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New Orleans Bowl Betting Guide: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns vs. Marshall Thundering Herd

UL-L could end 2021 season with nation's longest winning streak

There isn’t always much to play for in the bowl games held in mid-December, but that’s not the case for Sun Belt Conference champion Louisiana-Lafayette.

The No. 16 team in the Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the College Football Playoff rankings, the Ragin’ Cajuns could finish as the No. 2 team among the teams from the Group of Five conferences with a win. That would be a nice ending to the season and unless Cincinnati wins the national championship, a victory would give UL-Lafayette the longest active FBS winning streak heading into next season.

New Orleans Bowl Betting Guide: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns vs. Marshall Thundering Herd
Joe Robbins/Getty Images/AFP

Louisiana-Lafayette is just 3-5 in its last eight games against the spread when the Las Vegas odds list the Ragin’ Cajuns as the favorite.

Marshall is looking to snap a two-game bowl losing streak and has lost its last four games played in December.

Game: Louisiana (12-1) vs. Marshall (7-5)

Location: Caesars Superdome

Day/Time: Saturday, Dec. 18, 9:15 p.m. ET

Television: ESPN

Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Marshall Betting Lines

Team Point Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Marshall +5 (-110) +175 55 (110o)
Louisiana -5 (-110) -210 55 (110u)

Another bowl bid for Thundering Herd

It’s been a similar script for the Marshall Thundering Herd. Every season since 2017, they became bowl eligible by late October or early November but haven’t contending for the Conference USA title down the stretch.

There was a hope that this year would be different as the Thundering Herd (+220) had the best odds to win the Conference USA title before the season started.

Marshall lost three games in a row, all by six points or less, but rebounded to win the next four games to become bowl eligible for the fifth year in a row. The Thundering Herd finished 7-5, two games behind Western Kentucky in the conference’s East Division.

Marshall headed into the regular-season finale against Western Kentucky a game out of the division lead. The Thundering Herd were listed by the college football spreads as an underdog for the first time all season. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead and leading by eight points at halftime, it all fell apart. Aided by special teams and defensive touchdowns, Western Kentucky scored 47 points in the second half to pull away for the 53-21 win to secure the spot in the C-USA title game.

Injury Report

No injuries of note. Receiver Talik Keaton and safety Nazeeh Johnson both returned for the final two games of the regular season after combining to miss nine games this season.

Three Players to Watch

Redshirt freshman running back Rasheen Ali ran for 1,241 yards and 20 touchdowns, with 203 of those yards coming in a win over Charlotte. He is also second on the team with 44 catches.

Junior linebacker Abraham Beauplan has 104 tackles and he finished the regular season with 40 in his last four games. He also led the team with 8½ tackles for loss.

Offensive lineman Alex Mollette earned first-team All-Conference USA honors as Marshall averaged 470.8 yards per game, its most since 2014.

Louisiana-Lafayette Lives Up to Preseason Hype

The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns were given even odds to win the Sun Belt Conference title and made the oddsmakers look good. They went 8-0 in league play during the regular season before beating Appalachian State, 24-16, in the conference championship game.

It wasn’t always pretty as Louisiana-Lafayette failed to cover against the college football odds six times during their current 12-game winning streak. The Ragin’ Cajuns were 7-0 in one-score games and the only thing between them and a perfect record going into the bowl was a season-opening loss to Texas.

Injury Report

Receiver Devon Pauley (lower body) is questionable. Receiver Da’Jon Bonnee, offensive lineman Tyler Brown and running back Tito Byce are out. Defensive lineman Andre Landry is out for the season.

Three Players to Watch

Running backs Chris Smith and Montrell Johnson combined for 1,640 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.

Senior linebacker Chauncey Manac leads UL-L with 14.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. He had nine tackles for loss and six sacks over the last three games.

Betting on the Game

The top-scoring defensive teams in Conference USA and the Sun Belt square off. Marshall has allowed only 22.8 points per game while Louisiana-Lafayette topped that at 18.3 points per contest. Thus, this could be a challenging game for both offenses.

While UL-L runs the ball 10 more times per game than throwing, Marshall had the second-most passing attempts among Conference USA teams.

Marshall has allowed the eighth-fewest tackles for loss among FBS teams while the Ragin’ Cajuns had 33 tackles for loss and 15 sacks in their last four games.

The scores and odds total has gone under in eight of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ last 10 games and six of the last eight games played by Marshall.

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