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Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana Odds, Spread, Over/Under, Moneyline - New Orleans Bowl Odds

Moneyline: Jacksonville State Gamecocks -140, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns +120
Spread: Jacksonville State -2.5 (-115), Louisiana +2.5 (-105)
Total: Over/Under 59.5 points

College Football Schedule New Orleans Bowl – Game info College Football Season 2023 – R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Jacksonville State (8-4, 3-3 Away) vs. Louisiana (6-6, 4-2 Home)
Date: Saturday, Dec. 16
Time: 2:15 p.m. ET
Venue: Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, La.
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: FuboTV
Live Radio: ESPN Radio

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks just completed their first regular season at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, and it has resulted in their first-ever bowl game appearance. That’s not a bad way to start a top-level football program. The Gamecocks will head to the Caesars Superdome to take on the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, who will be appearing in their seventh New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 16.

Louisiana might have more local fans on its side, but the Ragin’ Cajuns are the underdogs. They will certainly be eager for a win after losing the New Orleans Bowl to the Houston Cougars a year ago. Meanwhile, this game will be huge for Jacksonville State because winning the school’s first bowl game would be a fantastic way to cap off a successful inaugural FBS season. There is a lot on the line here!

Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana Preview

Their first year in the FBS has brought the Jacksonville State Gamecocks an 8-4 record and a trip to “The Big Easy” for the New Orleans Bowl. They have achieved this despite inconsistency at their quarterback position. An injury to senior starting QB Zion Webb has resulted in both Webb and his backup, junior Logan Smothers, attempting more than 100 passes this season.

Webb has started most of JSU’s 2023 games, but he has only 1,281 passing yards to show for it, along with an underwhelming 50 percent completion rate. Webb has also passed for only five touchdowns against six interceptions this season.

The QB has made up for his shortcomings as a passer by showing off his skill as a runner and contributing to a very dangerous Gamecocks ground game. He has rushed for 638 yards and seven touchdowns. Among JSU players, only running back Malik Jackson, with 860 yards, has gained more yardage on the ground than Webb.

Rushing truly is the name of the game for this Jacksonville State team. The Gamecocks have five players with more than 65 carries this season, and that formula is clearly working. Four of those five are averaging more than five yards per carry, and the team’s 232 rushing yards per game are the nation’s third-best average in that category.

There is no doubt Louisiana will have to stop the run if it wants to win this game. The Ragin’ Cajuns are ranked 89th in the country, giving up 168 rushing yards per outing, which is not a good sign for the New Orleans Bowl’s in-state team.

The other thing Jacksonville State does well is create turnovers. The Gamecocks rank among the nation’s top 12 in that department -- having generated 25 turnovers on the year. This matches up very nicely with the team’s relentless rushing attack. Louisiana will need to protect the ball since JSU tends to use up lots of time on the clock. If the Cajuns give the Gamecocks bonus possessions, then this game could slip away fast.

Louisiana has also had multiple quarterbacks this season, as three Ragin Cajuns players have attempted at least 60 passes. Freshman QB Zeon Chriss was having a good year before suffering a season-ending injury on Nov. 4 at Arkansas State. The injury forced backup Chandler Fields, a junior, to close out the season in relief of Chriss, and the Ragin’ Cajuns needed a final-week victory over Louisiana-Monroe to gain bowl eligibility. Fields played very well in that win -- completing 18 of 20 pass attempts for 246 yards and two touchdowns.

Louisiana’s other standout performer against ULM was running back Elijah Davis, who averaged 7.8 yards per carry in racking up 109 yards and two touchdowns. He will find it tough against Jacksonville State's run defense, which allows only 115 rushing yards per game -- the 24th-best mark in the country.

On the other hand, the Gamecocks are near the bottom of the national rankings when it comes to defending against the pass, and another big performance by Louisiana’s Fields could be in the making. Five Ragin’ Cajuns pass-catchers have more than 300 receiving yards in 2023, so expect Fields to spread the ball around in this one. The aerial route is the best plan of attack for the Gamecocks, which means Fields will need to be sharp to give his team a chance to win.

Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana Prediction and Pick

The Ragin Cajuns’ come into this game as underdogs with a backup quarterback at the helm and a run defense that matches up badly against their opponent. Despite these concerns, Louisiana is familiar with this particular bowl game, having played in it six previous times. The “home team” needed a win to reach this game, and Louisiana hammered ULM when it mattered most. Quarterback Chandler Fields was efficient with the ball and put up a very healthy stat line against the Warhawks.

I expect Louisiana to handle this bowl game better than Jacksonville State, which is closing out its very first FBS season. The Gamecocks’ secondary has been poor this year, and Fields should be able to put up a hefty passing-yardage total. If they can limit the run and force JSU quarterback Zion Webb to throw the ball, the Ragin’ Cajuns should have no problem coming away with a victory.

The Pick: Louisiana Ragin Cajuns to win +120

I think this is likely to be a high-scoring game – one in which both offenses can mostly do what they want. Jacksonville State wants to run the ball, and they have a juicy matchup against the Ragin Cajuns’ bad run defense. At the same time, Louisiana should also have no problem scoring points. The Ragin’ Cajuns are going up against a Gamecocks defense that are among the nation’s worst teams when it comes to stopping the pass, and just one week ago Louisiana quarterback Chandler Fields proved that he can deliver a big passing performance when needed.

Both teams should score freely in this, so I am taking the over.

The Pick: Jacksonville State vs Louisiana over 59.5 points (-115)

Best College Football Same Game Parlay Picks today for Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana: 2-Leg Parlay Pick (+285)

Leg-1 SGP Pick: Louisiana Ragin Cajuns to win +130

Leg-2 SGP Pick: Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana over 56.5 points (-110)

Odds are subject to change*

CFB SGP @(+285): (Bet $100 to Win $385)

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