This Saturday the Appalachian State Mountaineers (9-2) will host the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns in the 2018 Sun Belt Championship Game. Kickoff is set for 12:00 EST at Kidd Brewer Stadium and will be televised on ESPN.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Mountaineers as a 17.5-point favorite, but early action has been on the Mountaineers and the line is now App State -18.5 with a total of 59. Click here for a full betting schedule and for more links to our individual game previews.
Appalachian State vs Louisiana-Lafayette Vegas Preview
The Ragin’ Cajuns went into their regular-season finale needing to win on the road over in-state rival ULM and did just that. Lafayette jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter and would hold on for a 31-28 victory to secure a spot in the title game. The Ragin’ Cajuns were a profitable team to back down the stretch, as they covered 7 of their final 9 games.
The Mountaineers also had a division title on the line in their final game and it was a winner-take all showdown with Troy, who came into the game a perfect 7-0 in league play. Appalachian State scored 21 points in the first 20 minutes to take a 21-0 lead. They wouldn’t score again, but the defense limited the Trojans to just 10 points. While the were just 3-3 ATS in their final 6 games, they covered their first 5 games to go 8-3 against the number.
This will be a rematch, as these two teams played at this exact stadium back on Oct. 20th. That game was also played on the Mountaineers home field. Appalachian State won the game 27-17, but it was the Ragin’ Cajuns who easily covered as a 26-point dog.
Free NCAAF Betting Pick & Predictions: Appalachian State -18.5
My early lean here is going to be on the Mountaineers to cash in as a big home favorite. I think for a lot of people that handicap this game, they are going to see how close the first game was and be quick to jump on the Ragin’ Cajuns. I just think that first go around is a bit misleading.
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You have to keep in mind that no one was picking Lafayette to win the West. In fact, just about everyone was picking Arkansas State or ULM. When these two teams met in the regular season it was a really tough spot for Appalachian State. They were coming off a a huge road win over Arkansas State and had a massive showdown at Georgia Southern on deck in a matter of just 5 days. I just don’t think they took the Ragin’ Cajuns all that seriously and they were up 17-points before Lafayette added a garbage TD in the final minutes.
This time around Appalachian State is going to be 100% locked in and I just think that there’s a big enough gap in talent that a focused and motivated Mountaineers team, especially at home, will have no problem winning here by at least 20 points.
Offensively these two teams are pretty similar, as both have made a living with their running game. The big difference is the two defenses. Appalachian State is giving up just 15.4 ppg and 278 ypg games (only 4.3 yards/play). Lafayette isn’t even close to that. The Ragin’ Cajuns come in allowing 34.0 ppg and 443 ypg (6.5 yards/play).
If you remember back to last year, these two teams played on Dec. 2nd with Appalachian State needing a win to secure at least a tie of the Sun Belt regular-season title and they annihilated Lafayette 63-14 on their home field as a mere 14-point favorite. You also can’t ignore the fact that the books had the Mountaineers as a 26-point favorite the first time around. I get that line was probably a few points high, but I think they have over-adjusted. Give me Appalachian State -18.5!