College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Louisiana vs. Troy: Expect Defenses to Dominate

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Louisiana vs. Troy: Expect Defenses to Dominate article feature image
Credit:

Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Levi Lewis.

  • Louisiana has won eight games in a row but is coming off a less than stellar game vs. Georgia State at home.
  • After only losing by seven to Coastal Carolina, Troy bounced back nicely, defeating South Alabama at home.
  • Shawn Burns breaks down this Sun Belt affair and offers up his top selection for the matchup.

Louisiana vs. Troy Odds

Saturday, Nov. 13
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Louisiana Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-7
+100
48.5
-110o / -110u
-255
Troy Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+7
-120
48.5
-110o / -110u
+200
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Louisiana travels to Troy in an important Sun Belt Conference matchup. Louisiana has already clinched a spot in the championship game, while Troy still has an outside shot to win the Sun Belt East Division.

The Ragin’ Cajuns have won eight games in a row since their opening loss at Texas, but five of those victories have been by one score or less. Louisiana is only 3-6 against the spread (ATS) and 0-4 on the road this season. It has accomplished the most important goal, which is winning games, but not as decisively as many have predicated.

Troy has won four out of five games, with the only loss at Coastal Carolina in a game they were competitive throughout and lost 35-28. Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson, who has split time with Taylor Powell this year, left the game last week against South Alabama and didn’t return with a head injury.

Powell is a quality quarterback, but Watson has provided a spark for the Trojans the past four games. Troy had multiple starters banged up last week, so it will be imperative they are healthy against one of the elite teams in the conference.

Louisiana Solid On Both Sides Of Ball

Head coach Billy Napier has done an incredible job at ULL. He has a 36-12 overall record and has led the Ragin’ Cajuns to three consecutive Sun Belt Conference title games. His name will once again be mentioned for numerous Power 5 coaching jobs after the season.

Quarterback Levi Lewis is the leader of the team, and the senior quarterback is a clutch player who has started 34 consecutive games. Lewis is a talented passer, but ULL is a run-first offense that has a strong offensive line and group of talented running backs, led by Chirs Smith and Montrell Johnson. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 27th in the country in rushing yards per game and they average over five yards a carry.

Billy Napier isn’t afraid to take chances, and he trusts his team and his quarterback in key fourth-down situations. ULL has converted on 14 of 20 attempts on fourth down, so Troy will need to be prepared to play all four downs on defense.

Louisiana defensively only allows 19 points per game which is 19th in the nation, and they are ranked 45th in total defense. Last week, Georgia State had great success on the ground against the Cajuns, rushing for over 200 yards.

Troy is ninth in the conference in rushing offense and doesn’t present the same type of ground threat. That means Louisiana’s front seven should be able to hold their own against the Troy rushing attack. Trojans starting tailback Kimani Vidal’s availability is unclear after leaving last week’s game with an injury. If he isn’t cleared to play, the majority of carries will fall to senior B.J. Smith.

Louisiana has been impressive against the pass, allowing under 200 yards per game through the air while ranking 30th in the country in defensive pass success rate. Whether it’s Watson or Powell at quarterback for Troy, either is going to have his hands full with the ULL defense.

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Troy Wins With Defense

Troy has struggled this season offensively, even with the emergence of Gunnar Watson at quarterback. The Trojans are 100th in total offense and they average 26 points per game. They throw the ball on 54% of their offensive snaps but are only 76th in pass success rate.

Troy’s rushing numbers are even worse — the Trojans are 115th in the country in rushing yards per game and average only 3.75 yards per carry. They have talented backs in Smith and Vidal, but they haven’t been able to consistently move the ball on the ground.

The Troy defense plays an aggressive and disruptive scheme that is predicated on getting penetration behind the line of scrimmage. They are one of the top defenses in the country allowing only 21 points per game and they are ranked 13th in total defense.

The Trojans are tied for the most sacks in the nation with Marshall and Ohio State and have forced 19 total turnovers through nine games. ULL averages over 200 yards per game rushing and Troy has the top rushing defense in the conference. Something will have to give, and this has the makings of a heavyweight battle in the trenches. Whomever gets the upper hand will take control of the game.

Troy has two of the top defensive players in the conference in Javon Solomon and Carlton Martial. Solomon leads the conference in sacks with 10, while Martial is tied for sixth in the country in tackles with 92 stops on the season. They both need to be accounted for on every play for ULL to sustain offensive success.


Louisiana vs. Troy Matchup Analysis

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

Louisiana Offense vs. Troy Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 20 13
Line Yards 31 12
Pass Success 75 39
Pass Blocking** 18 40
Big Play 53 54
Havoc 36 8
Finishing Drives 31 50
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Troy Offense vs. Louisiana Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 97 52
Line Yards 108 111
Pass Success 76 30
Pass Blocking** 39 66
Big Play 71 28
Havoc 42 95
Finishing Drives 113 21
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 96 51
Coverage 82 38
Middle 8 72 56
SP+ Special Teams 77 63
Plays per Minute 60 60
Rush Rate 56.5% (54) 48.2% (109)

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


Louisiana vs. Troy Betting Pick

This will be a game dominated by both defenses. Neither team plays with much tempo, and Troy has injuries to key positions on the offensive side of the ball.  If Gunnar Watson doesn’t play for Troy, I like this play even more. ULL is 1-8 to the under this season, and I believe that trend will continue.

As of Thursday, you can get the total at 48.5 on PointsBet.

Pick: Under 48.5 (play to 48)

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