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Wednesday College Football Betting Preview (October 12)

Louisiana vs. Marshall odds

Week 7 kicks off Wednesday night with a Sun Belt battle between the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the Marshall Thundering Herd in a rematch of last year’s New Orleans Bowl.

The Herd come into this game with 10 days off after beating FCS Gardner Webb, 28-7, to return to the win column.

Louisiana is also coming off a 10-day hiatus between games. However, the Ragin’ Cajuns will travel to Huntington in search of their first win in over a month. Their last victory came in September. 10 when they defeated Eastern Michigan, 49-21. They have since suffered losses to Rice, Louisiana Monroe and, most recently, South Alabama.

Losses aren’t the only problem for the Ragin’ Cajuns either; Starting quarterback Chandler Fields and lead running back Chris Smith are struggling with injuries. Head coach Michael Desormeaux told a press conference Saturday that Fields will not play Marshall, while Smith’s status is unknown.

Last year’s New Orleans Bowl was the first-ever meeting between these two teams, and Louisiana came away with a 36-21 victory over Marshall. The Herd will not only be looking to settle the series, but also win their first conference game as a member of the Sun Belt.

Head coach Charles Huff has called on fans to show up and show up in their first home game against an FBS opponent this season. The team will pull out all the stops, including new uniforms to go along with the planned “Black Out”.

With Fields out for the Ragin’ Cajuns, Ben Wooldridge will start at quarterback. Wooldridge was solid when he came against South Alabama, going 18 of 29 for 90 yards while throwing a touchdown and an interception. He also added 37 rushing yards.

But ultimately, the three turnovers were too much for Louisiana to overcome, losing to the Jags, 20-17.

The turnovers were a problem for the Ragin’ Cajuns, but they were a manageable problem because their defense brought in more than double the number of turnovers they gave up.

The real problem for this Louisiana team has been the penalties. He ranks second to last among Sun Belt teams in that area, racking up 41 penalties for 366 yards on the season.

Louisiana wasn’t exceptional on either side of the ball, but they were exceptionally bad in one area: the red zone.

The Ragin’ Cajuns rank 111th nationally in red-zone defense, allowing opponents to score on 93.3 percent of attempts from inside the 20-yard line. On offense, Louisiana scored on just 75 percent of trips into the red zone, ranking 94th among all FBS teams.

The Thundering Herd used their 10 days off for a well-deserved rest after quarterback Henry Colombi and wide receiver Caleb McMillan were injured against Gardner Webb. Luckily for them, Huff expects the two to play this week.

Marshall has had his ups and downs so far this season, with the highlight being his anger at Notre Dame in South Bend. However, the Herd followed that by losing their next two games to Bowling Green and Troy.

Colombi has been solid, completing 73.7% of his passes for 875 yards this season. But the Thundering Herd attack begins and ends with the rush.

Running back Khalan Laborn leads the Sun Belt with 731 rushing yards, averaging 146.2 per game. He also ties Georgia Southern’s Jalen White for the conference lead with eight rushing touchdowns this year, while he’s ninth in yards per carry at 5.5 per carry.

Laborn has rushed for over 100 yards and recorded at least one touchdown in every game this season while recording 30 or more attempts in three of his five games. Expect him to be a vital part of the attack again this week.

Defensively, Marshall has been one of the best units in the Sun Belt. The Herd ranks second in the conference in defensive scoring, limiting opponents to just 16.2 points per game. They also rank third in the conference with eight interceptions this season.

Marshall ranks second nationally in defensive finishing drives and fourth in defensive completion rate — two areas in which the Ragin’ Cajuns rank outside the top 75.

Louisiana vs. Marshall correspondence analysis

Toggle the drop-down menus below to hide or show the statistical correspondence between Louisiana and Marshall:

Louisiana Offense vs. Marshal Defense

Marshall Offense vs. Defense of Louisiana

Pace of play / Other
PFF tackle 52 18
PFF cover ten 27
SP+ special teams 103 79
Seconds per game 26.0 (57) 25.8 (53)
Peak rate 48.0% (98) 62.6% (13)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Louisiana vs. Marshall bet pick

Both of these teams found a way to force turnovers on defense but struggled to limit them on offense. Louisiana ranks second nationally in revenue margin, while Marshall comes in at 13th.

Both teams also rank in the top five among Sun Belt teams in defensive scoring, while Marshall ranks fourth in defensive third down conversion percentage at 22.6%.

Louisiana sits 46th in rushing defense, giving up just 128.2 yards per game, and should be able to slow down the Herd’s dynamic rushing game.

However, I’m not convinced a backup quarterback faces a Marshall defense that ranks 13th in total defense and allows just 281 yards per game.

I take the least in this midweek game. I locked bets under the total at 49.5, but feel confident at any number 47 or better.

take: Under 47.5 (Play to 47)

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