictions
September 1, 2020
Central Arkansas Bears @ UAB Blazers
Date: Thursday, September 3rd
Time: 8:00 ET
Venue: Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
Spread: UAB -14.5
Central Arkansas Bears Preview
The Central Arkansas Bears played just four days ago and just barely outlasted the Austin Peay Governors 24-17 in what was a back and forth affair to the final whistle. The Governors took the lead on a 1-yard run with just 1:40 left, but QB Breylin Smith stomped down the field with ease and was able to connect with Lujuan Winningham with 34 seconds on the clock. Austin Peay was able to get the ball over midfield with seconds remaining, but the Bears defense was able to hold on and prevail in their first game of the year. They’ll face a much tougher challenge on Thursday night against a UAB Blazers team that has a ton of weapons.
The Bears return their top playmakers on offense from a year ago, and it all starts with QB Breylin Smith. He threw for 3,704 yards with 32 TD’s as the offense relies heavily on their air attack. Both leading receivers return in Tyler Hudson (55 Rec, 975 Yds, 12 TD) and Lujuan Winningham (50 Rec, 814 Yds, 8 TD), and the Bears will continue to throw the ball a ton in 2020. When they do run the ball, it’ll be Kierre Crossley and Cameron Myers that split time. If this team wants to upset the UAB Blazers, it’ll take a perfect game out of Smith and co.
UAB Blazers Preview
The UAB Blazers won the West division in 2019 with a 9-4 record before losing the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl 34-17 to Appalachian State. They dominated inside their conference, but their Achilles heel was facing tougher competition as they were blown out in four of their five losses. They’ll return 19 starters from a season ago and are heavy favorites to win Conference USA, bringing with greater expectations than ever before. They’ll sit on the shoulders of QB Tyler Johnston III, who will have to stay healthy if UAB wants to achieve their season goals.
Senior RB Spencer Brown is already the leading career rusher for the Blazers, but he wasn’t great in 2019 with just 566 yards and 3.8 YPC before falling to injury. Lucious Stanley emerged with seven touchdowns on 90 carries while averaging 4.9 YPC. It’s fair to assume Brown and Stanley will split carries until one asserts themself over the other. At wideout, leading receiver Austin Watkins (57 Rec, 1,092, 6 TD in 2019) returns and will be leaned on heavily with Kendall Parham off the team. Myron Mitchell will be asked to step up as well and I’m expecting a huge season out of the speedy veteran. The Blazers are -14.5 point favorites for good reason here and they’ll put the Bears away early if they can execute on both sides of the ball.
The Blazers are the far better team here in every facet of the game and I’d expect this line to sit closer to 21 points. Breylin Smith is a talented QB, but he’s prone to making mistakes and I expect him to make plenty of them as he plays from behind against an aggressive defense. The Blazers won’t have any problem scoring as they are fully healthy and far better than the Austin Peay offense that had moderate success less than a week ago. The Bears also played four days ago and didn’t have much time to prepare for the much better team. The Blazers defense is also elaborate and not easy to get ready for. I look for UAB to come out firing early and often as Tyler Johnston III looks to start the year on a good note. There is a ton of value at this number and I’m all over UAB with a ton of confidence.
I’m expecting the Blazers to score a couple of times in the first quarter and for the game to turn into a bit of a shootout. The Coastal Arkansas Bears don’t have much of a rushing attack and they’ll be throwing a ton as soon as they fall behind. Tyler Johnson III is one of the best QB’s in Conference USA and I look for him to throw for at least 250 yards and three scores. The Blazers to cover is my favorite bet of this game, but I’ll take the over up to 50 here.