This Friday we got a big time showdown out of Conference USA, as the Marshall Thundering Herd are set to host the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Kickoff is set for 7:00 EST at Joan C. Edwards Stadium and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

Oddsmakers opened up this game with Marshall as a slim 2.5-point home favorite. While most books haven’t moved off the opening number, I do see at least one book that has moved this line down to -2. The total opened at 56.5 and is down slightly to 56.

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Vegas Game Odds & Free Betting Preview: Louisiana Tech vs Marshall

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-1 SU, 6-3 ATS)

The Bulldogs are a perfect 5-0 in C-USA play and have won 8 straight overall since suffering a blowout loss at Texas in their season opener. Not only has Louisiana Tech been winning on the scoreboard, they are a dominant 6-2 ATS during their 8-game winning streak and have covered each of their last 4.

The Bulldogs are in excellent shape to win the West Division and reach the C-USA title game for the first time since 2016. While they are just 1-game in front of Southern Miss, who is 4-1 in league play, they own the head-to-head tie-breaker over the Golden Eagles.

With that said it’s no sure thing, as they have to go at UAB next week and close out the year at home against UTSA. Both of those teams have a winning record at 3-2 in league play.

Marshall Thundering Herd (6-3 SU, 3-6 ATS)

The Thundering Herd also enter on a winning streak, as they have won four straight. The most recent a 20-7 victory at Rice, where they covered as a 11.5-point favorite. That was a rare cover, as Marshall is a mere 3-6 ATS on the season and just 2-5 ATS over their last 7.

While the Thundering Herd aren’t quite in as good a shape as LA Tech in terms of getting to the C-USA title game, they do control their own destiny. FAU sits on top the East standings at 5-1, but Marshall is 4-1 and defeated the Owls in their head-to-head matchup. If the Herd win out, they will be headed to the C-USA title game for the first time since 2014.

With favorable matchups at Charlotte and at home against FIU to close out the year, a win here would go a long way for Marshall. With that said, FAU still has to play at UTSA and hosts Southern Miss, so there’s a chance the Herd could lose and still win the division.

Matchup History

This will be the first meeting between these two teams since they met up in the 2014 title game. Marshall won that contest 26-23, but it was the Bulldogs who covered as a 8-point dog.

Free NCAAF Pick & Betting Predictions: Marshall -2.5

My early lean here would be to lay the short number with the Thundering Herd at home. No surprise that the betting public is all over Louisiana Tech in this one, as they have won 8 straight and covered each of their last 4. I just think it’s going to be really tough for the Bulldogs to go on the road and get a win here.

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I just think people are overlooking how easy the schedule has been for Louisiana Tech. The only team they have faced in their 8-game winning streak with a winning record is Southern Miss and while they won that convincingly, it came on their home field.

Sure the Bulldogs played at Texas to open the season, but their other 3 road games have all come against really bad teams in Bowling Green, Rice and UTEP, who have a combined 4 wins to their record. I just think that easy road slate has Louisiana Tech getting way too much respect here against a really good football team. Keep in mind Marshall’s only home loss this season is to Cincinnati, who is 5-0 in AAC play and 8-1 overall with their only loss to Ohio State.

As for the Thunder Herd’s poor ATS record, that’s actually a positive in terms of their likelihood to cover this Friday, as Marshall is a dominant 31-15 (67%) ATS when they come into a game having failed to cover 4/5 of their last 6 games. Herd are also 16-5-2 ATS in their last 23 home games vs a team with a winning road record. Give me Marshall -2.5!