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Sun Belt Football: Examining Over/Under Win Totals for the 2022 Season

Michael Jefferson, Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Football in 2021 Sun Belt Championship vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers.

Ever after losing head coach Billy Napier and several key players, Michael Jefferson and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns look to keep Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina and everyone else at arm's length in the reconfigured Sun Belt.

A lot of the realignment talk focuses on the Power 5 conferences, but the Sun Belt has quietly done the best of their Group of 5 brethren. They added Marshall, James Madison, ODU, and Southern Miss to make things even stronger — and with a regional identity.

Related: Sun Belt Football 2022 Predictions

The Sun Belt tightened up the distances in the divisions so James Madison can develop rivalries with Appalachian State, Marshall, and Coastal Carolina. And on the field, there are plenty of solid signal callers, so I fully expect there to be P5 upsets once again.

(Win totals provided by Draftkings)

Sun Belt East

Appalachian State (Over 8.5 -120...Under 8.5 +100)

Non-Conference Games: North Carolina, at Texas A&M, The Citadel, Robert Morris
Schedule Notes: The Mountaineers get a great chance to start the season with a bang when UNC heads to Boone for a rare trip. They've got a chance to run off some victories early with six of their first eight at home. The payoff comes later when App State has to travel to Coastal Carolina and Marshall back-to-back.
QB: Chase Brice
Roster Notes: The ground game should be very strong early with the top four running backs from last season returning. Brice will lean heavily on them with the top three wide receivers departing as Corey Sutton and Thomas Hennigan no longer suit up for them. The offensive line could be one of the best in the conference. The defense has just five returning starters, but coordinator Dale Jones has worked some magic with this side of the ball before.

Prediction: Solid number as I come up with 8-9 wins

Coastal Carolina (Over 8 +120...Under 8 -140)

Non-Conference Games: Army, Gardner-Webb, Buffalo, at Virginia
Schedule Notes: The Chanticleers are home for five of their first seven contests. Opening up with Army will be interesting considering they always see the triple option and have the most time to prepare for this. Coastal finishes the year in Virginia with trips to Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.
QB: Grayson McCall
Roster Notes: McCall accounted for over 3,163 yards last season and had 27 touchdown passes to just three interceptions. However, he's going to have to find new weapons with Isaiah Likely and Jaivon Heiligh both graduating. Coming in from Georgia State is wide receiver Sam Pinckney, who made plenty of starts for the Panthers. The defense is going to be really young with just three starters returning. The special teams is also going to be really young, so McCall may have to do a little more if the team starts going for it more on fourth down.

Prediction: Eight is a solid number with a small chance it goes over.

Georgia Southern (Over 4.5 +115...Under 4.5 -135)

Non-Conference Games: Morgan State, at Nebraska, at UAB, Ball State
Schedule Notes: The Eagles have a pair of tough road trips in September. That is followed by an October where they spend three of four games on the road as well. November is spent at home for the most part, although they have Marshall and Appalachian State there.
QB: Buffalo transfer Kyle Vantrease
Roster Notes: Under new head coach Clay Helton, Georgia Southern is getting away from the option they had run for the longest time. Helton is trying to get his wide receivers more involved, and he wants more tempo as well. Vantrease left Buffalo to come over to be GSU's quarterback. Three of the top four running backs return as well as several solid wide receivers, although we don't know what they will be like in the style change. The defense has just five starters back with the secondary most likely the strongest group.

Prediction: This is a very tough schedule, and I saw four-ish wins. The under is a solid play.

Georgia State (Over 7.5 +130...Under 7.5 -150)

Non-Conference Games: at South Carolina, North Carolina, Charlotte, at Army
Schedule Notes: The Panthers are home for four of their first six games, including getting the Tar Heels in their building. GSU opens up with an SEC opponent as they look for their second win vs. the conference. Georgia State travels to Appalachian State, JMU, and Marshall while also hosting Coastal Carolina.
QB: Darren Grainger
Roster Notes: Grainger was fantastic after Cornelious Brown IV disappointed early in the 2021 campaign. He accounted for 2,375 yards of offense. The running back group is deep with a mix of returners and solid freshmen. Leading receiver Jamari Thrash is returning as well as the majority of the offensive line. The defense has seven starters returning including their three top tacklers. Much like others in the Sun Belt, the Panthers need to find a new kicker.

Prediction: Agree with the money move on the under, but not enough to pay -150. Shop around.

James Madison (Over 6.5 +120...Under 6.5 -150)

Non-Conference Games: Middle Tennessee, Norfolk State, at Louisville
Schedule Notes: The Dukes are playing only 11 games this season, so consider that when looking at the win total. They have three of their first four at home and an early bye week. JMU gets Coastal Carolina and Marshall at home in Sun Belt play while having road trips to Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State.
QB: Colorado State transfer Todd Centeio
Roster Notes: The Dukes have only nine starters returning from a team that was one of the best in the FCS. JMU aquitted themselves well in their yearly FBS contests, although they didn't play one last year. Centeio is a tremendous fit for this offense with solid mobility and the ability to get the ball out quickly. As always, the running back room is strong, and that's important for JMU's style of play. Losing Antwane Wells weakens a solid a wide receiver room, while linebacker Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey transferred to Texas. The defense could struggle a little against the step up in competition, but there are solid building blocks.

Prediction: Agree with the money move on the under, but not taking it at -150.

Marshall (Over 7 -140...under 7 +120)

Non-Conference Games: Norfolk State, at Notre Dame, at Bowling Green, Gardner-Webb
Schedule Notes: The Herd have three straight on the road after an FCS opener. The goal should be to get two wins, with conference foe Troy being the third team in that group. After an Oct. 8 bye, they alternate home and road matchups. Both Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State are coming to Huntington
QB: Texas Tech transfer Henry Colombi
Roster Notes: Grant Wells departed for the ACC, so it's Colombi who figures to take over the offense. Running back Rasheen Ali should be a workhorse after rushing for 1,401 yards in the 2021 campaign. Three of the top five wide receivers are back, including Corey Gammage, who had 878 receiving yards on 78 receptions. The O-line has just two starters back, but transfers have come from ECU, Purdue, and Rutgers. Abraham Beauplan had 110 tackles last year and returns. Keep an eye on the special teams in close games, since both the kicker and punter are likely to be freshmen.

Prediction: This is a VERY tough schedule, so I think there's definitely value on the under.

Old Dominion (Over 4.5 EVEN...Under 4.5 -120)

Non-Conference Games: Virginia Tech, at East Carolina, at Virginia, Liberty
Schedule Notes: There are a lot of in-state schools early for the Monarchs, as they host Virginia Tech and Liberty and also play at UVA. ODU's first season in the Sun Belt has them hosting Marshall and James Madison while playing at Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina.
QB Battle: Hayden Wolff vs. DJ Mack vs. Notre Dame transfer Brendon Clark
Roster Notes: ODU's 6-7 campaign was a huge surprise last year after not playing in 2020. One of the keys was a very solid defense. Five of their top six tacklers return as part of seven starters overall. One of those not back is Jordan Young, who is the school's all-time leading tackler. The QB competition is intriguing, with Wolff and Mack having some experience in the system, but it's Clark who could take over. The entire running back group returns while Ali Jennings and Zack Kuntz are back as pass-catchers. If they find the right signal-caller, then this team could be sneaky good.

Prediction: Slight lean to the over at this price.

Sun Belt West

Arkansas State (Over 5 EVEN...Under 5 -120)

Non-Conference Games: Grambling, at Ohio State, at Memphis, UMass
Schedule Notes: The Red Wolves have five of their first eight on the road, including the tough trips to Memphis and Ohio State. Three of their final four are at home, including winnable games against South Alabama and UMass.
QB: James Blackman
Roster Notes: With Layne Hatcher departing for Texas State, it's now Blackman's job to lose. He had eight touchdown passes to four interceptions in his limited playing time. Last year's leading rusher and receiver are gone, but there's depth behind both of them. There also are massive question marks up front. The defense has five returning starters, but they allowed 505.9 yards per game in 2021, better only than Duke. The team's three leading tacklers and a pretty solid kicker departed, so there's a lot to wonder about with this team.

Prediction: Solid number, as I came up with five.

Louisiana (Over 8.5 -120...Under 8.5 EVEN)

Non-Conference Games: SE Louisiana, Eastern Michigan, at Rice, at Florida State
Schedule Notes: Louisiana has an opportunity to run off some wins early with a couple of easy games early. For some reason, they scheduled FSU on the road on Nov. 19, but it's sandwiched between Georgia Southern and Texas State. Their toughest road Sun Belt contest is at Marshall on Oct. 12.
QB Battle: Chandler Fields vs. Fresno State transfer Ben Wooldridge
Roster Notes: The QB battle to replace three-year starter Levi Lewis figures to be a hot topic. Fields went 9-for-13 in mop-up time last season, while Wooldridge comes over from Fresno State. Whoever is the winner will have a fantastic corps to throw to, with five of the top six receivers returning. Leading rusher Chris Smith will try to approach 1,000 rushing yards after racking up 855 in 2021. The defense has five starters back but a new coordinator in LaMar Morgan, who was the cornerbacks coach at Vanderbilt last season. The top three tacklers are gone.

Prediction: Solid number, as I come up with 8-9 wins.

South Alabama (Over 5.5 -110...under 5.5 -110)

Non-Conference Games: Nicholls, at Central Michigan, at UCLA, Louisiana Tech
Schedule Notes: The Jaguars have three of their first five on the road. There's also a stretch of three of four on the road beginning in late October with a trip to Jonesboro to play Arkansas State. Troy comes to Mobile on Oct. 20, just five days after they host ULM.
QB Battle: Toledo transfer Carter Bradley vs. Desmond Trotter
Roster Notes: Trotter got some work last year for South Alabama, but there's some intrigue around Bradley who comes from the MAC. Jalen Tolbert went to the pros, but the rest of the wide receiver room is filled with veterans. There are eight starters back on defense, and the focus will be on a strong defensive line that has a ton of depth. South Alabama's secondary has had its issues, but they added a pair of transfers from Ole Miss and Kansas State.

Prediction: Once again solid number, as I come up with 5-6 wins.

Southern Miss (Over 5 -125...Under 5 +105)

Non-Conference Games: Liberty, at Miami, Northwestern State, at Tulane
Schedule Notes: The Goldean Eagles have an interesting mix of non-conference opponents with some interesting road trips. They travel to Troy and Coastal Carolina while hosting Louisiana and Georgia State.
QB: Ty Keyes
Roster Notes: Quarterback health will be imperative, as they played the most signal-callers in college football and ended the season with running backs Frank Gore Jr. and Antavious Willis getting snaps as Wildcat options. Keyes had more interceptions than touchdown passes, but reports say he had a good spring. Gore and Willis are back, but they'll get to play their normal running back position. The top three wide receivers are back and led by Jason Brownlee. The defense has seven starters returning, but most of them aren't up front. The secondary should be very strong though.

Prediction: Lean to the over. A healthy QB situation makes a huge difference.

Texas State (Over 4.5 -135...Under 4.5 +115)

Non-Conference Games: at Nevada, FIU, at Baylor, Houston Baptist
Schedule Notes: The Bobcats alternate road and home games until Nov. 12. Traveling to Nevada and Baylor early will be tough. They get Appalachian State and Louisiana at home in Sun Belt play while heading to Troy and James Madison.
QB: Arkansas State transfer Layne Hatcher
Roster Notes: The quarterback play is getting a major upgrade with Hatcher under center. Brady McBride and Tyler Vitt combined for 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Hatcher did have a little bit of an interception problem last year with 13, but I suspect there will be improvement. Calvin Hill and Jahmyl Jeter lead the running backs, while a ton of receivers with a reception return. The defense will be a question mark with five starters returning as well as 10 transfers.

Prediction: I could make a case for the under, but I'll pass on this overall.

Troy (Over 6.5 -110...Under 6.5 -110)

Non-Conference Games: at Ole Miss, Alabama A&M, at WKU, Army
Schedule Notes: The Trojans alternate road and home contests for the first month of the season. There's also a pair of back-to-back home sets. The conference schedule is manageable, although there are road trips to Appalachian State and Louisiana.
QB: Gunnar Watson
Roster Notes: First-time head coach Jon Sumrall comes over from Kentucky and figures to be a solid influence on the defense that has nine starters back including eight of their top nine tacklers. This could be the best defense in the Sun Belt if things break the right way. The offense also has a lot of continuity outside of learning a new system with Joe Craddock as the OC. Watson was alright as signal-caller last year, but Taylor Powell was there to back him up. Powell is now at Eastern Michigan, so it's important Watson keeps the turnovers down.

Prediction: Lean to the over here slightly.

ULM (Over 2.5 -125...Under 2.5 +105)

Non-Conference Games: at Texas, Nicholls, at Alabama, at Army
Schedule Notes: Five of their first eight are on the road, with two of the home games being against Louisiana and Coastal Carolina. There's not really an easy stretch to this schedule for the Warhawks.
QB: Chandler Rogers
Roster Notes: There are nine quarterbacks on the roster, but it looks like Rogers will take the snaps after having nine touchdowns to three interceptions last season. He's one of eight returning offensive starters. The run game should be pretty solid, with the majority of the wide receiver room returning. However, the defense could have a massive issue with just four starters back from a unit that was pretty bad last year.

Prediction: Very solid number, as I came up with 2-3 wins. 

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.