The college football betting postseason is underway and Saturday brings us a couple of matchups to check out in your sportsbook. Take your mind off a stressful holiday season of present shopping with our analysis and gift picks.
East Carolina Pirates vs Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Odds: Louisiana-Lafayette -5
This is the first meeting between these two programs as Louisiana-Lafayette looks to defend their R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl crown after winning last year in their first Division-1 postseason game. The Pirates are just under .500 in 17 bowl game and this game could depend on their porous pass defense (105th in the country) against Louisiana-Lafayette’s aerial attack (48th). Louisiana-Lafayette is also 39th on the ground and they have enough balance to throw off the Pirates.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are playing for small programs everywhere and it has to help that they’re playing in a de facto home game – even though East Carolina should have support as well.
Look for a big game from Louisiana-Lafayette QB Terrence Broadway, who was good for 266 yards per game of total offense and he is the fuel behind the Ragin’ Cajuns’ balanced attack. Louisiana-Lafayette is no slouch, and they’ll show it on Saturday.
Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette -5
Washington Huskies vs Boise State Broncos
Odds: Boise State -5
It should be no surprise to anyone that the Boise State Broncos are listed as the favorites in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas. They have won the bowl two years in a row by a combined 55 points.
This year’s edition of the Broncos aren’t as powerful as previous teams but they’re still a 10-win team that is ninth in the country in total defense, which has helped to balance out an offense in transition after losing Kellen Moore and Doug Martin.
The Huskies were an offensive juggernaut last season but they’ve reinvented themselves to be more focused on defense. That’s thanks to their new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who worked for Boise State last year.
Still, they struggle against the run sometimes (66th in the country in rush defense) and Boise State may be able to take advantage of that. Washington isn’t a bad five-loss team, when you consider that three of those losses came on the road against LSU, Oregon and Arizona (the other two came at home to USC and an overtime loss to Washington State), but those three losses were blowouts away from home and the Broncos should have the edge in crowd support.
The Broncos are also an experienced team (especially on defense) that has been to the postseason every year since 2002 and a couple of those were BCS games, so this is a program that used to success and they know how to prepare for bowl games while Washington definitely isn’t on the same level of consistency.
This will probably be close for the first half as Boise State’s offense isn’t as elite as it once was but their defense will wear the Washington offense down to force a couple mistakes and give their offense good field position to take advantage of. The Broncos should win this game handily in Las Vegas.
Pick: Boise State -5