AutoNation Cure Bowl, which takes place in Orlando.
Let’s dive right in and break this game down in full detail, starting with the game line.
Tulane vs. Louisiana, 1:30 PM EST, Sat. December 15, CBSSN
Tulane vs. Louisiana pick:
Tulane needed a victory in tis final game of the regular season to secure bowl eligibility. The Green Wave got the job done, but it was a squeaker as they walked off the field with a 29-28 victory.
Louisiana crossed eligibility off of its to-do list earlier and made it as far as the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game, where they would fall by a score of 30-19 to Appalachian State, a game which they entered as 17-point underdogs.
|Record||Conf. Rec.||PF||PA||Streak||Standings||CFP Rank|
As the 6-6 record indicates, Tulane has been a middle of the road squad in 2018 for the most part, but the squad did engineer a turnaround after starting off the year with a mark of 1-3. Fortunes began to change with a big 40-24 victory, and the Green Wave would close out the season with a stretch that saw them go 4-3.
The start of the year was very similar for Louisiana, who also started off with a record of 1-3. The Ragin’ Cajuns would win two straight from that point to turn things around. A 1-2 stretch would follow, but Louisiana closed out the regular season strong with a three-game winning streak. That was enough to help them take down the Sun Belt West division and earn a ticket to the conference title tilt.
Louisiana gets the edge on offense and shows more balance in that facet than their opponent. While Tulane has a slight overall edge defensively, the team is vulnerable to the pass. The Green Wave also do a much better job on pressure, but the Ragin’ Cajuns are more effective in protecting their own signal caller. The turnover battle provides no distinct edge, while Louisiana has shown more discipline from a penalty yards per game basis.
Since 2012, these two teams have hooked up three times. Tulane is 1-2 straight up and against the spread over that span, with the Under coming out twice. The most recent meeting took place in 2016 at Tulane.
The Green Wave entered the game as three-point favorites in a game with a projected total of 46.5 points. The Over/Under was off the mark, as the game devolved into a bit of a shootout which was won by Tulane by a final score of 41-39.
Tulane’s last bowl appearance was back in 2013 against this same Louisiana team. The Ragin’ Cajuns were victorious in the New Orleans Bowl by a score of 24-21. Louisiana last went bowling in 2016, a 28-21 loss to Southern Miss, also in the New Orleans Bowl.
For last year’s edition of the Cure Bowl, Georgia State faced off with Western Kentucky and walked off the field with a 27-17 victory. Interestingly, the Under has been the correct call for each of the last three Cure Bowls.
As the tight 3.5-point spread indicates, these squads are pretty evenly matched. While the Ragin’ Cajuns have the edge on offense, the Green Wave are a little better on defense. Louisiana also gets the nod for recent play, as they closed out the regular season strong with three straight wins before falling to Appalachian State in the conference title game.
That said, Tulane definitely turned things around as the season came to a close. The team won four of its last five, a marked improvement from their mid-year record of 2-5. There are no common opponents to dissect for 2018, but the respective strength of schedules were in the same ballpark.
As we see it, the extra game for Louisiana gives them a slight edge on the momentum front. While they came up short in the Sun Belt title game, they actually played a tough Appalachian State squad better than expected. We’ll look for them to build off of that game and deliver another strong performance.
On a straight-up basis, this one looks like a veritable toss-up. We don’t see Tulane being more than a field goal better on a neutral field.
We’ll take Louisiana plus the points in what looks to be an entertaining game.