New Orleans Bowl Odds
The Tulane Green Wave (7-5) will square off against the Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns (8-4) on Saturday, December 21 in the 2013 New Orleans Bowl. This contest will take place inside the Superdome in New Orelans, LA, which is the home of the NFL’s Saints.
This contest is set to get underway at 9:00 EST Saturday night with ESPN providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the lines in Las Vegas, I find Tulane installed as a slim 1.5-point favorite over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Why Tulane Covers
The Green Wave are thrilled to death to be playing in a bowl game in 2013. This will be their first bowl appearance since the 2002 Hawaii Bowl, a span of more than a decade. You can bet these players will be amped up for this one. Making matters even better is the fact that they will be playing at home as the school is based in New Orleans, LA. Their home field is the Superdome. Curtis Johnson’s crew will have plenty of fan support for this rare bowl berth.
Tulane had a very impressive season this year in which is was consistently undervalued. That was evident its final ATS record of 9-3. They were winning games behind a much-improved defense that only allowed 21.2 points and 352.6 yards per game to rank 26th in the country in total defense. This was an opportunistic stop unit as well, one that forced an average of 2.7 turnovers per game. That could be bad news for a Louisiana-Lafayette team that coughed it up an average of 1.7 times per contest.
The Rajin’ Cajuns cannot be too thrilled about playing in the New Orleans Bowl. This will be their third consecutive trip to this bowl, and there’s no question they would have rather gone somewhere else. This is a team that played very poorly down the stretch, going 0-5 against the spread in their last five games overall, which included a 28-31 home loss to Louisiana-Monroe and an 8-30 loss to South Alabama to close out the season.
A big reason for Lafayette’s struggles down the stretch was a wrist injury to starting quarterback Terrance Broadway. He is completing 62.3 percent of his passes for 2,276 yards and 19 touchdowns, while also rushing for 421 yards and eight scores. If he cannot go, then the Rajin’ Cajuns could be in trouble. Either way, they like to run the football, and Tulane has the perfect antidote. The Green Wave rank 15th in the country against the run, allowing just 120.0 yards per game and 3.1 per carry. They are 5-1 straight up and 5-1 against the spread at home this year.
Why Louisiana-Lafayette Covers
Quietly, Louisiana-Lafayette put together another very successful season to earn a share of the Sun Belt Conference Title. They actually won it due to their head-to-head victory over Arkansas State, which also finished 5-2 in the conference. It was a poor start and a poor finish from Lafayette this year, and there’s no question it wants to make amends and end the season on a winning note. After winning the New Orleans Bowl each of the last two years over SDSU and East Carolina, you have to like their chances.
Tulane really won’t have much of a home-field advantage at all considering Lafayette supporters won’t have to drive far to get to the Superdome. The Green Wave being favored shows that they are expected to have that advantage, but I don’t believe that will be the case. I have no doubt that the Rajin’ Cajuns have the more talented team in this one. If anything, they underachieved, while the Green Wave overachieved. The numbers would support that theory as well.
The Green Wave have one of the worst offenses in all of college football. They only average 304.2 yards per game to rank 118th in the country in total offense. They have been outgained by an average of 48.4 yards per game on the season, which makes it remarkable that they finished with a winning record. They relied on turnovers all year, and banking on turnovers when betting can get you in trouble. It basically means that despite being the worse team in most games this year, the Green Wave were very lucky to find a way to win due to the turnovers.
The Green Wave have one of the worst offenses in all of college football. They only average 304.2 yards per game to rank 118th in the country in total offense. They have been outgained by an average of 48.4 yards per game on the season, which makes it remarkable that they finished with a winning record.
Lafayette boasts and explosive offense that is putting up 34.6 points and 425.5 yards per game to rank 52nd in the country in total offense. They have a balanced attack that is averaging 209 yards on the ground and 217 through the air. If Terrance Broadway is healthy enough to play, it would be a bonus. But if he’s not, the Rajin’ Cajuns aren’t doomed. Backup Brooks Haack has completed 60.0 percent of his passes for 224 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He’ll have the luxury of handing the ball off to Alonzo Harris (868 yards, 13 TD) and Elijah McGuire (818 yards, 7 TD).
My Early Lean: Louisiana-Lafayette +1.5