College Football New Orleans Bowl Betting Picks: Nevada Wolf Pack vs Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

2014 R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Nevada Wolf Pack vs Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana
Saturday, December 20, 2014, 11:00 am Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Nevada -3 (-107)
Current Line: Nevada -1
Opening Total: 60
Current Total: 61
Opening Money Line: Nevada -125 / Louisiana +105
Current Money Line: Nevada -115 / Louisiana -105 

Nevada is a slight favorite over Louisiana in the New Orleans Bowl.
Nevada is a slight favorite over Louisiana in the New Orleans Bowl.

The 2014-15 college football bowl season gets underway Saturday morning with the New Orleans Bowl between the Nevada Wolf Pack and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. Nevada went 7-5 in the Mountain West and were 4-4 in conference. Louisiana went 8-4 in the Sun Belt and finished 7-1 in conference behind 8-0 Georgia Southern. This is only the second meeting between Nevada and Louisiana. Nevada won the only previous meeting 38-14 in 1995 in Reno.

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Nevada is coached by Brian Polian. The Wolf Pack return to a bowl game for the 9th time in the last 10 seasons after missing the postseason last year. Nevada is 4-9 in bowl games in history. The Wolf Pack have lost 6 of their last 7 bowl games including 49-48 to Arizona in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl. Nevada is making their first appearance in the New Orleans Bowl.

Nevada finished third in the Mountain West West Division behind 5-3 Fresno State and San San Diego State. The Wolf Pack have home wins over Southern Utah 28-19, Washington State 24-13, and San Diego State 30-14, along with road wins over San Jose State 21-10, BYU 42-35, Hawaii 26-18, and UNLV 49-27 in the season finale. The win against arch-rival UNLV snapped a two game losing streak for Nevada. The Wolf Pack have road losses at Arizona 35-28 and Air Force 45-38 in overtime, plus home losses at Boise State 51-46, Colorado State 31-24, and Fresno State 40-20. Four of the five losses were decided by 7 points or less, and all losses were to bowl teams. The Wolf Pack were 7-5 ATS and the total was 4-8 this season. Nevada was a 7.5 point favorite against UNLV and the total was 62.5.

Louisiana is coached by Mark Hudspeth. The Ragin’ Cajuns are making their fourth straight trip to the New Orleans Bowl and fourth overall bowl trip. Lousiana has won this game all three times including 24-21 over Tulane last season. New Orleans is only 135 miles southeast of Lafayette.

After a 1-3 start in non-conference, Lousiana has won 7 of their last 8 games all in the Sun Belt. The Ragin’ Cajuns have home losses to Louisiana Tech 48-20, and Appalachian State 35-16, along with road losses at Ole Miss 56-15 and Boise State 34-9. Lousiana has home wins over Southern 45-6, Georgia State 34-31, Arkansas State 55-40, and South Alabama 19-9, along with road wins over Texas State 34-10, New Mexico State 44-16, UL-Monroe 34-27 and Troy 42-23 in the last game of the regular season. The Cajuns are 6-5-1 ATS and the total is 6-6 this season. Louisiana was a 9.5 point favorite against Troy and the total was 59.5.

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Nevada is outscoring teams 31-28 this season. The Wolf Pack average 413 yards per game including 198 passing and 216 rushing yards. Nevada is #32 nationally in rushing. On defense, the Wolf Pack allow 450 yards per game including 271 passing and 179 rushing yards. Nevada is #105 in total defense and #115 in pass defense out of 128 FBS teams. The Wolf Pack are +11 in turnovers with 26 takeaways. Nevada averages 53 penalty yards per game and opponents average 48. The Wolf Pack are 97/217 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 88/203. Nevada has forced 25 sacks and allowed 16 this season. The Wolf Pack are 48/51 scoring in the red zone with 36 touchdowns and opponents are 35/43 with 26 touchdowns. Nevada has 3 pick sixes and has allowed 2 this season.

Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo leads the Wolf Pack in both passing and rushing. He has thrown for 2,374 yards with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, along with 164 carries for 997 yards and 13 touchdowns. Running back Don Jackson has 206 carries for 932 yards with 7 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown. James Butler has 135 carries for 620 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 5 catches. Receiver Jericho Richardson has 53 catches for 626 yards and 3 touchdowns. Hasaan Henderson has 45 catches for 579 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is questionable with a neck injury. Richy Turner has 58 catches for 541 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jarred Gibson has 32 catches for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Louisiana is outscoring teams 31-28 this season. The Ragin’ Cajuns  are averaging 418 yards per game on offense including 189 passing and 229 rushing yards. Louisiana is #26 in rushing but #102 in passing nationally. On defense, the Cajuns are allowing 422 yards per game including 275 passing and 147 rushing yards. Louisiana is #120 in pass defense and #44 in rush defense. The Cajuns are +3 in turnovers with 16 takeaways. Louisiana is averaging 43 penalty yards per game and opponents average 38. The Cajuns are 79/183 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 87/208. Louisiana has forced 28 sacks and allowed 18 this season. The Cajuns are 49/53 scoring in the red zone with 35 touchdowns and opponents are 32/43 with 23 touchdowns. Louisiana has allowed two pick sixes and a punt return for a TD this season.

Louisiana quarterback Terrance Broadway has completed 61.1% of his passes for 2,073 yards with 12 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, along with 133 carries for 634 yards and 3 touchdown. Brooks Haack has also taken 23 snaps this season and thrown for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Elijah McGuire has 150 carries for 1,165 yards and 14 touchdowns, plus 40 catches for 414 yards and a touchdown. Alonzo Harris has 159 carries for 737 yards and 12 touchdowns, plus 6 catches. Receiver James Butler has 30 catches for 417 yards.  Al Riles has 31 catches for 331 yards and a touchdown. Jamal Robinson has 15 catches for 260 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is out for the season with a foot injury. Gabe Fuselier has 24 catches for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jared Johnson has only 10 catches but 3 touchdowns.  Four defensive players are questionable or out for Louisiana.

Nevada is 4-0-1 ATS in December, 6-1 on turf, 4-1 in non-conference games and against Sun Belt teams, 8-3 after passing for less than 170 yards, 5-2 after a straight up win and after a cover, after rushing for over 200 yards and gaining more than 450 total yards, 3-9-1 after scoring more than 40 points, 1-3-1 in neutral site games, 1-4-1 in bowl games and after a straight up win of 20 points or more.

Louisiana is 3-0-1 ATS after a cover, 5-1 in December, 5-1-1 overall, and after passing for less than 170 yards, 4-1-1 after a straight up win, 15-5 against teams with winning records, 22-10 on turf, 2-5-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 2-5 in non-conference games, and 1-3-1 after scoring 40 points or more.

Both of these teams are very similar. They both rely on the run and passing is definitely the second option. neither team is spectacular on defense. This should be a high scoring game and I think Louisiana wins in what is basically a home game.

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