The ugly underdog from last week, Navy, almost won outright as a 17-point pooch and while it’s tempting to go back to the Midshipmen, who are 16.5-point ’dogs against UCF, for a third week on the spin, we’ll tip our caps to our friends in Annapolis and head south for a peculiar matchup between Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 20 Florida State.
That’s right. We’re three weeks away from conference title games and Florida State is playing the Ragin’ Cajuns.
The Seminoles, who have won three in a row and are back inside the Top 25 with a 7-3 record, are 24-point favorites in Tallahassee. The number is just too high.
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Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Florida State prediction: Ragin’ Cajuns +24
First, this is a flat spot for the Seminoles. They just ripped apart three ACC opponents — Georgia Tech, Miami and Syracuse — by a combined score of 124-22. It has been a terrific run for a program that is trying desperately to play its way back onto the national spotlight, but it has also caused this number to get a bit out of hand.
Second, this is a pretty good matchup spot for the Ragin’ Cajuns. While stopping Jordan Travis won’t be easy, Louisiana boasts one of the best secondaries in the Group of Five.
The Ragin’ Cajuns rank 25th in expected points added (EPA) per passing play on defense and sits 31st in defensive passing success rate. Travis has been incredible this season, but he’ll be tested against a defense that is allowing just 6.9 yards per attempt.
And it’s not just the passing defense that’s been impressive for Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns also rank 60th in rushing success rate and 49th in preventing explosive runs.
Louisiana’s defense also buckles down inside its own 40, as the Ragin’ Cajuns are the 21st-best team at finishing drives.
The Ragin’ Cajuns’ offense is a different story entirely, but the strength of this Florida State team is an electric offense and not a defense that has been pedestrian for most of the season.
Perhaps Florida State’s defense has figured things out and will ride the momentum of allowing just six total points in its last two games, but the season-long numbers make that seem unlikely.
Betting on College Football?
The Seminoles rank 62nd in passing success rate, 59th in rushing success rate and 78th in finishing drives. The Louisiana offense has struggled to score consistently against Sun Belt opposition, but this Florida State defense has not set the world on fire this season and, because of their defense, the Ragin’ Cajuns won’t need to score a ton to keep the game respectable.
So much in betting comes down to buying and selling at the right times and it’s hard to imagine a better time to go against the Seminoles. They’ve got a huge game with Florida looming in two weeks to close out their season, so it would not be a surprise at all to see Florida State get caught sleepwalking a little bit against a team from the Sun Belt.
Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Florida State pick:
Ragin’ Cajuns +24 (BetMGM)