Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#101 Appalachian State 69.5 vs.
#102 UL Lafayette -1
Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at 8:00pm EDT
Cajun Field, Lafayette
Written by Adam Rauzino

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#101 Appalachian State University
#102 University of Louisiana at Lafayette
4-0
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The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns will host the Appalachian State Mountaineers in a clash between the top two teams in the Sun Belt Wednesday night from Cajun Field.

The Appalachian State Mountaineers are a strong team that has looked great in all four wins. They won their lone road game by a 34-31 score against North Carolina of the ACC, and they opened conference play with a dominating 56-37 home win over Coastal Carolina two weeks ago before enjoying the bye week. Appalachian State is a team that relies on their offense to win games led by RB Darrynton Evans with 471 rushing yards.

The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns return home after winning both games in their two-game road trip. They feasted on Ohio with a 45-25 win, succeeded by a 37-24 road win against Georgia Southern in their Sun Belt opener two weeks ago to improve to 4-1. The Ragin’ Cajuns have covered in all five games, and their lone blemish was a 38-28 defeat to Mississippi State. Appalachian State registered a 30-19 home win against Louisiana last season.

Appalachian State Remains Undefeated

The Appalachian State Mountaineers were projected to place first in the Sun Belt East and they have posted a perfect 4-0 start. They even defeated North Carolina of the ACC by a 34-31 score in week three. The Mountaineers are coming off an easy 56-37 home win over Coastal Carolina in their conference opener before their bye. Zac Thomas is having a terrific year, connecting on 71% of his passes for 802 yards and a 7:2 TD to INT ratio. The junior QB has tossed two touchdowns against two interceptions in his last two games.

The Mountaineers are especially dangerous on the ground with the 22nd ranked rushing offense in the FBS. They are led by Darrynton Evans who has accumulated 471 rushing yards and a whopping nine touchdowns. He should have a big game against a weak Cajuns’ rush defense.

Appalachian State leans on Thomas Hennigan and Malik Williams in the air. Hennigan has tallied 275 receiving yards on the season, and he has made 11 grabs in his last two games. The Mountaineers offense is consistently producing, scoring at least 34 points in all four games.

The Appalachian State defense is not as effective as their offense. They have squandered over 30 points in three consecutive games, and they especially have trouble defending the pass. The Mountaineers are averaging 47 points, ranking them fifth in the country. They are conceding an average of 29 points, pegging them 86th overall.

Ragin' Cajuns Hunting for Fifth Consecutive Victory

The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns were voted to finish first in the Sun Belt West in the preseason poll and so far they are living up to expectations. They have rebounded from their season-opening loss to Mississippi State by winning four straight games. The Cajuns registered a 37-24 road win against Georgia Southern in their latest action before the bye in a game that had Louisiana favored by three points. Levi Lewis hasn't posted big numbers on a team that prefers to run the ball, although he is having a solid year, collecting 980 passing yards with an 8:2 TD to INT ratio. The junior QB has not thrown a pick in three consecutive games.

The Ragin’ Cajuns’ rushing offense is a huge threat. They feature two outstanding talents in Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell who have combined for 950 rushing yards. Ragas is locked in, recording at least 129 rushing yards in three out of his last four games and he is up to 548 rushing yards on the year.

Ja’Marcus Bradley is Lewis’ favorite target in the air. The senior wideout has brought in 22 receptions for a total of 352 receiving yards. He should make his mark against an Appalachian State team that will give up yards in the air. Louisiana’s offense is very dangerous and they have the best offense in the Sun Belt West.

The Ragin’ Cajuns defense has been a strength in their 4-1 start as well. While they allowed 38 points to Mississippi State of the SEC in week one, they have contained their opponents since. They rank 23rd against the pass and 72nd against the run. Louisiana is scoring an average of 44.4 points, good for ninth in the FBS. They are allowing an average of 21.4 points, pegging them 41st overall.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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This is an intriguing matchup between two of the top teams in the Sun Belt. I am siding with the home side Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. Louisiana is an offensive powerhouse that should be able to exploit the Mountaineers' defense. The Ragin’ Cajuns feature a potent rushing offense that leads the entire country with a sizzling 314 rushing yards per game. I expect big damage against an Appalachian State rush defense that will concede yards. They stand down at 80th in the country against the run.

Furthermore, the Louisiana defense has performed better than the Mountaineers this season. They have allowed 25 or fewer points in four consecutive games after losing 38-28 to Mississippi State of the SEC in their season opener. The Ragin’ Cajuns’ pass defense is limiting opponents to 186 passing yards per game, so they should shut down the Mountaineers in the air.

Prediction: Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns

Full-Game Total Pick

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This contest has the ingredients for a high-scoring clash. The Ragin’ Cajuns have tallied at least 35 points in four straight games, and they stand sixth in the country with an average of 540 total yards per game. This Mountaineers defense surrendered 41 points to Charlotte and I expect Louisiana to pile on the points, plus the over is 5-1 in the Ragin’ Cajuns last six games overall.

In addition, while I expect Louisiana to shut down the Mountaineers passing game, Appalachian State also features a dangerous rushing offense that is placed 22nd in the FBS. The Ragin’ Cajuns will give up yards on the ground as they stand 72nd against the run, so I expect production on the ground from the Mountaineers. The over is 4-0 in the Mountaineers’ last four games against a team with a winning record, and that trend should prevail in this one.

Prediction: Over

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The over on the Louisiana team total which can be found on PointsBet is a strong play. The Ragin' Cajuns rushing offense is unstoppable. Their leading rusher Trey Ragas is averaging 9.8 yards per attempt for 548 yards and they also feature Elijah Mitchell who has 402 rushing yards. Moreover, Appalachian State’s defense is a weakness. They are surrendering an average of 420 total yards per game, and they are up against a Ragin’ Cajuns team that has exploited every defense they have faced with the exception of their first game against Mississippi State, although they still managed 28 points in that one.

Prediction: Louisiana Team Total Over

Half-Time Total Bet

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I expect plenty of offense in both the first and second half. Both sides are posting big numbers in the opening half. Appalachian State is especially piling on the points in the first half where they stand 3rd in the country with an average of 30 points while allowing an average of 17 points. Lafayette has average a sizzling 21 points in the opening half in their three home games.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.