Eastern Michigan vs. Louisiana Odds, Picks: Betting Value on Week 2 Underdog
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Creighton (Eastern Michigan)
- The Eastern Michigan Eagles head down to Lafayette to take on the new-look Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns.
- The Eagles enter as double-digit underdogs, but Stuckey sees betting value on them.
- Check out Stuckey's full betting guide below, complete with updated odds and a pick.
Eastern Michigan vs. Louisiana Odds
After both teams escaped Week 1 with underwhelming victories against FCS opponents, we will learn much more in this non-conference matchup on Saturday night.
After an uber-impressive three seasons, Louisiana will try to avoid a drop-off after losing head coach Billy Napier (and a number of assistants), quarterback Levi Lewis and a host of key contributors from last year’s team.
Believe it or not, Louisiana holds the nation’s longest winning streak at 14 games — seven more than the second-longest.
Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan will try to build on a 7-6 campaign, matching the most wins in a season since the Eagles last won the MAC way back in 1989.
Head Coach Chris Creighton has undoubtedly exceeded expectations in Ypsilanti as part of one of the toughest coaching jobs in the country.
Creighton will now try to take this program to the next level, starting with an elusive division title and his first bowl win.
While the Ragin’ Cajuns have won four straight division titles, the Eagles remain the only MAC team that hasn’t played in the conference title game, which has been played since 1997.
Where does the betting value lie in this matchup? Let’s take a closer look.
Eastern Michigan has struggled to establish any consistent rushing attack in recent seasons, but that could change in 2022 with decent depth and talent in the backfield.
It also returns four starters along the offensive line, including two potential All-MAC performers in guard Sidy Sow and tackle Brian Dooley.
The Eagles have no concerns on the outside with their top four receivers returning, led by Dylan Drummond and Hassan Beydoun. The latter broke the program’s single-season receptions record last season.
They do need to replace two productive tight ends, including Thomas Odukoya, who’s now with the Tennessee Titans.
Last year’s top two quarterbacks (Preston Hutchinson and Ben Bryant) both transferred.
In response, Creighton hit the portal and brought in former Missouri and Troy signal-caller Taylor Powell. He has the arm talent to succeed with this wide receiver corps and looked fairly comfortable in a successful debut last week.
The 4-2-5 defense will likely struggle once again, especially against the run with its undersized front. Pro prospect Jose Ramirez is a menace off the edge, but he needs help. Boston College transfer Joe Sparacio should help against the run, but may struggle in coverage.
Overall, this is a well-coached team that won’t beat itself with penalties or turnovers. However, special teams could be an issue after a great deal of attrition in that department.
It’s a bit of a rebuild in the bayou for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who must replace three-year starting quarterback Lewis, two-thirds of their running back rotation and all but one starter from a very strong offensive line.
The pass catchers are experienced, but there will be growing pains early on for this offense, which only had a 41% Success Rate against FCS Southeast Louisiana in Week 1.
In the opener, Chandler Fields got the start under center, with Fresno State transfer Ben Wooldridge rotating in for a few possessions. Head coach Michael Desormeaux, who took over prior to Louisiana’s bowl game last year, stated he will stick with that plan this week.
I’m not high on either signal caller, and I am never a fan of teams rotating two quarterbacks, which really stymies the rhythm either can get into.
Defensively, the Ragin’ Cajuns also lost a number of key pieces at every level — including stud defensive tackle Tayland Humphrey — and their top two linebackers — including top-sack man Chauncey Manac, who recently got released by the Green Bay Packers.
The secondary also must replace safety Percy Butler (drafted in the fourth round by the Washington Commanders) and Mekhi Garner, who’s now starting at LSU.
Throw in a hamstring injury to projected starting corner Trey Amos — who didn’t play last week — and this secondary has more questions than answers.
If Amos isn’t ready to go this week, ULL would be without its five highest rated defenders from last season’s stout unit.
While Eric Garror has one cornerback spot locked up, and Zi’Yon Hill-Green should create problems for opposing interior offensive lines, expect a drop in overall defensive efficiency.
While the special teams should be a strength, the overall team has definitely fallen significantly in my power ratings.
Eastern Michigan vs. Louisiana Betting Pick
During his time at EMU, Creighton has excelled ATS as an underdog, going 34-25-1 (57.6%). That includes a 24-12-1 ATS (66.7%) record on the road, making him the eighth-most profitable coach since 2005 in that situation out of 547 coaches in our database.
Those splits shouldn’t surprise anybody familiar with Eastern Michigan under Creighton. The Eagles have played an inordinate amount of one-possession games in recent seasons.
Amazingly, 44 of their past 68 games (64.7%) have been decided by single digits. Out of their past 61 games, only 11 have been losses by double-digits.
You probably could’ve guessed the only team (Nebraska) with more one-possession losses since 2018.
Coming into the season, I was higher than the market on EMU (which I took a shot on to win the MAC) and lower on Louisiana. Therefore, I was not surprised to see value on the underdog in this game, which I make slightly under a touchdown.
Plus, I never mind backing Creighton catching double-digits.
Expect continued struggles for the Louisiana offense even against a subpar EMU defense.
Meanwhile, the talented EMU receivers should find enough success against an inexperienced secondary to stay within striking distance throughout.