College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Louisiana vs. Liberty: Roll with Flames over Ragin’ Cajuns

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Louisiana vs. Liberty: Roll with Flames over Ragin’ Cajuns article feature image
Credit:

G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Malik Willis

  • Louisiana travels to Lynchburg, VA to take on the Liberty Flames.
  • The Ragin' Cajuns are 9-1 but they haven't necessarily looked strong in recent weeks.
  • Kyle Remillard explains why Liberty's bye week will help them cover.

Louisiana vs. Liberty Odds

Saturday, Nov. 20
4 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Louisiana Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-105
53.5
-110o / -110u
+155
Liberty Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-115
53.5
-110o / -110u
-180
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Liberty Flames play their second ranked opponent in a row as they welcome the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns to Lynchburg.

The Flames had a bye week after the program was defeated 14-27 by Hugh Freeze’s alma mater in Ole Miss. The Flames are 7-3 on the season and have outscored opponents by an average margin of 17 points per game. Liberty’s losses came to Ole Miss, Syracuse, and as 30-point favorites to UL-Monroe.

Getting healthy and figuring out a game plan to help protect Malik Willis was the focal point of the bye week for Freeze.

Louisiana lost the season opener to Texas but has since ripped off nine wins in a row. They’ve breezed through the cake walk that is the Sun Belt East division. According to PFF, the Ragin Cajuns have faced the 123rd ranked strength of schedule to date.

Liberty has been dominant at home this season with an undefeated record, and the Flames will look to continue that streak against the leaders of the Sun Belt.


Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

The Ragin’ Cajuns have dominated the Sun Belt East Division and are winners of nine in a row, but that win streak will be tested this week.

Louisiana has outscored its opponents by an average of 12 points per game this season but has barely survived some of the bottom teams in the country, according to Collin Wilson’s power ratings.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are led by quarterback Levi Lewis who has averaged 7.4 yards per pass attempt while throwing 15 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He has proven more than capable to take off and use his legs when needed, but Liberty has done well this season when facing off against dual-threat quarterbacks.

The Cajuns own a Rush Rate of 57.6% through a two headed monster in the backfield in Chris Smith and Montrell Johnson. The two have averaged 5.9 yards per carry while punching in a combined 18 touchdowns.

Louisiana’s defense will have its tallest task of the season in slowing down Malik Willis. The defense has ranked 41st in Rushing Success Rate and 39th in passing Success Rate. They have proven vulnerable from preventing Big Plays which will be an area for concern against the explosive Flames offense.

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Liberty Flames

Protecting Malik Willis has been a point of emphasis coming off the bye week for Hugh Freeze. The offensive line is an experienced group that’s comprised of four super seniors and a junior, but that group has allowed 38 sacks which ranks 126th in the nation. Willis was sacked nine times in the loss to Ole Miss and six times earlier in the loss to Syracuse.

Willis is a presumed first round pick in the 2022 NFL draft. He’s led the Flames to the 34th ranked Passing Success Rate while the Flames are sixth in Big Plays. He’s averaged 9.2 yards per pass attempt while tossing 21 touchdowns. He’s also been effective as a rusher by averaging 4.9 yards per carry and punching in another 10 touchdowns with his legs.

The Flames own the 18th Rushing Success Rate and rank fifth in Line Yards behind that experienced offensive line. The group will have a strong edge over the Cajuns defensive line that ranks 101st in Line Yards and averages 2.5 sacks per game.

Defensively, Liberty has held opponents to 18.7 points per game and just over 300 yards of total offense per game. The group has allowed 4.6 yards per play, which ranks 13th in the nation. They’ve been strong against the run holding opponents to 3.6 yards per rush and 6.6 yards per pass attempt, both ranking inside the top 25. The defense ranks second in the nation in creating Havoc, which could be a difference maker in this matchup.


Louisiana vs. Liberty Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Louisiana and Liberty match up statistically:

Louisiana Offense vs. Liberty Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 19 46
Line Yards 37 82
Pass Success 79 18
Pass Blocking** 19 17
Big Play 27 31
Havoc 32 2
Finishing Drives 27 33
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Liberty Offense vs. Louisiana Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 18 41
Line Yards 5 101
Pass Success 34 39
Pass Blocking** 60 75
Big Play 6 83
Havoc 91 69
Finishing Drives 15 24
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 98 59
Coverage 52 60
Middle 8 56 17
SP+ Special Teams 64 99
Plays per Minute 65 101
Rush Rate 57.6% (48) 60.4% (25)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Louisiana vs. Liberty Betting Pick

Louisiana’s 9-1 record is deceiving based on its lack of competition this season. The Rajin’ Cajuns have barely survived five different opponents that rank near the bottom in the country. Facing off against Malik Willis and the Liberty offense coming off a bye will be the most dynamic challenge yet for the Louisiana defense.

Coach Hugh Freeze said he spent more time with the offensive line over the last two weeks than any time during his tenure at the school. He will have the group firing on all cylinders, and I anticipate one of the best games of the year from the offensive line.

Liberty hung with Ole Miss last time out and gained 30 first downs while putting up over 450 yards of total offense. The Flames averaged 6.7 yards per pass attempt and 5.2 yards per rush attempt in that matchup. I anticipate an even better effort from Liberty against a Louisiana team that will be outmatched when it finally “picks on someone its own size.”

Pick: Liberty -4.5 (Play to -5)

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