Louisiana Tech vs. Missouri Odds, Picks: College Football Betting Guide & Predictions for Thursday
Via Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) before the snap late in the fourth quarter of an SEC football game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and Missouri Tigers on Nov 13, 2021 at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, MO.
- Missouri takes on Louisiana Tech as a heavy favorite.
- The Bulldogs begin a new era under head coach Sonny Cumbie, and inherits a team that won just three games last year.
- Brad Cunningham breaks down the matchup and offers up a best bet.
Louisiana Tech vs. Missouri Odds
|Louisiana Tech Odds|
-112o / -108u
-112o / -108u
Louisiana Tech begins a new era under Sonny Cumbie, who was the Texas Tech offensive coordinator and interim coach for the final five games last year.
He inherits a program that won just three games in 2021, but this was a program that in 2019 went 10-3. We'll see if Cumbie can get the Bulldogs back to being one of the Conference USA's elite.
Missouri is coming off a 6-7 season in Eli Drinkwitz's second season in charge. The Tigers have a lot to replace on the offensive side of the ball and look destined to finish the season near the bottom of the SEC East.
Matthew Downing Leads Louisiana Tech Offense
Cumbie brings over a new Air Raid offense to Louisiana Tech, which he did not employ in Lubbock last season, as the Red Raiders ran the ball 51% of the time and were 73rd in plays per minute.
That wasn't the typical fast-paced, Air-Raid style you'd expect from Cumbie, but a lot of that had to do with Tyler Shough getting hurt during the season.
He also brings over Matthew Downing — who was a backup in his system at TCU in 2020 — and just named him the starter for the opener.
Sources: Louisiana Tech has informed Matthew Downing that he’ll be the team’s starting quarterback. He’s a redshirt junior who played at both Georgia and TCU prior to La Tech. Louisiana Tech opens at Missouri next Thursday (Sept. 1) on ESPNU.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 22, 2022
Downing has hardly played over his career, but he knows the system Cumbie wants to run.
The good news for Bulldogs fans is that he'll have a slew of great receivers to work with. Smoke Harris and Tre Harris return after putting up 75+ PFF Receiving Grades in 2021. In a new Air Raid system, these two should put up way better numbers in 2022.
The rushing attack was non-existent for the Bulldogs last season as it ranked outside the top 90 in Rushing Success Rate, EPA/Rush and Offensive Line Yards. The new Air Raid system will hopefully end the need for a consistent rushing attack.
The offensive line is more experienced than last season — with three starters back — and the addition of Memphis transfer Isaac Ellis brings the Bulldogs to 85 starts across the offensive line.
Bulldogs' Defense Should Improve Under Scott Parker
Louisiana Tech was a mess defensively last year. The defense finished the season 103rd in EPA/Play, 102nd in Success Rate Allowed, 109th in Finishing Drives Allowed and allowed 5.9 yards per play.
The Bulldogs consequently brought in Stephen F. Austin's defensive coordinator Scott Parker. When Parker arrived at Stephen F. Austin, the Lumberjacks were near the bottom in Total Defense, but in his third year, they were in the top 15 in the FCS.
Eight starters return, including all four defensive lineman, so they should improve against the run after being outside the top 100 in Defensive Line Yards, Stuff Rate and Rushing Explosiveness Allowed.
The secondary brings back four starters, and even though they allowed teams to methodically move the ball last year, the Bulldogs were seventh nationally in Explosive Passing Allowed.
So, under a solid defensive coordinator, Louisiana Tech could give Missouri some trouble.
Tigers' Offensive Ceiling Will Be Determined By Brady Cook's Play
If I could describe Missouri's offense in 2021 in one word, it would be "average." The Tigers were 54th in Success Rate, 91st in EPA/Play and 61st in Finishing Drives.
Drinkwitz has a new starting quarterback, too, in Brady Cook, who started the bowl game against Army.
Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz names sophomore Brady Cook as Mizzou's starting QB for Sept. 1 season opener vs. Louisiana Tech. Cook's only career start came in last year's Armed Forces Bowl loss to Army
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 10, 2022
In that game, Cook played alright, going 27-for-34 with one touchdown, but his PFF Passing grade was 65.6, and he had no Big Time Throws with one Turnover Worthy Play.
He was a three-star recruit coming out of high school, so it's hard to imagine Missouri's offense taking big leaps forward.
However, Missouri does have the No. 3 overall recruit and top wide receiver in the 2022 class, Luther Burden, and he is an absolute stud.
LUTHER BURDEN. WOW.
65-YARD TD ON THE FIRST PLAY OF THE GAME❗️ pic.twitter.com/tMrOx9iikY
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2022
He will instantly improve the Missouri passing attack that was 60th in Passing Success Rate and 89th in EPA/Pass.
Missouri is losing its top back Tyler Badie, and replacing his production will be a challenge. Last season, Badie totaled 1,664 rushing yards, averaged 6.0 yards per carry and had 14 touchdowns.
Drinkwitz brought in Stanford transfer Nathaniel Peat — who saw limited action last season while gaining 5.1 yards per carry — but it will likely be a three-back rotation.
Missouri also has four offensive linemen with starting experience, so this offense being successful is truly going to come down to Cook at quarterback.
Tigers' Defense Can Only Get Better
It's hard to put into words how truly terrible Missouri's defense was last year. The Tigers allowed their opponents to gain 6.1 yards per play (105th in FBS), were 117th in EPA/Play Allowed, 104th in Success Rate Allowed, 115th in Third Down Conversion Rate and 120th in Finishing Drives Allowed.
They return eight starters from that horrendous defense, and defending the run will still be an issue.
Missouri lost both of its starting defensive tackles from a line that was 87th in defensive Line Yards, 120th in EPA/Rush and 106th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.
To make matters worse, they lose their top linebacker and leading tackler Blaze Alldredge, so the front seven has a lot of question marks.
The secondary gets back six guys with starting experience, but this is still the same secondary that allowed opposing quarterbacks to average 8.3 yards per attempt against them last season.
Louisiana Tech vs. Missouri Betting Pick
Missouri looks like it's about to turn a corner offensively with all of the weapons it has, but it's all going to come down to if Cook can perform at a high level.
After being one of the worst in the Power 5 last year on defense, the Tigers still have some growing pains ahead.
As a result, Cumbie's Air Raid system with talented wide receivers should move the ball and keep Louisiana Tech within the number here.
I only have Missouri projected at -13.4, so I like the value on Louisiana Tech to cover at +20 (DraftKings) and would play this down to +17.