Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

The Thursday card once again features a Sun Belt Conference matchup in college football along with games in the American League and National League Championship Series.

Houston staved off elimination on Wednesday with their 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay. The Astros remain trailing in this series by a 3-1 mark.  Dusty Baker has named Luis Garcia as his starting pitcher for Game 4, as the grind from playing games without rest in the San Diego bubble has taken its toll on the pitching staff.  Garcia has yet to make an appearance after pitching in five games with one start in the regular season. Rays’ manager Kevin Cash has also decided to deploy an "opener," with Game 4 being a bullpen game, so John Curtiss will be the first to get the ball for the Rays.  Tampa is currently favored -135 at BetAnySports, with a total of 9.5 runs.

San Diego's Petco Park hosts the ALCS. The Astros are the designated home team for Game 5.  TBS has the broadcast with the first pitch scheduled for 5:07 PM ET.

Los Angeles won their first game in the NLDS on Wednesday with their 15-3 blowout victory over Atlanta. The Dodgers still trail in this series by a 2-1 margin. Manager Dave Roberts has announced that Clayton Kershaw will be the starting pitcher after being scratched from starting Game 2 on Tuesday. The left-hander was 6-2 in the regular season in ten starts with a 2.16 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP.

The Braves will counter with Bryse Wilson, who will be making his first appearance in the postseason. The 22-year old right-hander had a 1-0 record in the regular season with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP in 15 2/3 innings consisting of six games, including two starts.

Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, hosts the NLDS. Atlanta is the designated home team that will bat last. BetAnySports has Los Angeles as a -210 moneyline favorite with the total set at 9. Fox and FS1 will both broadcast the game with the first pitch at 8:08 PM ET.

The Thursday night college football game on ESPN features two teams from the Sun Belt Conference with .500 records looking for their first win in conference play.

Georgia State is 1-1 on the season after upsetting East Carolina on October 3rd by a 49-29 score as a 2-point underdog. The Panthers dominated that game by outgaining the Pirates by 199 yards while holding them to just 286 yards. Georgia State scored a special teams touchdown from a blocked punt, and they scored a defensive touchdown on a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Panthers gave up a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown as well.

Georgia State opened their season with a 34-31 overtime loss at home to Louisiana-Lafayette on September 19th. The Panthers then had their game the next week with Charlotte canceled because of COVID tests that were later determined to be false positives.  This game is their first on the road this season.

Arkansas State plays their second home game of the season after a successful debut last week, where they defeated Central Arkansas by a 50-27 score. The Red Wolves opened their season with a 37-24 loss at Memphis on September 5th before they pulled off a 35-31 upset victory at Kansas State as a 15-point underdog. They had to wait three weeks before playing their next game at Coastal Carolina, where they were stung by a 52-23 score despite being a 3.5-point favorite. Arkansas State returned 15 starters from the team that finished 8-5 last year while reaching a bowl game for the ninth straight season.

BetAnySports lists Arkansas State as a 3-point favorite with the total set at 72. The ESPN broadcast begins at 7:30 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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