Liberty Flames host the Akron Zips this Saturday in Lynchburg, VA where the Flames look to go 2-0 at home and 3-1 for the season. Akron on the other hand will look to perform better on both sides of the ball after getting demolished the L2 games.
The matchup between the two programs will be the second time in their history. Akron leads the series 1-0 dating back to 2002, where Akron defeated Liberty 49-21. The Flames have been dominate since entering the FBS, as Akron has 6 seasons above .500 since 2000.
Liberty Flames Preview
The Flames almost pulled off up the huge upset at Wake Forest this past Saturday. Falling short 36-37 after not converting the game winning two-point conversion, the Flames are 2-1 entering this Saturday.
Liberty’s biggest concern during the season was the QB position. After the Southern Miss game, that answer was Kaidon Salter. Salter has reminded Flames Fans a little bit of the Malik Willis days. During the WF game, Salter displayed a bit of his youth with mistakes, but rallied the troops in the second half. WR Demario Douglas has been a reliable go-to wideout leading the team in 5/6 categories.
The defense might have not displayed its best last Saturday, but picked off QB Sam Hartman two times. Though the Flames are great at takeaways with 11 through three games, they have been vital for Liberty’s success.
Akron Zips Preview
The Zips maybe on their Twitter account “locked in”, but that has not fared them well this season. Akron sits with a 1-2 record and could have been 0-3 facing Liberty. Currently during the two-game losing streak, the Zips have been outscored 115-6 on the road. Yes, both loses were to ranked powerhouses (Michigan St. & Tennessee), so facing Liberty should give the Zips some relief.
The Zips have been miserable running the ball this season only averaging 51.7 yards per game. Akron’s passing attack is not any better to offset the ground game. The highlight of the offense is WR Shocky Jacques-Louis, who transferred from Pitt, leads the team in catches, yards, and yards receiving per game.
If Akron’s defense tells you one thing, it is that you can get whatever you want, no matter what. This defensive unit is atrocious allowing 541 yards per game. You cannot blame just one side because it is both allowing 312 yards passing and 229 yards rushing.
Akron Zips v. Liberty Flames Odds (DraftKings)
- ATS: Liberty (-26.5)/Akron (+26.5)
- O/U: 53.5
- ML: Liberty (-2800)/Akron (+1300)
- FPI: 96.9% Liberty
Liberty: 2-1 ATS, 2-1 O/U, 2-1 SU
Akron: 0-3 ATS, 2-1 O/U, 1-2 SU
Prediction: Liberty Flames (-6.5) 1Q (-138)
I am leaning towards this 1Q bet for the fact of injury news regarding starting QB Kaidon Salter. The status right now is that Salter will NOT play and means backup QB Johnathan Bennett should get the start.
After seeing Bennett appear in two games this season, I am hesitant on laying the almost four touchdown spread. The offense under Bennett has struggled to find consistency. This season, Bennett is 7 of 21 passing for 37 yards and 3 interceptions, but has rushed 12 times for 37 yards and 1 touchdown.
Akron should not keep this close whoever is under center for the Flames, but I like this 1Q quick bet for the Flames. I see Liberty either 7-0 or 10-0 to start the game. Akron is 1-19 Overall, 8-12 ATS, and 11-9 O/U in games where they are on the road as underdogs the L20.
Start fast, go Flames!