Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana kicks off this Saturday (12/16/23) at 2:15pm EST in New Orleans Louisiana as the host site for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Get Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana predictions and best bets below as our best bet is on Jacksonville State -3 as the Gamecocks are in a good position to run away with this one.
Jacksonville State Vs. Louisiana Prediction
The college football regular season may be over, but there are plenty of more games to be played for our betting pleasure over the course of December in the form of bowl games. Bowl season is as hectic as ever as there are already 1000+ players who have opted out or entered the transfer portal, drastically shifting betting lines at a moment’s notice. For the most up to date list of what is happening in the college football landscape, you can read it here as Lineups football analyst Jacob Wayne continues to update this page throughout the month.
As for this game, opt outs and transfers are relatively limited, and both are expected to bring the bulk of their starting production. Only Louisiana’s starting linebacker Kendre Gant has entered the transfer portal, potentially being a key loss for the middle of their defense should he find a new home. It is worth noting that a player who has entered the transfer portal can still backtrack and play in the bowl game should they remain with the team.
For simplistic reasons, the handicap for bowl season will factor transfer portal entrants as if they are not playing until told otherwise. With or without Kendre in this instance, Jacksonville State’s offense should have no issue with moving the ball down the field as they have massive advantages in the ground game. The Gamecocks built their success off their ability to run the ball, finishing the year ranked 44th in Rush Success Rate and 57th in Rush PPA.
That is a drastic difference in comparison to Louisiana’s rush defense metrics as the Ragin Cajuns rank a lowly 121st in Def Rush Success Rate and 95th in Def Rush PPA. They do excel at stopping Rush Play Explosiveness, yet the Gamecocks thrive more in methodical drives rather than generating the big play. Factor in Louisiana’s inability to generate any sort of Havoc and the Gamecocks should suffer little resistance in their efforts of moving the ball down the field.
On the other side of the ball, downfield success should be tough to come by for the Ragin Cajuns as they run into a stout Gamecocks defense. Unlike the Gamecocks run heavy approach, Louisiana brings a balanced offensive attack. The issue is that they face a Gamecocks defense who ranks 13th in Def Success Rate, 26th in Def Points per Opportunity, and 44th in Havoc.
Jacksonville State Vs. Louisiana Prediction: Jacksonville State -3
Jacksonville State Vs. Louisiana Best Odds
Heading into bowl season, oddsmakers originally had this contest pegged as a tight one by opening the Ragin Cajuns as a -1.5 favorite. Bettors were quick to flip the script by betting the Gamecocks up to as high as -3.5 in some shops. They have since been bet back down to the key number of -3, yet still offer some value with serious advantages on both sides of the ball.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a very quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 57.5. Bettors believe that number still opened a tad too low, backing the over up to 59.5 as of writing. An intriguing line movement as this game should feature a run heavy game script from the Gamecocks while the Ragin Cajuns offense is poised to sputter early on.
Jacksonville State Vs. Louisiana Key Matchups
Can Zion Webb find success through the air against the Louisiana secondary?
Zion Webb Vs. Louisiana Secondary
It’s been about as bad as it gets for the Jacksonville State pass attack as they finished the year ranked 105th in Pass Success Rate, 114th in Pass PPA, and 91st in Pass Explosiveness. Zion Webb’s stat line echoes those metrics as he threw for 1,281 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions.
— Jax State Football (@JaxStateFB) November 25, 2023
Luckily for Webb, he gets the chance to succeed in a conservative pass game script by throwing against a secondary that ranks 85th in Def Pass Success Rate. That means the Ragin Cajuns will potentially be exposed when they try to stack the box, creating gaps in their coverage against the short throw on the outside.