Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#385 Arkansas State -2 vs.
#386 UL Monroe 67
Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 3:30pm EDT
JP Field at Malone Stadium, Monroe
Written by Chris Altruda

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#385 Arkansas St University
#386 University of Louisiana at Monroe
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Arkansas State at Louisiana-Monroe

When and Where: Saturday, Nov. 2, Malone Stadium, Monroe, La., 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Looking to maintain at least a share of the West Division lead in the Sun Belt Conference, Louisiana-Monroe looks to regroup and get back to .500 Saturday when it hosts Arkansas State.

Red Wolves look to overtake Warhawks for second in Sun Belt West

Arkansas State (4-4, 2-2 Sun Belt West) is two wins shy of being bowl eligible for the ninth straight season but also enters this contest one-half game behind co-leaders Louisiana and ULM.

The Red Wolves avoided a third straight loss last Saturday with a 38-14 pounding of Texas State, with Marcel Murray scoring on a pair of third-quarter touchdown runs immediately after key plays by the special teams unit. Murray finished with 114 rushing yards for his second straight 100-yard effort and leads the team with 472 despite playing in just five games.

Freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher is showing increased command of the offense and has thrown at least two touchdown passes in the last four games. Hatcher has thrown for 1,200 yards and 12 TDs in his last four games while completing 67.4 percent of his passes.

Last weekend's win also marked just the second time Arkansas State has held an opponent under 400 yards. The Red Wolves are 128th in FBS in total defense, yielding 492.3 yards per game, and tied for 119th in scoring defense at 35.4 points per game.

Arkansas State, though, has held the upper hand in this rivalry of late and is looking for a 10th straight win in the series. The Red Wolves have outscored the Warhawks 388-181 in that span and recorded all but one of those victories by double digits.

Warhawks look to break run of Jekyll-and-Hyde performances

When Louisiana-Monroe (3-4, 2-1 West) has been good, it has been very good. But when the Warhawks have been bad, they have been terrible. In their last game Oct. 19, it was the latter as then-No. 24 and still unbeaten Appalachian State gave them a 52-7 thrashing.

There is no arguing Matt Viator's team has played a demanding schedule -- ULM's other three losses have come to Iowa State, Florida State, and Memphis -- but each of those games were similar to the loss to the Mountaineers in their defense was absolutely blasted. The Warhawks have been torn apart for 220 points in those defeats.

After missing out on a bowl game last year despite being 6-6, the Warhawks are still seeking their second bowl appearance in school history -- with the other coming in 2012. Josh Johnson was held to a season-low 77 rushing yards versus Appalachian State but is second in the Sun Belt with 789 overall.

Caleb Evans, who is three TD passes shy of 50 for his career, is also looking to bounce back from his worst effort of the season after going 9 of 19 for 75 yards and an interception. Evans has not thrown a touchdown pass in back-to-back contests and has been picked off once in three consecutive games.

Evans will be looking to get his connection with tight end Josh Pederson up and running again. Pederson is tied fo the team lead with 26 catches and has a team-best five touchdowns, but he and Evans have hooked up on just three passes for 11 yards in the last two games.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Sometimes, one team just has another's number, and that has been the case with Arkansas State owning Louisiana-Monroe. Hatcher's week-to-week progression and improvement offers more confidence than Evans' up-and-down play for the Warhawks.

And aside from their 55-0 pasting administered by then-No. 3 Georgia, Arkansas State's offense has traveled consistently. The Red Wolves have scored at least 38 points in their other three road games and also hung 67 on the Warhawks in their last visit to Monroe in 2017.

Prediction: Arkansas State -1 (-110)

Full-Game Total Pick

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Both teams leave much to be desired defensively, and in the case of Louisiana-Monroe, when it turns bad, it turns bad in a hurry. Per Covers.com, the over has delivered in five of the last seven meetings, and the last game in Monroe saw the teams combine for 117 points. While the under is trending for both teams individually in conference play, the feeling is another shootout in a first to 45 will take place to deliver the over.

Prediction: OVER 67.5 points (-110)

Full-Game Prop Bet

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Regardless of who is under center for the Red Wolves, they have scored points save the shutout loss at Georgia. Louisiana-Monroe's defense has allowed 45 or more points in four games this season and 37.3 points per game overall. This game should be a shootout and a first to 40 or potentially 45 contest.

Prediction: Arkansas State OVER 34.5 points (-105)

Half-Time Side Pick

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The Red Wolves have trailed at halftime just once in their nine-game winning streak in this series (6-2-1) and have led after two quarters in the last three matchups in Monroe. There is little trust in the Warhawks' defense consistently shutting down Hatcher and Murray enough to grab a lead at intermission.

Prediction: Arkansas State -0.5 (-105)

Half-Time Total Bet

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The high-side hook prevents an aggressive play on the over, but ULM's shaky defense is the primary driver of this pick. The Warhawks have given up an average of 27.8 points in the first half of their four losses, and the teams have also combined for 98 points in the first half of the last two games in Monroe. Arkansas State has also scored 17 or more points in the first two quarters in the last four matchups and should do most of the lifting here.

Prediction: OVER 35.5 points (-105)
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Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is based in Chicago. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiner, he worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Follow Chris daily right here at W&W and on Twitter at @AlTruda73. You won’t be disappointed.