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2017

Arkansas State

College Football

Betting Preview

Schedule

Due to schedule and ineffective play, Arkansas State started last season with four-straight losses. But once Sun Belt started, that changed as the Red Wolves reeled off seven conference wins and managed to be co-champs with Appalachian State, who they didn’t have to play. With another favorable conference schedule and enough returning talent, they should once again compete for a Sun Belt title.

The main reason for last year’s turnaround can be attributed to quarterback Justice Hansen taking over. He started in the fourth game, throwing for 424 yards in a loss to Central Arkansas and then went on to finish with 19 touchdowns and eight picks after two INTs in that first start. While he has a year of experience, a completely new offensive line could be problematic for this group with only one expected senior in the group. Head coach Blake Anderson will take over play-calling duties after they scored just 27.3 points per game last year. Outside of Hansen, there’s more talent with Warren Wand (879 yards, 7 TDs) at running back and tight end Black Mack (652 yards, 3 TDs) on the receiving end. Hansen’s favorite wide out is gone, but Chris Murray (327 yards) and Dijon Paschal (308 yards) should fill that role.

The biggest thing for the Red Wolves will be trying to match what the defense did a year ago with only four starters back after allowing 21.5 points per game. Ja’Von Rolland-Jones (13.5 sacks) should see even more attention unless his teammates on the line can fill in what last year’s starters did. In addition to Rolland-Jones, there are pieces that should keep this defense almost as good. Dee Liner can be effective at tackle and Kyle Wilson returns at linebacker. The secondary is set at corner, but loses a couple studs at safety and bring in a couple juco transfers to fill those spots.

Things will likely start rough for Arkansas State again due to a difficult non-conference slate. The main goal will be to come away with two wins before heading into conference play, those likely coming against Pine Bluff and SMU. The Red Wolves have a couple tough road games starting with the Sun Belt opener at Georgia Southern, who they beat by one point last year. To have a chance at the conference title, they’ll either have to win seven again or maybe even eight. The biggest game may end up being the regular season finale in which they host Troy. The winner of that game could decide a lot, depending on what App. State does.

Because of that, Arkansas State has the same +400 odds to win the Sun Belt (at 5Dimes Sportsbook in late July) as Troy. But with some tougher road games and a completely new offensive line, the Red Wolves still have an over/under that’s at 7.5 with the under getting more action in the summer.

 

2017 Arkansas State Red Wolves Football Schedule

Sept. 2 at Nebraska
Sept. 9 vs. Miami (FL)
Sept. 16 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Sept. 23 at SMU

Oct. 4 at Georgia Southern
Oct. 14 vs. Coastal Carolina

Oct. 19 vs. Louisiana Lafayette
Oct. 28 at New Mexico State

Nov. 11 at South Alabama
Nov. 18 vs. Texas State
Nov. 25 at UL Monroe
Dec. 2 vs. Troy

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