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Louisiana vs Texas State Odds, Picks: Target the Total

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James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Louisiana running back Chris Smith.

Louisiana vs Texas State Odds

Saturday, Nov. 26
5 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Louisiana Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-4.5
-110
44
-110o / -110u
-200
Texas State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+4.5
-110
44
-110o / -110u
+170
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Texas State hosts Louisiana in the Sun Belt finale on Saturday.

Bobcats head coach Jake Spavital has been battling hot-seat rumors for over a year now, and while his team can not make a bowl, they could earn the program’s first-ever win over Sun Belt bullies Louisiana.

For Louisiana, a bowl berth is on the line – a swift fall from the double-digit win heights of the Billy Napier era. Michael Desormeaux took the reins to keep the program in-house, but he ceded control of the West division to Troy and South Alabama in his first year.

Neither team has much momentum on offense. Louisiana is still one of the better Sun Belt defenses, and Texas State has quietly built a salty unit on that side of the ball, too.

So, should we back the under, or is there another angle to play?

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Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

After the heights of the Napier Era — four straight Sun Belt West titles, two straight conference titles, three straight bowl wins — the first year with Desormeaux must feel like a disappointment in Lafayette.

Promoted in-house to keep Napier’s momentum going, Desormeaux has instead been on the sidelines while the offense has collapsed, and the team needs a win in the final week to eke out bowl eligibility.

The quarterback position has been a cause for concern. Replacing multi-year starter Levi Lewis was not going to be an easy proposition, but it has been even more difficult than expected.

Chandler Fields and Ben Woolridge began the year in a rotation, trading off drives in the hopes one would seize the job. That never materialized, and when Fields missed time with an injury, Woolridge ascended to first chair with improving results.

But he is now done for the season, and Fields will start Saturday in San Marcos.

Fields has completed 55.4% of his passes for 762 yards, with eight touchdowns and three interceptions.

He is not much of a downfield threat, with only an 8.4 aDot, and more importantly, he struggles with pressure, with 21.7% of pressures ending in sacks (Woolridge’s is half of that). This could be an issue against an excellent Texas State pass rush.

The offense has struggled in most facets, ranking 70th in EPA/rush and 102nd in EPA/pass. They can connect on some big plays, ranking 66th in explosiveness, but struggle with efficiency (104th in FBS).

The Cajuns struggle to make the most of the few drives they build. They rank 76th in ECKEL rate, Parker Fleming’s metric that measures how often teams create scoring opportunities, and what they do with them. That figure is low, but their points per ECKEL is even worse, checking in at 115th overall.

This is painting a bleak picture, but the defense is still solid for the Ragin Cajuns. They are 31st in defensive EPA and 33rd in defensive SP+. Zi’Yon Hill-Green anchors an excellent defensive line, and the pass coverage is remarkable, grading sixth in the country in PFF’s numbers.

This balanced defense should have a good day against a struggling Bobcats offense.


Texas State Bobcats

The Jake Spavital era has not gone well for Texas State. He has won only 13 total games in almost four full seasons at the helm. Recruiting — particularly in-state — has been poor, and Spavital has instead relied on aggressive portalling rather than developing high school pipelines.

The overall results are poor, and the offense is one of the worst in FBS, but a decent defense has been constructed in San Marcos.

Layne Hatcher, a transfer from fellow Sun Belt West member Arkansas State, is the quarterback. He earned his revenge last week, leading a game-winning drive against his old teammates as the Bobcats moved to 4-7 on the season.

Texas State is one of the most pass-happy teams in the country, yet they are 104th in EPA/Pass.

It’s hard to find anything this offense thrives at. They are middle of the pack for FBS in efficiency when rushing, but most metrics are near the bottom of the country. Lincoln Pare and Calvin Hill are the primary ballcarriers, but their combined 220 totes have gone for only 3.96 yards each.

This is another offense that struggles to create drives and finish them. They rank 110th in ECKEL rate, near the bottom of the country in creating scoring opportunities, and a woeful 103rd in points per ECKEL.

The defense is the best unit here, particularly up front, where they excel at getting after the passer. The front is also stout against the run: 22nd in the country in Success Rate against rushing attacks and 49th against explosive rushes. The transfer portal additions to the front seven such as Levi Bell, Brian Holloway and others are clearly paying dividends for this defense.

The secondary is strong at taking away explosive pass plays — 26th in the country — which is Louisiana’s passing strength.


Louisiana vs Texas State Matchup Analysis

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

Louisiana Offense vs. Texas State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 71 22
Line Yards 27 41
Pass Success 117 64
Pass Blocking** 83 3
Havoc 48 45
Finishing Drives 92 35
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Texas State Offense vs. Louisiana Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 56 91
Line Yards 121 95
Pass Success 123 40
Pass Blocking** 22 71
Havoc 94 83
Finishing Drives 81 49
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 57 57
PFF Coverage 6 21
SP+ Special Teams 59 41
Seconds per Play 25.4 (43) 26.4 (64)
Rush Rate 50.5% (88) 45.3% (113)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Louisiana vs Texas State Betting Pick

Louisiana will be playing for bowl eligibility, though that feels like the bare minimum for a program regressing from its recent achievements. Texas State will be looking to protect its home turf on Senior Night.

Both defenses hold advantages over the opposing offenses, both in metrics and in matchups. Neither offense has sustained drives nor finished them at an even average rate during this season.

Louisiana’s offense will be in worse shape with Fields under center instead of the emerging Ben Woolridge. I don’t mind taking Texas State and the points; they are getting 5.5 points at home and our power ratings say it should be closer to 2.

I don’t see either team having success moving the ball consistently, and both defenses should minimize the big play chances. I like the under as my favorite play here at 45.5, and I would play it to 44.

Pick: Under 45.5 (Play to 44)

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