College Football Week 8 begins on Tuesday night and we will see the UL- Lafayette Ragin Cajuns travel to the Lone Star State to take on the North Texas Mean Green The game is scheduled for a 9:00 PM (Eastern) start time and it will be televised live on ESPN2. Currently the odds for the game have UL- Lafayette favored by 4 points, while the total sits at 56. Currently 84% of the Public is on UL- Lafayettes, while 60% is on the Over. Find out what side the Public is taking on all the games by clicking HERE.
Free Analysis: With only one loss for the season via Oklahoma State, the UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns are tied at the top of the Sun Belt Conference standings and can become the sole team in first place with a win over the North Texas Mean Green. The Louisiana offense (38 ppg, 411.2 ypg) is one of the most explosive in the Sun Belt this year, despite a lack in continuity at the quarterback position. Blaine Gautier (32-of-67, 492 yards, four TDs) started the season under center but has been in and out of the lineup with injuries. He is now sidelined indefinitely with a broken throwing hand, but luckily for the Cajuns Terrance Broadway has been even more effective this season, completing 45-of-77 passes for 612 yards with four touchdowns and only one interception. Louisiana has also overcome a devastating injury to its starting tailback as Montrell Carter was lost for the season with a torn ACL in the opener. In Carter's absence, Alonzo Harris (374 yards, three TDs) and Effrem Reed (264 yards, two TDs) have done a nice job shouldering the load. The Cajuns defense has some holes that foes can exploit, particularly in the passing game (294.6 ypg allowed), but the unit has held up on the scoreboard, ranking third in the conference in scoring defense (24.4 ppg). Rodney Gillis is responsible for four of the team's 13 takeaways with three interceptions and a fumble recovery. Louisiana ranks 18th in the country in rushing defense (107.2 ypg) and seventh in turnover margin (plus-8).
As for North Texas, its season has not started as smoothly with four losses in six outings, but three of them came in very difficult road games at LSU (41-14), Kansas State (35-21) and Houston (44-21). The Mean Green has a solid conference victory already, winning in a 20-14 final at Florida Atlantic), but they've dropped their only home SBC game so far to Troy (14-7). North Texas has had a rough go of it in the early going, the Mean Green currently ranking eighth in the conference in both total offense (381.8 ypg) and scoring offense (19.5 ppg). Derek Thompson has taken nearly every snap under center but the results have been mixed, as he has completed fewer than 56 percent of his passes (94- of-169) for 1,245 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions. The good news is his offensive line has done a nice job protecting him as he's been sacked just three times in six games. Thompson has the luxury of throwing to one of the best receiving tandems in the Sun Belt. Brelan Chancellor (23 receptions, 433 yards, five TDs) and Ivan Delgado (27 receptions, 369 yards) both rank in the league's top 10 in receiving yards, although no other UNT player has more than eight catches or 100 yards. Brandin Byrd has received the lion's share of the work out of the backfield (101 carries, 380 yards, two touchdowns), but Antoine Jimmerson has been just as, if not more effective with a lesser work load (68 carries, 367 yards, three TDs). The North Texas defense (25.8 ppg, 397 ypg) has played much better against teams it matches up well with, allowing just 11.7 ppg in three games against Texas Southern, Florida Atlantic and Troy. Zachary Orr is among the conference leaders in tackles with 56, while Marcus Trice and Zac Whitfield have two interceptions apiece. K.C. Obi (five TFL, 3.5 sacks) and Aaron Bellazin (five TFL, three sacks) anchor a strong defensive line.
Free Pick: I really like the Under in this game. The Cajuns come in with a solid offense, but this will be the toughest defense they have faced to date. UL Lafayette has also had some key injuries to their skill positions and whiles the backups have stepped in well, again they haven't faced a good defensive team like they will tonight. The Mean Green has allowed 25.8 ppg on the year, but if you take out the two BCS Teams (LSU & Kansas State) they have faced then they have allowed just 19.8 ppg. North Texas has allowed just 14 ppg in their two Sun Belt games this year and just 10.5 ppg in their two home games and I expect them to have a good showing tonight in front of the national audience. The North Texas offense has not been that great, scoring 21 points or less in all 5 of their games vs FBS teams and they could have a problem putting up many points on this Cajun defense that has allowed just 24.4 ppg on the year. North Texas is a ground based offense that averages 12 more rushing attempts per game than passing attempts and will need to use that ground game that is putting up 174 ypg to keep this good Cajun offense on the sidelines. I look for them to shorten the game with the run, while their defense does a good enough job on the Cajun offense to keep this game well under the total.
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