New Orleans Bowl Preview
Saturday, December 22nd
New Orleans Bowl - Superdome New Orleans, LA 12:00 PM ET
East Carolina Pirates vs. UL-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (-6/64)
How East Carolina got here
After starting the season 3-3, the Pirates closed strong by winning five of their last six games to post their best record since 2009, the last year under head coach Skip Holtz. East Carolina finished in a tie with UCF in the C-USA East Division but lost the tiebreaker after losing to the Knights 40-20. It should be noted that those seven conference wins all came against teams not playing in a bowl game and its only non-conference win came against Appalachian St. of the FCS. The Pirates lost its other three non-conference games by a combined score of 131-44 and those three opponents are all in a bowl game as well.
How UL-Lafayette got here
UL-Lafayette finished in a tie for second place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 6-2 record with one of those losses coming against conference champion Arkansas St. by 23 points. Its only win against a team with a winning conference record was a victory at rival UL-Monroe. In non-conference action, the Cajuns got thumped at Oklahoma St. but lost by just a touchdown at Florida on a blocked punt return for a score with only 13 seconds remaining. Similar to the Pirates, they closed the season with three straight wins to make their second straight appearance in the New Orleans Bowl. UL-Lafayette won last year over San Diego St. 32-30 on a 50-yard field goal as time expired.
Both passing defenses have issues as East Carolina is 105th in the nation (271.7 ypg) while UL-Lafayette is 111th in the country (283.9 ypg).
This could very well turn into a shootout as both defenses are vulnerable against the pass. Against average quarterbacks, they could get away with it but that isn't the case here. East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden finished 33rd in the nation in passing efficiency while Cajuns quarterback Terrence Broadway finished 22nd in the country in passing efficiency and both were second in that category in their respective conferences. Both offenses can put up plenty of points as the Cajuns were consistent all season while the Pirates hit their stride late, averaging 42 ppg over their last six games after putting up just 20.5 ppg through their first six games. Interesting to note that the Cajuns were dogs of six points here last year and now the role has completely reversed.
UL-Lafayette is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games away from home when playing against a team with a winning record.
East Carolina is 6-0 ATS in its last six games after allowing 40 or more points in its previous game.
Matt closed the CFB regular season on a PERFECT 6-0 run with his side reports heading into the bowls. Expect more of the same as bowl season approaches so grab his Bowl Package for just $295.95, it’s a steal!
- Power Sports
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1* Toronto Run Line (7:07 ET): Please note that I'm recommending laying the -1.5 with Blue Jays here. I think they have enough advantages to beat the Padres by multiple runs in Monday's opener. San Diego just took two of three from Washington, but Toronto has the most Interleague wins (11) of any team in baseball.
Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez has a 1.80 ERA and 0.85 WHIP his L3 starts. He's allowed 2 ER or less in six consecutive starts. His last loss came all the way back on April 22nd. While the Padres' lineup has homered in 22 consecutive games, this will be the franchise's first foray ever into Toronto. Rogers Centre is known for being a hitter's park, but I'm unconvinced that San Diego will able to take advantage. They are just 19-31 in road games overall, including 1-5 as a dog of +200 to +225.
San Diego's Colin Rea has a 4.86 ERA and 1.62 WHIP his L3 starts. He also gave up three home runs in his last start. That's key. Sanchez has allowed only two in his last six starts and if you take away the four he gave up in an uncharacteristically poor showing vs. Baltimore on June 12th, he's allowed just three since the start of May! The Blue Jays really need this one as the fight for Wild Card/playoff position. The Padres have been surprisingly competitive since the Break, but that ends here. 1* Run Line Toronto (-1.5)