2023 Sun Belt betting preview: Bet Georgia Southern OVER wins in 2023

2023 wasn't a fluke for Clay Helton's bunch, who should be improved with even better quarterback play.
Georgia Southern receiver Khaleb Hood (7) makes a reception for 19 yards as South Alabama's Jalen
Georgia Southern receiver Khaleb Hood (7) makes a reception for 19 yards as South Alabama's Jalen / [FRANK FORTUNE/SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS] /

Georgia Southern made waves in 2023, the first season under former USC head coach Clay Helton, bolstering the best Sun Belt offense and making a bowl game.

The Eagles look to follow it up with a win an even better season in 2023 with the addition of another veteran quarterback and hopefully a somewhat improved defense after rating as one of the worst in the country.

Can Georgia Southern go bowling again and possibly contend in the Sun Belt, which is a defensive-minded conference for the most part?

A team that won't contend in 2023 is Old Dominion, who went 2-9 after stunning in-state foe in ACC's Virginia Tech last season in its opener at home, and now starts over with questions at quarterback. The Monarch's have a low win total, but is it low enough?

Our season previews continue with two win totals I'm playing in the Sun Belt.

Georgia Southern OVER 5.5 Wins (-170)

To be honest, I played over six wins flat for a cheaper price, as I see six as a likely win total, but I love the upside of this team in 2023.

The Eagles transitioned quickly from the triple option offense to a pass-happy group under first year coach Clay Helton around transfer quarterback Kyle Vantrease. The team burst on the scene in the Sun Belt, posting a top 30 EPA/Play mark and was 37th in yards per play, allowing only seven sacks on the year. Overall, the team won six games.

The Eagles were a lopsided bunch, struggling on defense but had little issue putting up points against some of the Sun Belt's elite defenses, and now inject another transfer quarterback into the mix with Tulsa's Davis Brin joining the team.

Brin was top 30 in EPA/Play last season amongst QB's despite playing through injuries on a lackluster Tulsa squad. He should outperform Vantrease's marks in 2023 with a strong supporting cast, including 1,000 yard receiver Kaleb Hood and Derwin Burgess Jr. in addition to Jalen White, who rushed for five yards per carry.

This offense could be the best in the Sun Belt in 2023 with a handful of returning seniors, but the question comes if the defense can go from one of the worst in the country to simply passable.

The team allowed the fifth most yards per play (6.6) and couldn't get in the backfield whatsoever (17 sacks was 116th in the country). the team does return leading tackler Marques Watson-Trent and third leading tackler Khadry Jackson at linebacker, but this team is likely going to need to piece it together once again.

If the team fails, it's probably because of the defense, but the offense is going to push the ceiling higher than anyone in the Sun Belt.

Looking at the schedule, 3-1 in non conference is possible with The Citadel and UAB coming to Statesboro and a road trip to Ball State as a close spread game and at Wisconsin. If the team gets three in the non con, look for wins at home against Louisiana-Monroe and Old Dominion pushing them to five.

That means the best offense in the league needs to find a win from one of these: home Coastal Carolina, at James Madison, at Texas State, at Marshall, at Appalachian State. To me, this team can shock teams with the offensive ceiling.

It's not an easy schedule, but the Eagles nearly dethroned Coastal Carolina and South Alabama in 2022, and even knocked off Appalachian State and James Madison due to it's loaded offense. That side of the ball will be even better in 2023 and it makes me bullish on some high-end outcomes.

Old Dominion UNDER 3.5 Wins (-110)

This is a full teardown season for ODU, who is transitioning to new offensive coordinator Kevin Decker's pass-happy system from Fordham. Decker brings with him his backup quarterback from last year Grant Wilson who has very little experience to compete with redshirt sophomore Jack Shields, who also has little to none experience on the field.

The offense fell apart in 2022 and I expect growing pains in a new scheme this year. The team brings back 35% of production on offense and 51% of production on defense, per ESPN.com.

It's a full teardown for a team that was 113th in EPA/Play on offense and 73rd on defense. While some wholesale changes could be nice, I don't envision this team is going to jump off the page given the team's lack of talent in the two-deep.

The team has unproven choices at quarterback with unknown quantities at the skill positions, losing top running back Blake Watson and near-1,000 yard receiver Ali Jennings. On defense, the team brings back Jason Henderson, who had a whopping 186 tackles last season, but must replace four of five starters in the secondary.

The team will be favored in one game this season, home for Texas A&M Corpus Christi, with the only other slight underdog opportunity being the season finale against Georgia State. All games will have the Monarchs catching more than a touchdown. I don't expect a roster with this little upside to find three upset wins.

I believe the bottom falls out for Old Dominion in 2023, go under the lowly win total.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.