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How to be the Wednesday Matchup between Marshall and Louisiana

Chris Smith

Chris Smith


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Lousiana at Marshall (-10.5): O/U 47.0

Both teams had 10 days of rest entering this contest and Marshall had a lot of time to think about last year’s loss in the New Orleans Bow to Louisiana.

Marshall was winning 21-16 entering the fourth quarter before Louisiana scored 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win 36-21.

This is a revenge spot for Marshall as that loss was the first-ever meeting between the two programs. Now as members of the Sun Belt Conference, the two will see each other every season, so we should expect this to be a competitive series down the road.

However, this is Marshall’s opening home game in the Sun Belt Conference and the spread moved from Marshall -7 to The Herd -10.5, so there isn’t value on the spread, unless you are backing Louisiana Lafayette +10.5.

Marshall enters this game 4-1 to the Under (80%) and 2-3 ATS (40%), going 0-3 ATS in the past three games.

Louisiana enters this game 3-2 to the Under (60%) and 3-2 ATS (60%), going 0-2 ATS on the road this year.

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Digging deeper, Louisiana Lafayette will be without starting quarterback Chandler Fields and the Rajin’ Cajuns starting running back Chris Smith should be out as well. Smith had 107 rushing yards versus South Alabama, so his absence will be a significant loss.

In the Rajin’ Cajuns win over the Thundering Herd last year, Louisiana ran for 222 yards and three touchdowns on 48 rushing attempts -- no way that happens here. Marshall has one of the best run defenses in the country at 71.4 yards per game (4th), so I don’t expect Louisiana to move the ball much.

Replacing Fields at quarterback will be Ben Wooldridge, who went 18-of-29 for 90 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the previous game.

Last season, Louisiana had a different quarterback and running back committee combined for 492 passing and rushing yards versus Marshall -- this Louisiana team has only went over 300 total yards once in their three-game losing streak.

Louisiana has struggled in the red zone this season, ranking 94th in the FBS with a 75% success rate in the red zone compared to being 111th in defensive red zone success rate (93.3%).

The Rajin’ Cajuns also ranks second-worst in the Sun Belt for penalties totaling 41 penalties for 366 yards this year.

Marshall is one of the best time of possession teams in the country, ranking 19th, while Louisiana is 101st in that same category.

I don’t think Louisiana will squeeze out for more than two touchdowns on the road at Marshall with a backup quarterback and running back. The home environment should also be rocking as Marshall is breaking out the “Black-Out” for the Sun Belt home opener -- all black uniforms and all black clothes for the fans -- that’s what we like.

I played Louisiana Lafayette Team Total Under 18.5 points at -130 odds on DraftKings.

FanDuel has 17.5 at -132 odds to the Under and on BetMGM, both teams to score 20-plus points is -165 to the NO.

Louisiana struggled for 17 points in the past two games and the season-high on the road was 21 points at Rice, who ranks 50th in total defense compared to Marshall’s 13th-ranked defense.

Pick: Louisiana Lafayette Team Total Under 18.5 (1u)

Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry has joined the team and his two shows have you covered all season long. Spend weekdays at noon with the Fantasy Football Happy Hour and then, every Sunday at 11am getting ready for kickoff with the Fantasy Football Pregame. Watch both shows live on Peacock and catch replays for the weekday show on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.