Sun Belt Football Betting Preview: Picks, Predictions, Over/Unders and Dark Horses

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers quarterback Grayson McCall.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers quarterback Grayson McCall. / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Sun Belt welcomed in some new members this season to an already exciting conference that has seen several teams enter the national spotlight over the last several seasons.

The conference expanded from 10 to 14 teams this season, adding Marshall, Southern Mississippi, Old Dominion and James Madison to an already formidable conference with Louisiana-Lafayette, Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State. How will the expansion impact the conference?

Here are all the odds and ends you need to get ready for the new look Sun Belt in 2022:

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

2022 Sun Belt Football Win Totals

  • Appalachian State: 8.5 (Over -120/Under +100)
  • Arkansas State: 5 (Over +100/Under -120)
  • Coastal Carolina: 8 (Over +120/Under -140)
  • Georgia Southern: 4.5 (Over +115/Under -135)
  • Georgia State: 7.5 (Over +130/Under -150)
  • James Madison: 6.5 (Over +120/Under -150)
  • Louisiana-Lafayette: 8.5 (Over -120/Under +100)
  • Louisiana-Monroe: 2.5 (Over -125/Under +105)
  • Marshall: 7 (Over -135/Under +115)
  • Old Dominion: 4.5 (Over +100/Under -120)
  • South Alabama: 5.5 (Over -110/Under -110)
  • Southern Mississippi: 4.5 (Over -150/Under +130)
  • Texas State: 4.5 (Over -135/Under +115)
  • Troy: 6.5 (Over -110/Under -110)

2022 Sun Belt Football Conference Championship Odds

  • Appalachian State: +210
  • Arkansas State: +5000
  • Coastal Carolina: +500
  • Georgia Southern: +8000
  • Georgia State: +800
  • James Madison: N/A
  • Louisiana-Lafayette: +350
  • Louisiana-Monroe: +20000
  • Marshall: +550
  • Old Dominion: +5000
  • South Alabama: +2000
  • Southern Mississippi: +4000
  • Texas State: +7000
  • Troy: +1200

Sun Belt Conference Championship Favorite: Appalachian State +210

Louisiana-Lafayette and Appalachian State have played in the last three Sun Belt Championship Games (Coastal Carolina made it over App State in 2020, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19). However, ULL is going through more transition than the Mountaineers, making Shawn Clark's team the favorites heading into the season.

Appalachian State returns its starting quarterback in former Clemson recruit and Duke starter Chase Brice. He has proven to be a capable passer, completing 62% of his passers for over 3,300 yards. He does struggle with interceptions, 11 on the year, but head coach Shawn Clark prefers to run the ball.

The near-60% rush rate should continue in 2022 with both Nate Noel (1,128 rushing yards) and Camerun Peoples (928) back along four offensive lineman blocking for them.

If Brice can limit turnovers, the Mountaineers have the most proven offense in the Sun Belt.

The defense must replace the SBC Defensive Player of the Year in D'Marco Jackson, but the unit as a whole racked up 37 sacks last season. Even if they take a slight step back there is enough proven talent to keep this team amongst the elite in the conference.

Clark's team does go to Coastal Carolina and Marshall, a pair of contenders during back-to-back weeks in November, but they do get Georgia State and Troy at home as well.

Sun Belt Conference Championship Dark Horse: Georgia State (+800)

The Panthers finished the year on a high note, winning six of their last seven in Sun Belt play and throttled Ball State 51-20 in the Camellia Bowl. Now, they enter with the second highest returning production rate in the conference, led by dual threat quarterback Darren Grainger.

Grainer only passed for 1,715 yards but posted a 19:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio and also ran for nearly 700 yards. He's joined in the backfield by the top two running backs from last season in Tucker Gregg and Jamyest Williams, who combined for over 1,800 yards on the ground. This was a top 30 rushing unit in the country last season based on rushing success rate and should be again.

Four offensive lineman are back and the likes of Javon Denis and Tre Moore return on the defensive line. Overall, the D was havoc-driven, posting 35 sacks. In addition to the fine front, Antavious Lane lurks in the secondary after combining for nine interceptions across the last two seasons.

The rub with the Panthers this season is the unforgiving schedule, the team is in four projected close games against Coastal Carolina at home and at Southern Mississippi, Marshall and James Madison. While they duck Appalachian State and Louisiana-Lafayette, they run into every other obstacle with most coming on the road.

With that being said, this team is arguably the most talented in the conference, we'll see if they can navigate the schedule and make their first Sun Belt Conference Championship game.

Sun Belt Championship Pick: Appalachian State over Louisiana-Lafayette

There could be some surprising teams in this conference title game in this conference considering there are some flaws in both division favorites, but the most likely outcome is that these are the teams at the end once again.

App. State has the continuity on offense to pick up the slack for a revamped defense and has it in the mix for the Sun Belt title. They are worthy favorites that also could shock some Power 5 opponents like North Carolina at home in Week 1.

As I alluded to above, there are more questions on the Ragin' Cajun side, but woo boy is this schedule easy. Yes, they lose quarterback Levi Lewis, who owns the record for most passing touchdowns in and second most passing yards in school history, but they get back two running backs who saw significant time and several key contributors on defense.

While Billy Napier moved on to Florida, the team promoted from within, tapping former ULL QB and offensive coordinator Michael Desormeaux for the job. The offense will need to find new leaders, but defense should keep this team in the mix with several key players back in the secondary who helped generate a top 30 havoc rate.

It's also about the schedule, though, where Louisiana projects to be favored in all but one game in Sun Belt play (at Marshall). I think continuity is enough to keep this team live for a SBC title, but not enough to win it.