Two top teams in the Southern Conference battle at Alumni Memorial Field in Lexington, KY. You can catch the 1:30 p.m. EST Saturday kickoff on ESPN+.
East Tennessee State Bucs Betting Preview: The Challengers
East Tennessee State currently sits in a tie for second place in the Southern Conference, one game back of VMI. The Bucs have won its only other road contest of the spring schedule.
ETSU has put together back-to-back victories in recent weeks, backed by a defense that has surrendered just seven points in the second half of the last two games combined. The Bucs showcase a balanced offense, averaging 158.8 yards per game through the air and 153.8 yards on the ground.
Brock Landis (9-of-21, 60 yards) got his first start at quarterback last week, replacing Tyler Riddell (50-of-82, 575 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs) had started the three previous games. Landis completed just 8-of-16 passes for 55 yards in the victory over Western Carolina.
With a new quarterback under center, ETSU showcased a heavy rushing attack with two running backs eclipsing the 100-yard mark. Quay Holmes carried the ball 30 times for 197 yards with a pair of touchdowns, while Jacob Saylors added 15 rushes for 136 yards.
Virginia Military Institute Keydets Betting Preview: The Unbeatens
The Keydets sit atop the Southern Conference standings with a perfect record and best start to a season since 1960. Regardless of how the remaining spring schedule plays out, VMI is guaranteed their first winning season since 1981.
VMI mounted a 1:03 scoring drive in the final two minutes of last Saturday’s contest to escape with a road victory over Wofford. The Keydets like to move the ball around through the air offensively, averaging 306.4 yards per game. VMI’s defense has given up back-to-back 30+ points to opponents but was strong early on, surrendering only 11.3 points through their first three games.
Starting quarterback Reece Udinski suffered a torn ACL, but Seth Morgan stepped up last week to throw for 375 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Morgan was also the Keydets’ leading rushing with 76 yards on the ground.
Watch out for wide receiver Jakob Herres; the talented pass-catcher has hauled in 48 passes for 583 yards and six touchdowns this season. Korey Bridy is the Keydets leading rusher, carrying the ball 77 times for 313 yards and four touchdowns through four games.
Bucs vs. Keydets Betting Odds & Lines
VMI is a 1.5-point (-110) home favorite to win the matchup, according to BetOnline. The total, according to BetOnline for the Southern Conference bout, is set at 47.5 (-110).
ETSU is getting 1.5 points (-110) as the visitors on BetOnline with a total at 47.5 (-110).
Free Betting Pick
VMI aims to improve its record to 6-0 but will have to do so without their starting quarterback. Morgan stepped up admirably last week in his place and will need to post another strong performance against a tough ETSU defense.
If the Bucs want to leave Virginia with their second road victory of the spring, they will need to stabilize the quarterback position and lean on a strong ground game and aggressive defense. Murphy takes a step back on Saturday, and the ETSU causes two turnovers to aid in the Bucs road victory.