The Southern University Jaguars and Alabama State Hornets meet in a Southwestern Athletic Conference crossover matchup on Friday. The game kicks off the FCS spring schedule for both teams. Southern (8-5, 6-1 in 2019) has won four in a row in the series, including a 64-6 triumph in 2016, the last time the schools met. Alabama State (5-6, 4-3) is looking for its second season-opening win over the past three seasons. The Hornets beat Tuskegee in 2018 before falling to UAB last year.
Kickoff from ASU Stadium in Montgomery, Ala., is set for 7 p.m. ET. Southern University leads the all-time series 28-12. The Jaguars are seven-point favorites in the latest Southern University vs. Alabama State odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 51.5. Before making your Alabama State vs. Southern University picks, you'll want to see the latest college football predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's Emory Hunt.
Hunt is the founder and CEO of Football Gameplan, which has been supplying analysis of all levels of football since 2007, and a former running back at Louisiana-Lafayette. He knows the game from a player's perspective, and is a specialist when it comes to picking all levels of college football. He enjoyed a dominant 2019 season, going 116-79 against the spread while returning nearly $3,000 to $100 bettors.
- Southern University vs. Alabama State spread: Southern -7
- Southern University vs. Alabama State over-under: 51.5 points
- Southern University vs. Alabama State money line: Southern University -290, Alabama State +235
- SU: The Jaguars averaged 228.6 rushing yards per game last season
- ASU: Long snapper Luke Barnes was named to the Special Teams U All-American selection watch list, one of five FCS players to earn the honor
Why Southern University can cover
The Jaguars return their third-leading receiver in senior wideeout Jamar Washington, who caught 25 passes for 341 yards (13.6 average) and two touchdowns last season. He also rushed 26 times for 197 yards (7.6 average) and three TDs. He caught at least two passes in nine of 12 games, including a five-catch, 109-yard and one touchdown performance against Florida A&M. He also rushed for one TD and caught a touchdown pass against Texas Southern, finishing with 91 all-purpose yards.
Defensively, Southern returns its second-leading tackler in redshirt senior linebacker Caleb Carter. He played in all 13 games in 2019, finishing with 81 tackles, including a team-leading 44 solo. He also registered 4 1/2 tackles for loss for 20 yards, recorded one sack, six quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. In 2018, he played in all 11 games for the Jaguars, recording 38 tackles, one sack, one interception, two quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery.
Why Alabama State can cover
The Hornets also return some offensive pop, led by senior running back Ezra Gray. Gray led Alabama State in rushing in 2019, carrying 157 times for 654 yards (4.2 average) and two touchdowns. He reached 1,000 career rushing yards against Alabama A&M at the Magic City Classic and averaged a team-high 59.45 yards per game on the ground.
Explosive wide receiver Michael Jefferson also returns. In 11 games, he made 49 receptions for 767 yards (15.6 average) and 12 touchdowns. Jefferson, who had a season-long 82-yard reception, hauled in three TD receptions against both Tuskegee and Texas Southern. He hauled in a season-high eight receptions for 81 yards against Grambling State.
How to make Alabama State vs. Southern picks
Hunt has studied the matchup and found a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Southern vs. Alabama State? And what crucial X-factor causes one side to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over, all from the proven expert who specializes in picking all levels of college football.