Sun Belt Conference Championship: Appalachian State vs. Louisiana Odds, Picks and Predictions (Saturday, Dec. 4)
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images and Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured from left: Trey Cobb (45) of the Appalachian State Mountaineers and Chris Smith (21) of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
- Appalachian State (-2.5) travels to Lafayette, LA on Saturday afternoon to battle Louisiana for the 2021 Sun Belt Conference football championship.
- Sun Belt Championship betting odds opened with Louisiana favored by 2.5 points at home, but the line has flipped in App State's favor as of writing. The over/under has also swelled from an opener of 49.5 to a current total of 52.5.
- Our college football betting staff weighs in on the Sun Belt Championship point spread and over/under. Find updated odds, plus our staff's consensus picks for App State vs. Louisiana.
Appalachian State vs. Louisiana Odds
|Appalachian State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Sun Belt Championship
Appalachian State vs. Louisiana
By Shawn Burns
Appalachian State heads to Lafayette to play Louisiana for the Sun Belt Conference Championship.The perennial conference powers have played in two of the past three conference title games, with the Mountaineers winning both of those.
Appalachian State had the home-field advantage in both games, but this time the Ragin’ Cajuns will host because of their dominant 41-13 win over the Mountaineers earlier this season. Even with that win and home-field advantage, the Ragin’ Cajuns are still slight underdogs.
The markets favor App State and some of the reason may have to do with the news that Louisiana head coach Billy Napier accepted the head coaching position at the University of Florida. He is doing double duty this week, preparing his current team for a huge game while also recruiting and building his staff in Gainesville.
The Mountaineers, meanwhile, are rolling, having won six straight, including a huge win over Coastal Carolina. The App State defense has held its last three opponents under double digits and leads the conference in total defense.
Duke transfer Chase Brice has played well under center, but the Mountaineers offense is at its peak when the running game is clicking. Cameron Peoples and Nate Noel are both talented running backs and combined for 17 rushing touchdowns during the regular season.
Napier made the right decision to stick with his team for this game, as he tries once again to claim that elusive Sun Belt Championship. The Ragin’ Cajuns have had a tremendous season, winning 11 straight after a season-opening loss at Texas.
Louisiana has the top scoring defense in the conference and a veteran leader at quarterback that is as steady as they come. Levi Lewis has the most touchdown passes in school history and leads a balanced offense that averages over 31 points per game. The rushing attack, even with the losses of Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas to the NFL, has been tough to stop, averaging 192 yards per game and almost five yards per carry.
Appalachian State vs. Louisiana Spread
App State -2.5
The last time these teams played each other, App St came in as a three-point favorite and ended up losing by 28. Fast forward to this one, and the Mountaineers are, once again, a three-point favorite.
That game was a stunner, for sure, as Louisiana punched App State in the mouth at the very start and did not let up at all. The Mountaineers will look to avenge that one, coming in on a six-game winning streak thanks to their stellar defense.
Louisiana may have scored 41 on App State earlier this season, but don’t expect that to happen again. The Mountaineers have the edge over Louisiana’s offense in every category. The Cajuns were given turnovers in that first meeting, while App State made some terrible decisions that seem unlikely to be repeated.
App State will look to shut them down, ranking near top-10 in Def. Success Rate and constantly generating Havoc with one of the most Havoc minded units in football. With little to no explosiveness on Louisiana’s offense, the Cajuns will struggle to consistently find yards.
App State is also top 10 in Def. Finishing Drives, one of the best in the nation at defending past the 40-yard line. This may lead to long drives that stall and eventually flip field position for the Mountaineers.
App State’s offense has an edge in pretty much every noteworthy metric, with a major gap in explosiveness. The Mountaineers will look for large gains, which is an area Louisiana is among the worst in the nation in defending.
App State rivals Louisiana in both categories that the Cajuns rate best in, with Success Rate and Finishing Drives as the key matchups when App State is on offense. With nearly advantages in every other category in the Mountaineers’ favor, lay the points with the small favorite in a revenge spot for the Sun Belt Championship.
Staff Pick: Appalachian State -2.5
Appalachian State vs. Louisiana Over/Under
This matchup features not only two of the best defenses in the Sunbelt but in the nation. Both rank in the top 14 nationally in scoring defense, with Louisiana giving up 18.5 points per game and App State 18.9.
The Mountaineers are better in terms of total defense, ranking 12th in the country while giving up 315.3 yards per game this season. Louisiana, while not elite, is only allowing 349.7 yards per game, which ranks 40th in FBS.
App State is one of the best in the nation in red-zone defense, ranking 15th by only allowing points 74.3% of the time. Louisiana ranks 37th by allowing scores on 78.1% percent of plays.
While the traditional statistics tell a pretty compelling story as to how good these defenses are, the advanced statistics only bolster the case.
App State and Louisiana rank 12th and 26th in defensive success rate. Both programs also rank in the top 20 in average starting field position. Havoc will also be key with Louisiana ranking fifth and App State 21st.
I’d be remiss if I completely glossed over the capable offenses. Both have the ability to put up points, but both offenses rank far lower than the defenses in this game.
The weather figures to be perfect for football and will be of no help to under bettors, with a high of almost 80 degrees and wind of less than 5 mph.
Napier has made a name for himself on defense, and I don’t expect him to leave Lafayette without one last turnover frenzied game. App State is going to do what they have done all season and that is play disciplined defense with a veteran lineup.
I have the total for this game projected at 49.5 points and recommend playing the under at 51.5 or lower.