Old Dominion Monarchs (0-0) at Liberty Flames (0-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 1, 2018, 6:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Liberty Flames +5.5 -- Over/Under: 69.5
The Liberty Flames begin life in the FBS when the Old Dominion Monarchs visit to kick off the 2018 college football campaign.
The youthful Old Dominion Monarchs finished 2017 at 5-7 which wasn’t too bad considering the team lacked experience and were outscored 32-21. The Monarchs get back quarterback Steven Williams who took over the starting job halfway through 2017 and threw for over 1,500 yards. With the return of WR Jonathan Duhart the ODU passing attack has potential with Travis Fulgham and Isaiah Harper being productive in 2017.
ODU loses top rusher Ray Lawry so Jeremy Cox will assume the top spot at running back and he has the luxury of plying his wares behind a veteran offensive line that features the return of four starters. Old Dominion is hoping a year of playing together is a positive for the defense that should be improved but depth in the secondary is a question.
The Liberty Flames were 6-5 a year ago and knocked off Baylor so the team enters their first season in the FBS knowing they can compete. Liberty outscored opponents 33-30 behind the passing of Buckshot Calvert who threw for 3,363 yards and 29 scores. Antonio Gandy-Golden was the Flames top receiver with 1,066 yards on 69 catches but the passing attack has several options.
Liberty lacks experience at running back with Frankie Hickson the only back with experience while Frank Boyd is a name to look for. The Flames have depth and experience along the offensive line with four starters back. The Flames defense struggled late against the run and the success of this team will hinge on at least controlling opposing rushing attacks.
Under is 5-1 in Old Dominion last 6 non-conference games and Old Dominion are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 non-conference games and Old Dominion are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games in September. Liberty are 12-1 ATS in their last 13 games overall and are 12-1 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games and are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games on fieldturf.
Old Dominion looks improved and even though the Monarchs are on the road this is a game that has to be won for a successful season…