Tuesday night (8:00pm ET) action gets week 9 of the 2012 college football season off to a start with Sun Belt Conference match up featuring the Red Wolves of Arkansas St. (4-3, 2-1 in the Sun Belt) traveling to Lafayette, LA to take on the hose Ragin’ Cajuns of the University of Louisiana Lafayette (4-2, 2-1 in the Sun Belt). Arkansas St. is 3-4 ATS this season, their last game was against South Alabama on October 13th, and they failed to cover a 20.5 point spread in a 36-29 victory. UL Lafayette is 3-3 ATS this season, dropping their last two games ATS including a 30-23 outright loss at North Texas in their last game October 16.
The Arkansas St. offense has excelled under new Head Coach Gus Malzahn, ranking 49th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 31.3 point per game and 35th in total offense with 448.7 yards per game. The offense has been surprisingly balanced considering Malzhan’s reputation as a passing guru, ranking 21st nationally in rushing offense with 217.9 YPG, and 59th in passing offense with 230.9 YPG. The defense has been another story, ranking 81st in scoring defense with 28.9 PPG allowed, but a respectable 54th in total defense with 376.3 YPG allowed. The Achilles heel for the Red Wolves has been their run defense which ranks 105th nationally with 206.3 YPG allowed.
UL Lafayette has been productive on offense with QB Terrance Broadway (877 passing yards, 5 TDs, 219 rushing yards, 4 TDs) directing the attack. The Ragin’ Cajuns rank 32nd among FBS teams in scoring with 35.5 PPG on offense, while ranking in the middle of the pack in total offense with 404.5 YPG (62nd nationally). The defense for UL Lafayette gas been susceptible to the pass, ranking 117th in pass defense with 292.5 YPG allowed while allowing 25.3 PPG (58th nationally) and 422.2 YPG (83rd nationally).
Arkansas St. vs. UL Lafayette Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Arkansas St. Red Wolves +4.5
@ UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns -4.5
Over 61.5 (-110)
Under 61.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Arkansas St. vs. UL Lafayette Pick:
Arkansas St. has gone 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games on the road, 7-3 ATS in their last 10 conference games, but 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games against winning teams. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games against winning teams and 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games on turf. The under is 23-8-1 in the Red Wolves’ last 32 road games, 18-4-2 in their last 24 games against winning teams and 15-5-1 in their last 21 October games. The over is 16-7 in UL Lafayette’s last 23 October games and 6-2 in their last 8 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. In head-to-head play, the under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings at UL Lafayette, and Arkansas’ St. is 0-4 ATS in the last 4 meetings between the two teams. UL Lafayette has won 4 of the last 6 meetings between the two teams outright, last season however the Red Wolves won 30-21 at home and failed to cover an 11 point spread.
These two teams have both had their struggles defensively this season, look for Malzhan to attack the UL Lafayette secondary by throwing the ball more than the Red Wolves have throughout this season. QB Ryan Aplin (1,572 yards passing, 11 TDs, 2 INTs) is more than capable of attacking a weak UL Lafayette secondary, and he should have a big game Tuesday night. UL Lafayette does not have a great running attack, and the fast pace and scoring prowess of the Red Wolves attack will necessitate that they throw the ball in order to keep up, which is not their strong suit offensively. Overall the Red Wolves are the stronger team; this is a group that was able to put up 34 points against Oregon in their opener, and Arkansas St. is the pick here on the road with Malzhan having 10 days to game plan how to attack one of the weakest secondary’s in the country.
PICK = Arkansas St. +4.5