Sun Belt Football Odds: Troy Returns to Favorite Status

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Troy head coach Jon Sumrall reacts during the first half an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. Troy opens their season at home against Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 2.
(AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Oct 14, 2023, 9:05 AM
  • Sun Belt championship odds are currently available at BetMGM.
  • James Madison is ineligible to win the Sun Belt in 2023.

We can’t let the SEC have all the fun.

College football odds are available 24/7 at the BetMGM online sportsbook, and many bettors head there with specific P5 targets in mind.

Personally, I like to carve out a little time every season to spend with one of my favorite conferences at any level of college football: the Sun Belt.

Following the four new additions from 2022, the Sun Belt has evolved from a conference on the rise to the true model for fun, competent G5 football. Its two divisions make geographic sense and are deeply competitive. 

In the East, old-guard FCS powerhouses like James Madison, Marshall, and Appalachian State compete in a division with true 1-through-7 depth. 

The West gets knocked as a weaker division because it’s not as deep, but fans of Sun Belt West teams are happy to remind everyone on the East Coast that an Eastern team hasn’t won the Sun Belt championship since 2019. 

Sun Belt Championship Odds

TeamCurrent OddsSummer Odds
Troy 325310
Marshall500700
Georgia Southern500900
South Alabama600300
Louisiana7001600
Georgia State8003000
Appalachian State1000700
Texas State11008000
Coastal Carolina4000600
Old Dominion500015000
Arkansas State100006000
Southern Miss200002000
Louisiana-Monroe2500015000

James Madison Football Eligibility

James Madison “won” the East in 2022 with the best record after demolishing Coastal Carolina in its regular-season finale, 47-7. However, the Sun Belt’s official position is that division winners only exist in the context of setting up a championship game, so James Madison won’t actually be eligible to formally win the East until 2024.

This season, JMU is the last remaining undefeated team in the Sun Belt and has dealt early losses to the top two preseason favorites, Troy and South Alabama. But JMU does not appear in the championship odds for the same reason. As of this writing, JMU will only be eligible for a bowl game this season if they reach six wins and there are not enough other eligible teams to fill all the bowl slots. 

Sun Belt Football Sleepers: Watch Out for App State

Right before this season started, I had college football magazine extraordinaire Phil Steele on my handicapping podcast, The Lion’s Edge, and he was bullish on App State’s prospects this year as a possible contender in the Sun Belt East.

“Expectations are pretty low for App State this year,” Steele said. “But when I talked to Coach [Shawn] Clark, he said, ‘You know what? I’m happy I’m the coach of this team because I know we’re going to get this thing corrected.’”

App State was only 6-6 last year, but they do bring seven starters back on offense this year. Steele believes the offense will get back to a more run-focused identity this year, which will serve the Mountaineers well.

“The last two years, they’ve gone with Chase Brice [at quarterback] and tried to throw the ball a bit more,” Steele said. “Now, they’re going back to their wheelhouse. Their quarterbacks are Ryan Burger, Joey Aguilar, Mason McHugh – these are running quarterbacks. Remember: App State, at its best, ran the football with the quarterback. That’s what they’re going to do. They’ve got [running back] Nate Noel back, too.” 

The schedule is also cause for optimism.

“The only games I have them as an underdog are at North Carolina, at Wyoming, and at James Madison,” Steele said. “This is a team that didn’t even make a bowl last year. But I think they’re maybe even capable of getting to double-digit wins this year.”


Steele has App State at No. 3 in his magazine’s Most Improved list for 2023, right behind No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 1 Texas A&M. By the end of September, App State had risen to No. 2 in the table. 

The list also includes Georgia Southern (+900) and Louisiana (+1600).

College Football Podcast: Want More CFB, Odds Analysis?

If you like this sort of content, or you want to hear the rest of my conversation with Phil Steele, then I’d recommend checking out my podcast, The Lion’s Edge.

Every week, I highlight odds and bets that I think are interesting or ripe for advantage bettors like me. I also bring on expert guests from both inside and outside of the sportsbook so that you can learn a little bit more about key topics in online sports betting.

Check it out and subscribe on the podcast player of your choice. You can also listen to the most recent episodes in the podcast player below.

How To Bet on College Football Odds

BetMGM is the premier online sportsbook for updated college football odds throughout the year. And it’s never been easier to place a bet.

Whether you’re looking for futures like national championship odds or weekly betting like spreads, moneylines, and over/under totals, there’s something for everyone.

Sign in to your account today — or, if you don’t have an account, sign up today with a sportsbook welcome offer — to start betting. And always check your new account for updated sportsbook promos and bonuses.

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.