The Sun Belt East is one of the best divisions at the Group of Five level, which makes for plenty of competitive and compelling games. It also means a few unlucky teams must finish toward the bottom of the division.
College football betting odds suggest Georgia State might be one of the Sun Belt East “cellar dwellers” in 2023, as the Panthers’ win total at BetMGM is set at 5.5 with +125 odds for over 5.5 wins and -150 odds for under 5.5 wins.
Georgia State went 4-8 a season ago, but head coach Shawn Elliott has done a decent job leading the Panthers. He’s 34-38 as the program’s head coach, but a 2-10 season dramatically hampers his overall record. He’s posted a winning record in four of his six seasons leading the program.
Place College Football Wagers at BetMGM!
To reach six wins in 2023, Georgia State will need to answer a few defensive questions after a rough 2022 campaign. The Panthers had the third-highest scoring offense during Sun Belt Conference games, behind only James Madison and Appalachian State, but their defense was the third-worst scoring defense during conference games.
Former Coastal Carolina defensive coordinator Chad Staggs takes over as Georgia State’s defensive coordinator. Staggs knows the Sun Belt East well and should quickly give his players a good idea of what to expect from Sun Belt East offenses. At the same time, Coastal Carolina’s defense wasn’t elite last season, so Staggs has something to prove as he joins the Panthers.
Staggs will work with a talented group of defenders that includes Power Five transfers like Kevin Swint (Clemson) and Shamar McCollum (Wake Forest). There’s potential for the Panthers to make significant defensive improvement in 2023.
Offensively, Georgia State returns quarterback Darren Grainger, who can threaten defenses with his arm and legs. Despite losing wide receiver Jamari Thrash to the transfer portal, Georgia State’s offense has playmakers to complement Grainger, including returning wide receiver Robert Lewis.
It’s arguably easier to convince yourself to take the over on Georgia State’s win total than it is to take the under. Sure, the program and team have question marks, and the Panthers might not have some of the top-end talent of other East contenders, but they have promise.
Georgia State also has a manageable schedule. The Panthers open with Rhode Island, UConn, and Charlotte. Those aren’t all guaranteed wins, but Georgia State could certainly start 3-0. Georgia State faces Troy, Marshall, JMU, and App State at home, boosting the Panthers’ chances of winning those challenging contests. A road game at LSU feels like a likely loss, but otherwise, Georgia State should stand a chance in the other 11 games.
In last year’s 4-8 season, Georgia State had a seven-point loss to North Carolina. The Panthers lost by one point to Charlotte, two points to JMU, three points to ULM, and five points to Marshall. A few plays here and there could’ve easily resulted in Georgia State reaching six wins.
With some key returners and better luck in close games, Georgia State has the ability to return to a bowl game.