Troy vs Louisiana Odds, Picks: Stellar Defenses to Keep Offenses at Bay
Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Troy head coach Jon Sumrall.
- The Troy Trojans travel to Lafayette to take on the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in a Sun Belt showdown on Saturday.
- Troy sat as a four-point favorite just hours ago, but odds have been moving toward Louisiana, which sits at +3.5
- Check out Dan Keegan's full betting guide for Troy vs Louisiana below.
Troy vs Louisiana Odds
Louisiana has reigned over the Sun Belt West in recent years. However, longtime quarterback Levi Lewis moved on, Billy Napier went to Florida and a number of talented players hit the transfer portal.
Head coach Michael Desormeaux’s first year in Lafayette has been rocky, and they have ceded control over the division they once dominated.
Troy has been the team to take advantage. The Trojans slid over from the East in the conference’s expansion and must be loving life in the easier West division. Troy sits in first place in the division and holds the tiebreaker over South Alabama.
The Trojans have an excellent defense — it's the best in the Group of Five and better than most Power Five schools. They have struggled offensively, but with a unit as strong as their defense on the other side of the ball, the goal is to do just enough to win — and they’ve been able to do that.
Louisiana’s offense has cratered out, but the defense is rock solid. Overall, this is not the same quality outfit it has been in recent memory.
So, is Troy favored by four points the clear play? Or is there some other way to approach this matchup? Let’s find out.
First year head coach Jon Sumrall has done wonders with this program, injecting fight and life into a talented, but underperforming roster. The defense has been downright dominant and ranks 15th in the country in SP+.
Troy has played three SP+ top-40 offenses in Ole Miss, App State and WKU. Those teams found the end zone, as good offenses do, but all were held under their season average. The non-elite offenses were held to 10.8 points per game.
Louisiana’s offense is squarely in that latter category, ranking 92nd in offensive SP+. Troy’s defense is balanced, equally top 50 in both EPA/pass and EPA/rush. They just don’t let you have good drives on them and rank 13th in ECKEL rate, meaning they prevent scoring opportunities at an elite rate.
This is their biggest advantage in the matchup. Troy doesn’t let opponents have scoring opportunities and Louisiana is 121st in the country in points per ECKEL. The Ragin' Cajuns are ill-equipped to capitalize on the limited opportunities they will manage against Troy.
The defense is fast and athletic in the front, which shuts down running games and creates problems for passers. They are led by linebacker Carlton Martial, who is closing in on the career FBS record for tackles.
Troy’s offense will be led by either Gunnar Watson or Jarret Doege. Watson started the year, but injuries have forced the veteran Doege into the lineup. Neither is particularly effective and Troy’s offense ranks 75th in EPA/Pass and 117th in EPA/Rush.
It’s been a rough start to the Desormeaux era. The Ragin' Cajuns are 4-4 and in danger of missing a bowl after winning their division in each of the past four years. They are only 1-3 in division games and lost to rival UL-Monroe for the first time since 2017.
The offense has never gotten off the mat this season. Desormeaux started with a two-quarterback rotation featuring Chandler Fields and Ben Wooldridge. However, Fields got hurt so Wooldridge now has the first chair.
The running game, which was so dominant in the Napier era, has struggled. Chris Smith is the leading rusher with only 311 yards on the season, and the Cajuns are 104th in rush success rate.
This offense will struggle mightily against Troy's defense.
Louisiana has kept up the solid defensive play. Last week, it allowed 39 points to a struggling Southern Miss offense, which was jarring. But otherwise, it's have been solid. It sports a solid pass rush, and like Troy, excel at preventing opponents from finishing drives.
Troy vs Louisiana Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Troy and Louisiana match up statistically:
Troy Offense vs. Louisiana Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Louisiana Offense vs. Troy Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||18||64|
|Seconds per Play||28.1 (99)||25.5 (45)|
|Rush Rate||50.4% (81)||48.8% (91)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Troy vs Louisiana Betting Pick
The Sun Belt has some fun offenses — Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina, James Madison and others all have high-flying attacks.
But some of the other teams — Marshall, Southern Miss and each of these squads — are perfectly content to duke it out in rock fights.
Both defenses are strong in the red zone, and both offenses will sputter out in limited chances.
These offenses don’t have a chance in this game. I’ll take under 43, and play it down to the key number of 41.