Cure Bowl: Tulane Green Wave vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (+3.5)
Sat., December 15, 1:30 p.m. ET
Three things to know before betting on Tulane-Louisiana-Lafayette:
1. The Cure Bowl should serve as a fun kickoff to bowl season, with a narrow spread and a high total (59). Louisiana-Lafayette surpassed preseason expectations with its 7-6 record and a trip to the Sun Belt conference championship (it lost 30-19 to Appalachian State). Tulane is 6-6 and gained bowl eligibility by the skin of its teeth. In its final regular season game, the Green Wave scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion with less than two minutes on the clock to beat Navy 29-28.
Tulane has been unimpressive against the spread this season, going 5-7 and failing to cover in its last three games. ULL, conversely, has been one of the nation’s best at covering this season, going 9-4 ATS. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 3-1 ATS this season against spreads set at less than a touchdown on either side.
2. Tulane’s defense is better overall (27.8 PPG, 5.61 YPP), but its flaws will render it vulnerable against ULL. The Green Wave have allowed 33 plays of 30-plus yards to opposing offenses this season, more than all but 22 other teams. That’s a bad weakness to have against the Cajuns, who have ripped off gains of 30-plus yards 40 times this season, tied for ninth-most in the country. Louisiana-Lafayette running back Elijah Mitchell has made 12 of the big plays and should continue to do so and help his team keep the game close, if not win it straight up.
3. If the Cure Bowl comes down to the wire, the Ragin’ Cajuns have the edge in the kicking game. Oklahoma transfer Kyle Pfau was second in the Sun Belt in made FG percentage this season, knocking through 14 of 17 attempts (82.5%). Pfau had a 4-for-4 performance in the Sun Belt Championship in which he nailed a 45-yard kick. Tulane’s kicker, on the other hand, missed a would-be go-ahead kick from only 32 yards out in the fourth quarter of a tie game against Navy. That discrepancy in dependability at a key position is all the more reason to bet ULL to pull out an ATS victory here.
Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette +3.5
Confidence Level: Very High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)