So according to 5Dimes, everyone's O/U line in the Sun Belt is separated into two tiers. In one tier, you have the 7 to 8 win bunch. In the other tier, you have the 3-4 win bunch. And frankly, damn near anyone outside of maybe 3-4 teams could go anywhere from 3-9 to 7-5.
Of course, Vegas does not care about its math making sense to you; it only cares about taking your money. We'll try and help you keep some of it.
Appalachian State 8.5: Yes, this is a high line to take the over on. But they return almost their entire defense, all of their offensive playmakers, and a moderately experienced o-line from last year's turnaround. And the schedule is stacked in their favor: Georgia Southern and 2014 victims stAte and ULL all come to Boone, they avoid Texas State, and their toughest conference road game is at Monroe or Mobile, depending on who you ask. Cue the Karl Benson east coast bias conspiracy theories.
Arkansas State 7: All of their offensive playmakers are back and their only real defensive turnover is in the secondary. If they can stay healthy, especially on defense, A-State is about to be back with a vengeance. Although with last year's freakish run of defensive injuries, maybe you should bet a tractor on 'em instead of the whole farm. Or bet a plate of CBG's delicious poutine.
South Alabama 3.5: Erm...was Vegas asleep when all those talented UAB transfers shipped out to Mobile? Sure, USA is likely to regress a bit without Brandon Bridge and with major turnover on the offensive line and defensive front seven, but the Jags have a deceptively athletic team. Their schedule is absolutely brutal, but four wins still seems like worst case scenario. Also JOEY JONES WILL COVER YOUR WORLD IN BLOOD.
Idaho 3.5: Bill Connelly seems to be high on Idaho (relatively speaking), and three wins isn't a totally unreasonable expectation with Wofford, Ohio, ULM, @Troy, and @NMSU on the schedule. But that's an awfully small margin of error to get on the right side of this line. Until they get consistent play from their quarterback and back seven, I don't trust them to get to four wins.
Georgia State 2.5: Ehhhhh. GSU should have a solid passing game, but the running attack has been consistently awful and likely won't get much better. An experienced but bad defense might not help much. Charlotte and New Mexico State look like reasonably winnable games, but if you trust GSU in Las Cruces, have fun throwing away your money. I don't know that this team would even finish in the top half of the SoCon.
UL Lafayette 8: When your toughest home game is Texas State, whose number you've had for the past two years, you have to like your chances of going 6-0 at home even without Terrence Broadway. Add Elijah McGuire running all over Georgia State and South Alabama on the road and there's your 8 wins. That is unless Hud starts training his pet alligator during the offseason to eat opposing quarterbacks, in which case bet your college savings on ULL going 12-0.
Texas State 7: An easy home schedule, a ridiculously difficult road schedule (minus Idaho), a powerful offense, and a defense losing most of its playmakers but brings in some athletes. Maybe everything goes to plan, or maybe there's the usual bad loss and usual surprising upset. Either way, seven wins (again) looks about right unless the defense somehow manages to get better. Dennis Franchione's nothing if not consistent.
ULM, Troy 4: Give Todd Berry some credit, he's certainly not trying to schedule to keep his job. Five home games out of 13 total and roadies at UGA and 'Bama looks like a suicide mission with that godforsaken offense. They do get Nicholls and NMSU at home as well as winnable games at Hawaii, Troy, Idaho, and Tulsa, so there's room for ULM's nasty defense to pick off a few wins away from Monroe.
I don't know what to make of Troy. Does Neal Brown have any talent to work with? If there are any diamonds in the rough, the Trojans could be a darkhorse for bowl eligibility. If not, well...they should at least be more fun to watch. When in doubt, trust the oddsmakers I guess.
New Mexico State 3: That defense isn't going to scare anyone, but their offense sure did last season--at least in Las Cruces. Home games against Georgia State, Troy, and Idaho as well as roadies at rival New Mexico and ULM are winnable, but they need to learn how to play decent football away from home.
Georgia Southern ??: The playmakers of Fritz's triple option attack are all back, but the offensive line is going to need some time to rebuild. An occasionally passive defense returns quite a bit up front, but the secondary will have some turnover.
That all said, outside of road trips to Morgantown, Athens, and Boone, the schedule is easier than securing a WAC invite (R.I.P. never forget). And would you honestly bet against that coachin' sumbitch Willie Fritz? 8 wins seems like a reasonable line to set for the Eagles, and I personally wouldn't have a problem with taking the over.