Friday’s showdown between Louisiana Tech and Marshall will feature two of the best teams with conference title dreams clearly in focus, however, one of them will be severely shorthanded. The Bulldogs will be without starting quarterback J’Mar Smith, wide receiver Adrian Hardy and linebacker James Jackson. The trio was suspended by the program for a violation of athletic department policy, the school announced. The suspensions have pushed the line heavily towards Marshall as redshirt-freshman Aaron Allen will start under center for La Tech.
We break down the game and offer our best bets and predictions for this battle between two of the best teams in Conference USA.
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Louisiana Tech at Marshall Game Details
*All odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
This line opened at Marshall -3 and has moved steadily towards the home favorite all week. It has found a landing spot at Marshall -5 and can be found close to that at most of the sportsbook in Las Vegas, according to VegasInsider.com. The action has been split in this matchup with Louisiana Tech receiving 52-percent of the bets but Marshall getting 63-percent of the money, according to The Action Network. This type of split indicates a sharp reverse line movement favoring the Thundering Herd.
- Louisiana Tech is 6-3 ATS this season
- Marshall is 3-6 ATS this season
- Over is 5-4 in Louisiana Tech games this season
- Over is 6-3 in Marshall games this season
- Louisiana Tech is 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games
- Marshall is 2-12 ATS in their last 14 home games
*All betting trends are courtesy of Covers
Prediction & Picks
It appears that there has been sharp money flowing towards Marshall all week, even before the suspensions were announced. The Thundering Herd has not performed well ATS both at home and as a favorite this season. Marshall has covered just twice in their last 14 home games. On the other side, it’s tough to back a La Tech side starting a redshirt-freshman at quarterback in a hostile environment under the lights with the pressure of a conference title hanging in the balance. Aaron Allen has attempted just nine passes all season and has big shoes to fill under center. I don’t like swallowing almost a touchdown here, but it’s the only play you can make in this game.
PICK: Marshall -6.5 (-110)
La Tech and Marshall rank third and fourth the Conference USA, respectively, in scoring defense. The Thundering Herd are coming off perhaps their best defensive performance of the season, a 20-7 win over Rice where they allowed zero points in the second half and just 231 total yards in the game. I expect Marshall to control the clock with running back Brendan Knox who has rushed for almost 1,000 yards already this season. The clock will continue to churn and the Bulldogs will have trouble scoring, a perfect recipe for an under.
PICK: Under 55 (-110)
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith