Louisiana vs. Appalachian State Prediction: Mountaineers Eye 2nd Straight Sun Belt Title

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For the second year in a row, Appalachian State and Louisiana will meet in the Sun Belt Championship Game. The two conference rivals have already played this season with the Mountaineers winning a defensive struggle 17-7 back on October 9 as Louisiana held Appalachian State to a season-low in points scored. The victory earned Appalachian State the right to host this game as they go for their third straight Sun Belt title. Running back Darrynton Evans paces the Mountaineers attack. Evans has scored 20 touchdowns this season. The Ragin’ Cajuns have won six straight games. Appalachian State’s only loss this season came in a 24-21 upset at the hands of Georgia Southern back on November 1.

The Mountaineers are 11th nationally in scoring at 38.9 points per game but the Ragin’ Cajuns aren’t far behind at 38.8.  Both teams are also exceptional on defense with Louisiana is 11th in points allowed at 17.8 and Appalachian State 18th at 18.8. The Mountaineers are 42-7 in Sun Belt games since joining the conference prior to the 2013 season.

ESPN’s FPI gives Appalachian State a 65.6% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Saturday’s Sun Belt Championship Game matchup between the Ragin’ Cajuns and Mountaineers.

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Louisiana vs. Appalachian State Game Details

Date: Saturday, December 7
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: Kidd Brewer Stadium (Boone, North Carolina)
TV: ESPN
Spread:
Appalachian State -6.5
Total: 56

*All lines, odds, and trends are courtesy of Covers & The Action Network


Line Movement

This line opened at Appalachian State -6.5 and has mostly stayed there with the action split. The majority of the bets are on the Mountaineers and the majority of the money is on the Ragin’ Cajuns.


Betting Trends

  • Ragin’ Cajuns are 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS this season
  • Mountaineers are 11-1 SU and 8-4 ATS this season
  • Under is 7-5 in Ragin’ Cajuns games this season
  • Under is 7-5 in Mountaineers games this season

Analysis & Pick

This is one of the more underrated games on championship weekend in college football. Appalachian State has a legit chance to earn a berth in a New Year’s Six bowl game as the highest-ranked team from the Group of Five. The Mountaineers need help, with Boise State and Memphis still ahead of them in the rankings and both teams playing in their respective conference championship games on Saturday. I think this distraction will only hurt Appalachian State as they will have their hands full with a very tough Ragin’ Cajuns team that is very hungry to avenge not only a regular-season loss earlier this year but also a 30-19 defeat in last year’s Sun Belt title game, both at the hands of the Mountaineers. I expect both teams to chew up yardage on the ground, but I give the slight edge to the Ragin’ Cajuns rushing attack which is ranked 6th nationally and has combined for 2,602 yards and 31 touchdowns this season. Elijah Mitchell has racked up 1,007 yards and 14 touchdowns this season and is one of the best running backs in the country nobody has heard of. You’ll to see a lot of Mithcell in this game as Louisiana tries to control the tempo. I’ll take nearly a touchdown and watch an entertaining affair between two solid teams.

PICK: Louisiana +6.5 


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Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith