College Football Odds, Prediction, Pick for Ohio vs. Louisiana: Thursday’s Betting Value on Cats (September 16)
Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. De’Montre Tuggle.
College Football Week 3 Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
We kick off college football Week 3 with two teams looking to bounce back after disappointing performances last time out.
The Ohio Bobcats travel to Lafayette to battle the Louisana Ragin’ Cajuns in prime time.
The Bobcats are coming off a tragic upset.
They lost to Duquesne as 28.5-point favorites last week. Though the loss is disappointing, the Bobcats did a few things very well, and this quick turnaround could be just what they need.
Duquesne dominated Ohio in time of possession, but when the Bobcats offense had the ball, they were very successful. They averaged 6.7 yards per play but ran only 46 plays.
The majority of that success was on the ground, as they averaged 5.8 yards per rush and broke off multiple long gains.
The issue in their matchup against Duquesne was consistency. The Bobcats managed to get on the board early and then rally late. They did not score in either of the second or third quarters.
Their inability to sustain drives put them at a disadvantage. This was magnified by being unable to convert on third down, where Ohio only moved the chains once in six tries.
This offense showed just how explosive it can be, but it will need to be more consistent against the Ragin’ Cajuns to pick up a win.
The inefficiencies of the offense were reflected on it by the Bobcats defense. Ohio’s defense has not played all that badly. The unit has held both of its opponents to an average of 5.3 yards per play and has been stingy against the passing attack.
What is plaguing the defense is its missed opportunities to get off the field. The Cats are allowing their opponents to possess the ball an average of six minutes longer than their own offense.
Syracuse and Duquesne combined to convert 54% of their attempts on third down.
This was glaring in their loss to Duquesne, as they allowed drives of 66, 68, 75, and 93 yards. All of them led to scores. The Bobcats have to find ways to get stops and give their offense more opportunities.
Billy Napier’s squad is fortunate to be 1-1 after narrowly defeating Nicholls State as 26-point favorites.
Louisiana is a heavy favorite again in this clash with Ohio. Will they begin to look like the Ragin’ Cajuns of last year? Only time can tell.
Ragin’ Cajuns Offense
After putting up nearly 34 points per game and over 420 yards per game in 2020, the Louisiana offense has shown substantial regression this season.
Much of the Ragin’ Cajuns struggles can be attributed largely to the run game. The Louisiana offense has averaged only 2.8 yards per carry. But that number does not reflect the work of starter Chris Smith, who has averaged a respectable 4.5 yards per carry.
Napier likes to deploy a multi-headed backfield, and that has led to Smith only getting seven more carries than the next back behind him.
Another weapon missing from the offense is the rushing from quarterback Levi Lewis. Last season, he rushed for 335 yards and five touchdowns. This year, he has only 12 attempts and has lost 12 more yards than he’s gained.
Lewis has fared well as a passer, but his rushing ability can make this offense dynamic.
Napier will need to design more plays for Lewis to run or lean more on Smith to carry to the ball because doing neither so far has hurt the offense.
Ragin’ Cajuns Defense
The Ragin’ Cajuns defense was done no favors by beginning the year against Texas.
The Longhorns’ explosive passing game put Louisiana behind fast, as it allowed over 14 yards per completion. Though the offensive effort by the Ragin’ Cajuns was valiant, they could never catch up.
Louisiana had the chance to be on the other side of a mismatch in its game against Nicholls State. The Colonels gave it all it could handle.
The Louisiana defense allowed 511 yards of offense. It couldn’t stop quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr., who threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns while adding 121 yards on the ground. His connection with receiver Dai’Jean Dixon gave the Cajuns fits all day. Dixon scored twice while racking up 198 yards over 14 receptions.
This performance is very troubling coming from a unit that returned 10 starters — a unit that last season allowed only 22 points per game and 355 yards of total offense.
Louisiana will now have to make drastic adjustments heading into a short week to get the ship heading in the right direction.
Ohio vs. Louisiana Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Ohio and Louisiana match up statistically:
Ohio Offense vs. Louisiana Defense
Louisiana Offense vs. Ohio Defense
Pace of Play / Other
These two programs match up very well, as the metrics portray — though Ohio holds some key edges that will allow it to keep this contest tight.
The Bobcats will hold the advantage in the trenches on both sides of the ball. This will allow them to slow down the Ragin’ Cajun running attack while also allowing their own quarterback to create explosive plays on the offensive side of the ball with a slower pass rush.
The Bobcats secondary has also done a great job in coverage. This defense will challenge Louisiana’s Lewis to make plays.
Ohio vs. Louisiana Betting Pick
This line opened up at 19.5 but has since steamed to 20.5. Ideally, I would wait to see if it gets to 21, but with the advantages that the Bobcats hold, I’m comfortable with the current number.
Ohio also has some history on its side. The Bobcats are 8-0 against the spread in their last eight Thursday games. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 2-8 against the spread as a 14-point or more favorite.
The Bobcats will hang around in this one.
Pick: Ohio +20 or better.
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