Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns (8-4 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. Tulane Green Wave (7-5 SU, 9-3 ATS)
College Football 2013 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Date and Time: Saturday, December 21, 2013, 9:00 pm EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ULL +3/TUL -3
Over/Under Total: 49.5
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This Saturdays kickoff of Bowl Week on ESPN will finish with a little
blackened, Creole-flavor when New Orleans and the state of Louisiana is
thrust into primetime when the Tulane Green Wave take on the squad from a little over 100 miles away know as the Louisiana-Lafayette
Ragin Cajuns, in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl inside the
Tulane will be bowling for the first time since the 2002 Hawaii Bowl, but they sputtered down the stretch losing three of their last four games including their finale at Rice, 17-13. The Green Wave had its signature win this season in early October, a 36-33 overtime victory over nine-win East Carolina, so the 30-day layoff between games may help them regain the focus that got them bowl-eligible for the first time in over a decade.
Lafayette will be making the short trip to the Superdome again after winning last years New Orleans bowl in a 43-34 shootout over East Carolina. In fact, this will be the Cajuns third straight appearance in the New Orleans Bowl, and although they say the familiarity will help, you cant help but think that they wont be 100 percent focused on playing in this bowl again.
The Cajuns were actually in position to win the Sun Belt Conference title outright and a possible 10-win season until QB Terrance Broadway hurt in the Louisiana-Monroe game. Without Broadway the Cajuns lost the final two games of the season to drop into a tie with Arkansas State for the conference crown, so the Cajuns likely had higher bowl aspirations than the New Orleans Bowl again.
Broadways status is still unknown, listed as questionable, so oddsmakers opened the game as a pick em and the point spread has rocketed toward the Green Wave with Tulane currently listed as high as 3-point favorites now.
The over/under total opened at 49.5 and hasnt move much at all yet, with a few exceptions of offshore sportsbooks dropping the hook to 49.
The focus of this game will clearly be on the quarterbacks, because nobody knows if Broadway will play or not, and the Tulane quarterback just happens to be some kid named Nick Montana with a famous dad.
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Lafayette is not just Broadway on offense though, as running backs Alonzo Harris (868 yards, 13 TD) and freshman Elijah McGuire (818 yards, 7 TD) have helped the Cajuns run to over 207 yards a game and tops in the Sun Belt with a 34.6 points per game. The Ragin Cajuns will have their hands full though, since Tulanes defense is the strength of the team, allowing just 21.3 points per game and finished 3rd in the country with 33 takeaways (17 INT, 16 fumbles).
The Green Wave offense was the worst in C-USA this season, and between Montana (only 53 %, 1,654 yards, 14 TD, 9 INT) and backup Devin Powell (56%, 5TD, 4 INT) they cant seem to get solid, consistent play from the most important position on the field. Lafayettes defense is about the definition of average, so while they should be good enough to limit a struggling Green Wave unit, I do expect a few new wrinkles in the game plan with 30 day to scheme and plan for the bowl game.
These two schools have an extensive history, playing almost every year through the 90s and twice since the calendar flipped to the 2000s. Those two games were split, including a 41-13 route by the Ragin Cajuns last year at home in early October.
One thing is certain, Tulane is certainly a dome/indoor team sporting an 11-1 ATS record in their last 12 games played on turf. The Green Wave was a great wager this season (9-3 ATS), but they were the favorite in only two games all season long (not counting opener vs. Jackson St.) and went 1-1 in the role of the hunted.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Tulane was a great bet this season, but almost exclusively in the role of underdog. Im having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact they are considered the favorite in a bowl. If Broadway plays there wont be a doubt, but even if he doesnt make it, I still think Lafayette is the better value here. Take Lafayette plus the points.
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