2014 New Orleans Bowl Picks: Nevada vs. LA-Lafayette Odds and Expert Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 12/15/2014
The Mountain West's Nevada Wolf Pack will make the trip to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this Saturday to help kick off the 2014-15 college bowl season against the Sun Belt's LA-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, who will be making their fourth-straight appearance in the New Orleans Bowl. Game time is set for 11 a.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Nevada closed out conference play with a 49-27 romp over UNLV on Nov. 29 as a seven-point road favorite, but this followed back-to-back losses to Air Force and Fresno State both SU and ATS. Overall, the Wolf Pack went 7-5 both SU and ATS this season, with the total staying "under" in eight of the 12 games.
The Ragin' Cajuns bring some heat into this matchup with a 7-1 SU record in their last eight games while going a profitable 5-1-1 ATS in their last six contests. They wrapped up their regular season with a 42-23 victory against Troy as 9.5-point road favorites. The total went "over" the closing 59.5-point line in that game after staying under in four of their previous six outings.
New Orleans Bowl: Nevada vs. LA-Lafayette Story Lines
Nevada did an excellent job at moving the ball on the ground this season with a rushing offense that was ranked 32nd in the nation in yards per game (215.2). Cody Fajardo was a dual-threat with 2,374 yards and 18 touchdowns passing the ball while racking up a team-high 997 yards and 13 additional scores on the ground. The key to stopping a Wolf Pack offense that did average 31.3 points a game will lie in keeping Fajardo under wraps for all four quarters.
The main concern in this matchup for Nevada is a defense that has had its issues keeping opposing teams out of the end zone. This unit was ranked 79 th in the country in points allowed (28.2), and six times this season that number eclipsed the 30-point mark. The Wolf Pack were torched for a combined 85 points in those late-season losses to Air Force and Fresno State.
The Ragin' Cajuns also bring a potent rushing attack into this bowl game that ended the regular season averaging 228.4 yards a game on the ground. Elijah McGuire did most of the damage with 1,165 yards and 14 scores, but his most impressive stat is the 7.8 yards a carry he posted this year. This was another offense that knew how to light up a scoreboard with an average of 30.6 points a game.
While its overall points-allowed (27.9) was ranked just below Nevada at 78th in the country, LA-Lafayette's defense was able to tighten things up quite a bit down the stretch. This unit held opposing teams to 23 points or less in four of its last eight outings to help lower its scoring average to 23.9 points a game during this run.
New Orleans Bowl: Nevada vs. LA-Lafayette Betting Odds and Trends
5Dimes has listed the Ragin' Cajuns as one-point favorites against Nevada for Saturday's showdown, and the total for the game has been set at 60.5.
The Wolf Pack have gone just 1-6 SU in their last seven bowl games, but they have covered in their last two. The total has stayed under in 14 of their last 18 games overall.
The Ragin' Cajuns have been in the last three New Orleans Bowls, and they have covered ATS in each of the games. Last year, they beat Tulane 24-21 as 2.5-point underdogs, with the total staying under the 48.5-point closing line.
These two last met in 1995, with Nevada rolling to a 38-14 victory as a 3.5-point favorite at home.
2014 New Orleans Bowl Picks: Nevada vs. LA-Lafayette Expert Betting Predictions
This should be an entertaining matchup between two teams that know how to move the ball down field and score points. Nevada has a solid resume against a very tough Mountain West schedule, but experience and a home-field edge weigh heavily in the Ragin' Cajuns' favor. They have owned this bowl ATS over the past three years, and a SU win this Saturday extends that streak to four.
Doc's Sports is offering a great deal for new clients - you can get $60 worth of free college bowl game picks with no obligation. No credit card is needed, and you will never have to deal with a salesman. See what all the hype is about with $60 worth of free college football picks by clicking here . Also, get three handicappers for the price of one when you sign up for a full-season football package! Click Here for details.
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
Get all of this Weeks Free College Football Picks
Get all of this Weeks Expert College Football Picks