The fourth edition of the Cure Bowl will see the Sun Belt Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns against the AAC Tulane Green Wave, as two teams will face each other for the second time in a bowl game. The Green Wave opened as 3-point favorites with the total at 59.0 points and the Ragin’ Cajuns at +135 money line odds.
The Ragin’ Cajuns want to bounce back after losing the Sun Belt Championship Game
The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (7-6; 9-4 ATS) are coming off a 30-19 defeat to the Appalachian State Mountaineers in the Sun Belt Championship Game, as they just couldn’t find the way to cope with Mountaineers’ elite defense. The Ragin’ Cajuns have racked up one yard more than their rivals, but have failed to find the end zone more than just once, as QB Andre Nunez scored the only touchdown in the third quarter. Louisiana-Lafayette ended the regular season on a high note with three straight victories over Louisiana-Monroe 31-28, South Alabama 48-38, and Georgia State 36-22.
Andre Nunez has thrown for 2136 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, completing 64.4% of his passes. The RB duo Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell are leading the way for the Ragin’ Cajuns, combining for 2092 yards and 20 touchdowns, while Nunez added three TD by himself. Louisiana-Lafayette is allowing 33.7 points (104th in the country) on 432.3 total yards per game (95th), while the Ragin’ Cajuns are scoring 32.5 points (39th) on 437.2 total yards per contest (39th). Their ground game 229.2 yards per game which is the 19th-best in the country.
The Green Wave wants to flood the Cajuns
The Tulane Green Wave (6-6; 5-7 ATS) has barely earned its bowl eligibility with a narrow 29-28 home victory over the Navy Midshipmen, but Willie Fritz’s guys have won four of their last five games to make it here. They’ve only lost at the Houston Cougars 48-17 while beating East Carolina 24-18, South Florida 41-15, and Tulsa 24-17 along with a victory against Navy. Interestingly, last week, Tulane hired Will Hall as a new offensive coordinator, a guy who spent the previous year with the Ragin’ Cajuns as an offensive coordinator.
Justin McMillan led the Green Wave in the last five games, and the senior QB has tossed for 1159 yards, nine touchdowns, and three interceptions in eight appearances this season. Darius Bradwell is the main force of the backfield, carrying the ball 166 times for 984 yards and nine touchdowns, while Corey Dauphine had 116 totes for 754 yards and seven touchdowns. Darnell Mooney is leading the receiving corps with 47 receptions for 987 yards and eight TD. Tulane is allowing 27.8 points (73rd in the league) on 419.2 total yards per game (81st), while its run defense is surrendering 153.9 yards per contest (50th). On the other side, the Green Wave is scoring 25.7 points (94th) on 394.9 total yards per game (71st).
• 2-5 ATS in the last seven outings
• Under is 5-1 in the last six games
• 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings with Ragin’ Cajuns
• 5-2 ATS in the last seven outings
• Under is 4-1 in the last five games
• 2-5 straight up and in the last seven meetings with Tulane
The Winner Prediction
This will be the first head-to-head duel between these two teams after a Tulane’s 41-39 win in 2016 after four overtimes, as the clash was tied at 16-16 at the end of regulation. It was Willie Fritz’s first year on Tulane’s bench, while Billy Napier is enjoying his first year as a Louisiana-Lafayette’s head coach. This time, Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette are taking their rivalry to Florida, and the Green Wave leads the series 22-6, but the Ragin’ Cajuns have won their last H2H duel in a bowl game, beating Tulane 24-21 in a 2013 New Orleans Bowl.
We should see a tight game, as the bookies’ odds are suggesting, too. The Cajuns’ ground game is their main weapon, but Tulane’s run defense is top 50, so the Green Wave should find the way to deal with Cajuns’ rushing. However, the Ragin’ Cajuns seem to play in a better form this season than their bowl rivals, and I count on their motivation to bounce back after a loss in the championship game, so I’ll take Louisiana-Lafayette here.
The Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns +3.0 (-110)
Both sides have some serious problems on the defensive end, but their offenses haven’t been so prolific this season that we can expect a bunch of points on this one. The Cajuns mostly rely on their ground game which should eat the clock, and with so much at stake, I’ll take the under. Just one of Louisiana-Lafayette’s last five games had more than 59 points in total, whilst the same case is with Tulane’s previous five outings.