It’s a non-conference matchup when a member of the Sun Belt has to make the trip to take on a SEC powerhouse in the Yellowhammer State. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns are on the road as they make the trip to face the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday afternoon. Louisiana dropped their second straight as they fell 30-28 at home to Coastal Carolina last Saturday. Alabama rolled to a 45-23 win over #22 Texas A&M at home in their last contest last Saturday. The Crimson Tide has won all five previous meetings between the schools, including a 25-6 win on the road in the last meeting on October 6, 1990.
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Hoping for Massive Upset
Louisiana dropped their second straight as they were defeated at home by Coastal Carolina last week. Now the Ragin’ Cajuns have to go on the road to face the top team in the country to try and spring an upset to even their record. Louisiana led 7-3 after the opening quarter before allowing 20 unanswered points: they drew no closer than two the rest of the way. The Ragin’ Cajuns lost the total offense battle by a 497-381 margin and gave up 25 first downs while picking up 17. Louisiana forced the game’s only turnover but couldn’t get off the field: Coastal Carolina controlled time of possession by a 38:56 to 21:04 margin in the contest.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are 85th in the FBS as they put up an average of 209.7 yards per game through the air and 39th in rushing offense with 206 yards per contest. Louisiana is tied for 77th in the country in scoring offense as they average 29 points per game but they stand 108th in scoring defense as they give up 34.3 points per contest. Andre Nunez is 47 of 65 for 541 yards with four scores against one interception plus six rushing yards and a score. Levi Lewis is nine of 17 passing for 88 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Trey Ragas (35 carries, team-high 294 yards, two TD) and Elijah Mitchell (18 carries, 77 yards, TD) provide a solid 1-2 punch in the ground game. Raymond Calais (13 carries, 186 yards, two TD) has proven to be effective in his limited carries. Keenan Barnes is second on the team with 10 receptions for 143 yards plus a score. Ryheem Malone (team-high 13 receptions, 122 yards) and Ja’Marcus Bradley (nine catches, 125 yards, three TD) are good receivers as well. Kyle Pfau is 12 of 12 on extra points and one of two on field goals with a long of 38 this season.
Alabama Crimson Tide Shoots for 5-0 Start
Alabama remained unbeaten as they took care of business against #22 Texas A&M at home last week. The Crimson Tide now looks to improve to 5-0 on the season as they host an overmatched Sun Belt opponent. Alabama broke open a close game with 10 points in the final 1:09 of the first half to take a 31-13 lead and they weren’t threatened again. The Crimson Tide had a 524-393 edge in total offense, had a narrow 24-22 advantage in first downs and forced two turnovers while not committing any of their own. Alabama outscored Texas A&M 31-9 in the middle two quarters to turn the game into a romp.
— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) September 23, 2018
The Crimson Tide put up an average of 334.8 yards per game through the air this season (13th in the FBS) and pounded opponents to the tune of 204.8 yards per game (42nd) on the ground. Alabama currently stands 3rd in the FBS in scoring offense by putting up an average of 53.8 points per game this season. The team is tied for 4th in the nation in scoring defense as they limit the opposition to just 12.8 points a contest. Jalen Hurts (22 of 31, 276 yards, four TD, INT, 54 rushing yards) and Tua Tagovailoa (58 of 80, 1033 yards, 12 TD, no INT, 103 rushing yards, two TD) have both seen action at quarterback this season. Running back is an embarrassment of riches as the team has Damien Harris (31 carries, 230 yards, TD) second on the team. Behind him is Najee Harris (38 carries, 246 yards, three TD), Josh Jacobs (23 carries, 88 yards, 3 TD) and Brian Robinson Jr. (22 carries, 90 yards) in the mix. Jerry Jeudy (17 catches, 365 yards, six TD), Henry Ruggs III (11 grabs, 180 yards, three TD), Irv Smith Jr. (13 grabs, 196 yards, two TD) and DeVonta Smith (14 catches, 260 yards, two TD) are going to be looked at more in the passing game. Joseph Bulovas, a freshman, has hit all 19 extra points and four of five field goals with a long of 47. Austin Jones is seven of 10 on extra points and one of two on field goals with a long of 39 this year.
- Crimson Tide are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games
- Crimson Tide are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in September
- Ragin’ Cajuns are 0-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- Ragin’ Cajuns are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- Ragin’ Cajuns are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Louisiana has back to back losses and there’s not a lot of optimism to think that they can match up with the powerhouse that Alabama is. The Ragin’ Cajuns couldn’t beat Coastal Carolina at home and now has to face the #1 Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. Alabama is averaging 539.5 yards per game and 7.9 yards per play so far this year. Facing a Louisiana defense that is getting gashed for 265 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry is a nice boost for the Crimson Tide. Alabama should roll all over the Ragin’ Cajuns en route to an easy win in this one.
Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide -49
Full-Game Total Pick
We’ve seen Alabama pile up a total of 215 points in their first four games of the season. It’s pretty impressive when 45 points is the low mark of the season for a team but that’s where we stand after four games for the Crimson Tide. Louisiana has been tagged for a total of 103 points in their first three games and 56 of those came at the hands of Mississippi State. Seeing that the Ragin’ Cajuns were torched by the Bulldogs already this season, one has to think that things could get ugly here as well.
The over is 6-0 in the Ragin’ Cajuns last 6 non-conference games, 6-0 in their last six against SEC foes, 4-0 in their last 4 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game and 7-1-1 in their last 9 games on grass. Alabama has seen the over go 6-1 in their last seven in September and 4-1 in their last five overall. Look for this one to be a high scoring affair for Alabama, helping push this one over the number.
Prediction: Over 68
Half-Time Side Pick
One can’t have a ton of optimism for Louisiana as they head into Tuscaloosa for this one. The Crimson Tide has battered the opposition so far and in their lone game against a mid-major program, they obliterated Arkansas State 57-7 back in week 2. The score at the half in that game was 40-0 in favor of the Crimson Tide before they eased off the gas pedal in the second half. Expect something similar here as the Crimson Tide rolls over another hapless opponent.
Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide -30.5 (-110)
Half-Time Total Bet
The first half point totals for the Crimson Tide this season are impressive. Alabama has put up 28, 40, 49 and 31 points in the first half of their first four games. That is an average of 37 points in the first half this season. Facing a team like Louisiana, who seemingly is allergic to defense so far this season and who gave up 56 to Mississippi State, should be right up their alley. The Crimson Tide should have another big showing in the first half and help push this over the number at intermission. They could pull it off on their own.
Prediction: Over 42 -110