In the first college football game of Week 8, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns travel to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves. The winner of this game will take a big step toward being the top team in the Sun Belt Conference. This exciting Sun Belt/Fun Belt action kicks off at 7:30 PM ET inside the Centennial Bank Stadium.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (3-3, 2-1 Sun Belt) are coming off a solid win against a feisty Texas State Bobcats 24-7. Louisiana has won 2 straight conference games and are only 1 game back of the lead in the Sun Belt. To get to the top, they will need to defeat the Red Wolves who are currently undefeated in the conference.
Arkansas State (3-2, 2-0 Sun Belt) has won two straight games overall and in the conference. However, they have defeated 2 of the worst teams in the Sun Belt: Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern who are both winless in the conference and are a combined 1-10 on the season. Granted, the Red Wolves did blow out these two teams by a combined score of 94 to 42, but it’s hard to get excited over these wins. Their only other win on the season was against a cupcake team in Arkansas Pine Bluff.
The spread opened at 12.5 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns. There are some books that put the line at 13 points for Louisiana. Since we’re taking them, let’s go with those 13 points. The Over/Under opened at 64 total points and remains unchanged.
The Ragin’ Cajuns could easily be 3-0 in the conference as their only loss came to the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks in double overtime. The Warhawks are currently undefeated in Sun Belt action. So, if you measure up Louisiana’s conference play to the conference play of the Red Wolves, you will see that the Ragin Cajuns have played better. Thus, the spread of 13 points is too high for Arkansas State to cover, which is why we like Louisiana and the points in this one.
Both teams score a lot of points as ULL averages roughly 35 points per game and Ark St. averages roughly 40 points per game. Both teams also give up a good amount points as ULL allows 40 ppg and Ark St. allows 26 ppg. However, ULL did play Tulsa and Texas A&M which they allowed 111 total points. They gave up another 56 points to ULM in double overtime. So, most of the points they gave up were in half their games.
The Red Wolves bread and butter is their passing game led by Justice Hansen who has 1,587 passing yards and 19 touchdown throws on the season. ULL will have their hands full with the QB. However, the Ark St. running game isn’t that daunting as they only average 123 yards per game. So, if ULL can stop the run with minimal guys up front, then they can drop more into the secondary and try to stop the Red Wolves’ passing attack.
On offense ULL is more of a running team with 171 rushing yards per game. Top running back Trey Ragas has 525 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns on the season. He is poised to have a solid game this week against the Red Wolves who give up 224 rushing yards on the season. In 2 conference games this season, Ark St. has given up 528 rushing yards. So, I expect ULL to gain big chunks on the ground, which will help them limit the amount of touches Ark St. gets on offense.
ULL is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games, 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games against the Red Wolves, and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games at Arkansas State Red Wolves.
I can see Arkansas State doing just enough to win this game, but I don’t see it being by a lot. This game should be closer than the spread indicates. I like ULL’s chances in this one as they can definitely exploit the Red Wolves’ weak rush defense and not only score, but also control the TOP. I can see ULL pulling off the upset this week. Fortunately, I don’t have to predict the winner in this game as we’re just going with the spread and that is definitely in favor of the Ragin Cajuns.