The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (7-6) will face off against the Tulane Green Wave (6-6) in the 2018 Cure Bowl. Kickoff is set for 12:30 EST on Saturday, December 15th at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Oddsmakers opened up the game at Tulane -4, but that has dropped down to -3.5. The total was set at 59 and is still there at most books, but some have it down to 58.5.
Cure Bowl Odds, Free Pick & Betting Line: Tulane vs UL Lafayette
The Green Wave had to scratch and crawl their way to bowl eligibility after a 2-5 start to the year. It all came down to their final game of the regular-season at Navy. It couldn’t have looked any better early, as Tulane took a 21-3 lead into the half. Then things took a drastic turn for the worse, as the Midshipmen led 28-21 with less than 4 minutes to play. Tulane went 71 yards on 7 plays for what looked like the game-tying touchdown, but the Green Wave elected to go for two and converted for the 29-28 victory.
Despite the near postseason miss, the Green Wave finished in a 3-way tie for the top spot in the West Division at 5-3. That’s more wins in league play than Tulane had in each of Fritz’ first two years combined (4-12). This will be the first time that Fritz has taken Tulane or any team to a bowl game.
There had to be some serious concerns when the Ragin’ Cajuns opened up Sun Belt play with a home loss to Coastal Carolina, but Lafayette went on to finish 5-3 in league play and earn a spot in the first Sun Belt title game. They would come up short in a 30-19 loss at Appalachian State, but not bad for a team that very few were picking to win the West Division.
All of this came in the first year under new head coach Billy Napier, who spent 6 years on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama (WR coach) prior to being the associate head coach at Arizona State last year. While he’s been apart of several bowl games as an assistant, this will be his first go of it as the main guy in charge.
Cure Bowl Predictions Against Vegas Betting Lines: OVER 59
My early lean here would be to take the OVER 59 in this one. I just think the matchup here is going to present quite a bit of scoring opportunities. I know it’s been a couple years, but last time these two teams played (9/24/2016), Tulane won the game 41-39 for a combined 80 points and that contest only had a total of 47. I’m not saying they hit 80 again, but I think we get that kind of game where both teams are putting up a big number.
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Let’s look at the Tulane offense against the Lafayette defense. First things first, the Ragin’ Cajuns are giving up 35.7 ppg and 439 ypg away from home.
The Green Wave come finished 30th in the nation in rushing at 208.3 ypg. They should have zero problem establishing the running game against the Ragin’ Cajuns, who give up 208 ypg and 5.1 yards/carry.
While the Mean Green passing attack only averaged 186 ypg (103rd), they showcased it a little more down the stretch, throwing for 372 yards against East Carolina and 291 in the finale against Navy. Lafayette allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 67% of their attempts against them on the road with a ridiculous 10.1 yards/pass attempt.
As for the Ragin’ Cajuns offense, it’s what carried them this season. Lafayette averaged 32.5 ppg and 437 ypg with an impressive 6.7 yards/play. Tulane’s defense was pretty good on their home field, but they allowed 32.8 ppg and 452 ypg on the road. The Ragin’ Cajuns averages 229 rushing yards/game and 5.7 yards/carry. They also completed 65% of their pass attempts for 208 ypg and 8.4 yards/attempt.
They did all that despite scoring fewer than 20 points in 5 road games against Mississippi State, Alabama, Troy and Appalachian State (twice). I think most are aware of how good the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide are defensively. The Trojans were 29th in total defense and Appalachian State was 6th. Tulane is 81st. Give me the OVER 59!