Arkansas State Louisiana Lafayette Odds
Posted by Ryan James
The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns come into this game with a 4-2 overall record, and a 2-0 record in Sun Belt play. After opening the season with back-to-back losses they have since won four consecutive games, covering the spread in three of those four matchups. The Ragin’ Cajuns currently site atop first place in the conference standings, but Arkansas State is just one game behind them so both teams are playing in what feels like a must-win situation. The Red Wolves come into this game with a 3-3 overall record, and a 1-0 record in conference play. All three of their losses have come on the road, and they own a 2-1 ATS record when playing at home.
Kick-off takes place on Tuesday, October 22nd at 8:00 PM ET. Television coverage for this Sun Belt Conference showdown is being provided by ESPN2. Oddsmakers have Louisiana-Lafayette improving to 5-2 on the season, listing them as 2.5-point favorites over the Red Wolves.
Why Louisiana-Lafayette Covers
The Ragin’ Cajuns are averaging an impressive 38.5-points per game this season. Their ground attack has proved difficult to stop, gaining 223 yards per game on five yards per carry. They are definitely a run biased team, but they can also burn opponents through the air. They have completed just shy of 65% of their pass attempts for 217 passing yards per game. They face a Red Wolves secondary that has given up 246 passing yards per game, and a whopping 440 yards per game of total offense. The Red Wolves run defense has also been soft. They have allowed 5.1 yards per carry and a total of 194 rushing yards per game.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 road games.
The Ragin Cajuns defense matches up well with Arkansas State. The Red Wolves are a very run-biased team, averaging 43 carries per game to just 34 pass attempts. Louisiana-Lafayette has been decent against the run, holding opponents to 4.5 yards per carry this season. That includes matchups against solid running teams like Kansas State and Western Kentucky. I don’t think the Red Wolves are as talented as either of those opponents, so there is definitely a good chance for the Cajuns to improve on the defensive numbers against the run.
Why Arkansas State Covers
The Red Wolves offense has played great at home this year. They are averaging 50.3 points per game, a full 19 point boost over their typical scoring average of 31 points per game. That tells me this home crowd really gets behind their team. The defense has also played well at home, holding opponents to 23 points per game. It is no secret that their home games have come against soft opponents, but that does not change the fact that they are exceeding oddsmakers expectations in those games. The Red Wolves are 2-1 ATS at home, and would be 3-0 of not for a ridiculously large line in their game last week against Idaho.
The Red Wolves are 13-1 ATS in their last 16 games against conference opponents.
The Red Wolves greatest strength on defense is their secondary. They have given up a lot of yardage, but have played great passing teams like Auburn and Missouri that make them look worse statistically than they actually are. The reality is simple. Arkansas State is allowing a mere 56.2% completion rate this season. When playing at home they have limited opponents to just 2.8 yards per carry, a substantial improvement over their 5.1 yards per carry allowed overall. The Ragin’ Cajuns have relied heavily on their ability to run the ball well in order to open up the passing game. With this defense playing at another level in home games, it will be difficult for Louisiana-Lafayette to match their big offensive numbers on the season this week.
Louisiana-Lafayette is one of the most undervalued teams in the Sun Belt conference. I don’t expect home field to provide much of a boost to the Red Wolves because, after all, this is the Sun Belt conference. The better team wins, and wins big so lay the points with the Ragin’ Cajuns.