Game: Georgia State Panthers at Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Panthers +12.5, Cajuns -12.5
The Sun Belt Conference is in action on Thursday night with Georgia State traveling to AP No. 24 Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns are looking to keep the dream of a conference title alive with a win over a Georgia State team they have never lost to. The Panthers are looking for a second straight winning season and a second straight bowl appearance. A win over a ranked opponent will help them get there.
Louisiana has just one loss on the season and that was in the team’s season opener. The Cajuns lost to Power 5 Texas 38-18. Since then, Louisiana has rattled off seven straight wins. The offense hit the 40-point mark in three of those wins. Head coach Billy Napier does it with a balanced offensive attack. The Cajuns average 217 passing yards and 211 yards on the ground. Louisiana averages 32 points per game.
Quarterback Levi Lewis leads the offense. Lewis has thrown for 1,655 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. He is the program’s career leader in touchdown passes with 65. Chris Smith (612) is one of two running backs with at least 500 yards. Montrell Johnson has rushed for 512 yards.
The Cajuns’ defense is solid. They have allowed the fewest points (78) in the Sun Belt this season and are coming off a 45-0 shutout of Texas State. For the season, Louisiana gives up 19.3 points per game, which ranks 20th in the nation. The Cajuns will face a Georgia State offense that is improving.
The Panthers average 23.9 points per game on offense, but they have scored 21 or more in their last three games all of which were wins. They put up 55 in a win over Louisiana-Monroe, 28 against Texas State, and 21 last week in a win over rival Georgia Southern.
Believe it or not, the Panthers are still alive in the conference title race with a 3-1 Sun Belt record. The problem with having a shot at the title is the Panthers’ defense. Georgia State has a problem stopping opponents. Through eight games, the Panthers allow 422.9 yards per game and 30.1 points. Those numbers rank 90th and 81st in the nation, respectively.
Where Georgia State has had success is against the spread. The Panthers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games. One of those covers was as a 27.5-point underdog at Auburn. The Panthers stayed in the game with Auburn losing 34-24.
Louisiana has not been as successful against the spread. They are 3-5 ATS this season. The Cajuns have been favored in all but two games – the first against Texas and against Sun Belt foe Appalachian State. Louisiana covered against the Mountaineers as 4.5-point underdogs. That game was also a televised mid-week Sun Belt game.
Tonight’s total if 53.5. The Under is 5-0 in the Cajuns’ last five games. In fact, only one of Louisiana’s last ten games has gone Over the total. Georgia State is virtually the complete opposite. The Over is 7-3 in the Panthers last ten games, though their last two games did go Under the total.