In a Tuesday night Sun Belt special, the Arkansas State Red Wolves (3-3) will host the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (2-3). Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 EST at Centennial Bank Stadium and will be televised on ESPN2. Taking a look at the Week 8 NCAAF betting lines, oddsmakers have Arkansas State listed as a 8-point home favorite over Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Red Wolves come into this one off a 49-31 win at South Alabama last Tuesday as a 3.5-point favorite, improving them to 2-0 inside conference play. The Ragin’ Cajuns also come into this contest off a win, as they destroyed Texas State 49-27 as a 4-point home favorite last time out in their conference opener.
Louisiana-Lafayette won last year’s matchup 55-40 as a 3-point home dog. It was their second straight win in the series, as they also won 23-7 at Arkansas State in 2013.
Early Lean on Louisiana-Lafayette +8
Considering the public won last week on Arkansas State as 3.5-point road favorite last Tuesday, I think we are seeing the books inflate this line with the expectation that the public will be back on the Red Wolves. The thing to keep in mind with Arkansas State’s 18-point victory against South Alabama, is that was a much closer game than the final score would indicate. The Red Wolves actually trailed 20-31 early in the 4th quarter. They scored a touchdown to make it 28-31, before the Jaguars turned it over on 3 straight possessions, resulting in 21 points for Arkansas State.
This team could have very easily lost the game outright and had they we would be looking at a much smaller spread in this game. I know they didn’t have starting quarterback Fredi Knighten in their previous 3 games before he returned last week, but I have a lot of concern with this team only beating Idaho by 14-points at home.
Louisiana-Lafayette comes in with a losing record at 2-3, but all 3 losses are respectable. The Ragin’ Cajuns lost to at Kentucky (33-40) at home to Akron (14-35) and at Louisiana Tech (14-43). While the offense struggled to show up in a couple of those games, I don’t think they will have much trouble moving the ball here against the Red Wolves. Arkansas State is giving up 32.0 ppg against teams that combine to average just 24.3 ppg. What really stands out is the 35 points they gave up to Idaho and 31 to South Alabama. Idaho has the 83rd ranked offense in the country and South Alabama has the 92nd. Despite the tough schedule, Louisiana-Lafayette comes in ranked 44th in the country in total offense at 433.6 ypg.
Arkansas State is giving up 32.0 ppg against teams that combine to average just 24.3 ppg. What really stands out is the 35 points they gave up to Idaho and 31 to South Alabama. Idaho has the 83rd ranked offense in the country and South Alabama has the 92nd.
I’ll admit I wasn’t big on Lafayette coming into the year with the loss of their 2nd All-time leading passer in Terrance Broadway, who was an explosive dual-threat quarterback. Things didn’t look good early with Brooks Haack as the starter, but he’s since been replaced by Jalen Nixon. In his last start against Texas State, Nixon completed 22 of 29 passes for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 128 yards and 3 scores on just 26 attempts. With Arkansas State having to pay extra attention to the Ragin’ Cajuns rushing attack led by Elijah McGuire (585 yards, 7 TDs, 6.0 ypc), Nixon should be able to create some big plays in the passing game against the Red Wolves’ 69th ranked pass defense (230.2 ypg).
This line states that Arkansas State is the much better team, but watching these two teams play and looking at the numbers, I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think this line is a solid 3 to 4 points higher than what it should be and I don’t think it’s out of the question that the Ragin’ Cajuns win here out, especially considering they have won each of the last 2 meetings.