Wednesday night college football for back-to-back weeks? Sign me up, baby. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will travel to Huntington, West Virginia for a Sun Belt showdown vs. the Marshall Thundering Herd. Both of these teams will be looking to get on the scoreboard with their first conference win after starting a combined 0-3.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are 0-2 in conference play, but both games have been highly competitive. They suffered a four-point road loss against Louisiana Monroe and followed that up with a three-point home loss to South Alabama.
Meanwhile, Marshall got their season off to a tremendous start. They packed up a massive win in South Bend against Notre Dame, who was ranked No. 8 in the country at that point. However, they followed that up with an overtime loss to Bowling Green and a nine-point loss to Troy before righting the ship with a win over Gardiner Webb last week.
Who has the edge in this Sun Belt showdown? Let’s dive into these Louisiana vs. Marshall predictions and best bets for Wednesday, October 12.
Louisiana vs. Marshall Odds
|Louisiana||+10.5 (-110)||+330||O 47.5 (-110)|
|@ Marshall||-10.5 (-110)||-410||U 47.5 (-110)|
Odds via Betway as of 9 p.m. ET as of Oct. 10
- Date: Wednesday, Oct. 12
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Joan C. Edwards Stadium (Huntington, WV)
- TV: ESPN2
Louisiana vs. Marshall Betting Trends
- Marshall is 3-2 this season (1-2 against the spread)
- Louisiana is 2-3 this season (2-2 against the spread)
- Double-digit underdogs are 136-122-5 in Sun Belt conference games since 2005
- Marshall is 11-19 against the spread as a favorite of at least a touchdown since 2016-17
- Marshall is 62-72-3 in conference games since 2005
- Louisiana is 8-10 against the spread in Sun Belt games
- As of Monday, DraftKings reports that 61% of the spread bets and 66% of the handle are on Marshall
- For the total, 39% of the bets and 55% of the handle are on the under
Can Louisiana Rebuild Without Billy Napier?
Louisiana isn’t exactly a college football powerhouse, but they’ve been one of the better small conference schools in recent years. They’ve won at least 10 games in each of the past three seasons – including back-to-back Sun Belt titles – and they’re 3-0 in bowl games over that time frame. That includes a win in the New Orleans Bowl last year vs. Marshall, which earned them a year-end ranking of No. 16 in the AP Poll.
Last year’s squad averaged 31.1 points per game while allowing just 18.5 on defense. Their defensive average ranked 11th in the nation.
However, head coach Billy Napier departed for greener pastures in the offseason. He took the head coaching job at Florida, and he brought a host of his best players with him. The team lost two four-star offensive linemen, two four-star running backs, and a host of other players in the transfer portal. Quarterback Levi Lewis also graduated and is currently plying his trade in the CFL.
Losing so much talent is obviously tough, and this year’s squad has struggled. Their offense has dropped to 92nd in the nation in terms of points scored, while their defense ranks 36th.
New head coach Michael Desormeaux has a big job on his hands, and only time will tell if he can fill Napier’s shoes. The early returns don’t look promising, with Louisiana’s 2023 recruiting class ranking merely 8th in the Sun Belt.
How Good Is Marshall’s Defense?
Marshall’s offense has been solid this season, but the defensive side of the ball is where they’ve really shined. They’re limiting opponents to just 281.2 yards per game, and their average of 16.2 points per game allowed ranks 17th in the nation.
Their defense undoubtedly showed up in their biggest game of the year. They limited Notre Dame to 351 yards of total offense, and more importantly, they generated three turnovers. That includes a pick-six, which ultimately gave Marshall an insurmountable lead.
Even in their overtime loss against Bowling Green, the defense was clearly not at fault. Marshall outgained the Falcons by nearly 200 yards, but their offense shot themselves in the foot with three turnovers.
Given Louisiana’s struggles on offense this season, this seems like a perfect spot for their defense to assert their dominance. If they can do that, Marshall should be able to control the clock with their ground game. They’re averaging nearly 225 rushing yards per game, with running back Khalan Laborn averaging just under 150 yards per contest. The team has three running backs averaging at least 5.5 yards per carry, so they can clearly establish the run.
Louisiana vs. Marshall Predictions
Marshall is undoubtedly the better team in this matchup, but I don’t feel comfortable laying 10.5 points with a mediocre team. So many things can go wrong in that situation.
Instead, I’m going to go with the under. I don’t expect Louisiana to be able to move the ball in this spot. Their offense has averaged just 5.0 yards per play this season, and Marshall’s defense is stout.
When Marshall’s on the field, the clock should be running pretty consistently. Their rushing attack should be able to do significant damage against the Ragin’ Cajuns, which is always a good thing for the under.
Finally, the sharps also appear to be on the under. There’s a pretty sizable discrepancy in terms of dollars vs. bets, and the line has dipped by half a point. Overall, that’s more than enough for me.
Pick: Under 47.5 total points | -110 at Betway Sportsbook