Louisiana vs. Marshall New Orleans Bowl Preview and Best Bet

A group of Marshall students gather. Joe Robbins/Getty Images/AFP

Louisiana will battle the Thundering Herd of Marshall in the New Orleans Bowl which takes place at the home of the Saints, the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. Let’s find out which team is poised to get the cover and keep cashing our college football picks!

Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

Saturday, December 18, 2021 – 9:15 PM EST at Caesars Superdome

Imagine if Louisiana could have that first game of the year to do over again. It proved to be their only loss of the season and the only ranked team they played this year when they fell to Texas by the score of 38-18.

However, the Ragin’ Cajuns blitzed the rest of their schedule and used a combination of a punishing ground attack coupled with a stout pass defense to mow down the rest of the competition in the Sun Belt Conference.

In their last outing, they took on Appalachian State in the conference championship and the college football odds at all of the best online sportsbooks had them installed as 2 ½ point home underdogs. But the bookmakers had the wrong favorite as Louisiana came into that one flying, drawing first blood on a three-yard Levi Lewis jaunt into the end zone. The Mountaineers would kick a field goal shortly thereafter but it was all Cajuns after that.

Montrell Johnson and Chris Smith would rack up a combined 185 rushing yards of the 246 that Louisiana would pin on Appalachia State. The defense produced a pair of sacks and two interceptions and when the dust settled, Louisiana left no doubt as to who the Sun Belt champs were when they exited with a 41-13 victory.

Marshall Ends on Sour Note

The one thing you could say about the Thundering Herd was that even in defeat they never lost by much. They always kept it close, losing by an average of just 4 ½ points. But then came their final game of the season against Conference USA East Division champ, Western Kentucky. It was not the way they wanted to end a gritty season that could have seen them end with a respectable 8-4 overall mark.

Marshall was in charge after the first half with a 14-6 lead but then the roof fell in as Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe went to work and eviscerated the Marshall secondary for four touchdowns and ended with 328 passing yards, while the running game gouged the Herd’s defensive line for 157 yards.

Marshall quarterback, Grant Wells, completed his first 10 passes but was sacked in the second quarter and exited the game for good with an undisclosed injury. That changed the entire complexion of the game but it is rumored that Wells sustained bruised ribs, and if so, should have plenty of time to lick his wounds and be ready for this one with Louisiana.

Wanna Make a Bet?

The masses will be sending it in on Louisiana because they are, after all, the No. 16 ranked team in the nation and are riding a 12-game winning streak. Marshall, on the other hand, owns a middling 7-5 record and is the decided underdog in this matchup because of it.

However, Marshall has played a better caliber of competition than Louisiana and owns the 12th ranked aerial attack, averaging nearly 311 yards per game. Although Louisiana has a solid pass defense, they have not had to withstand the kind of attack that Grant Wells and the Marshall offense is capable of on a regular basis.

We should also note that Louisiana won’t have the head coach that brought them this far when they lace them up against Marshall. Billy Napier has left for greener pastures at the University of Florida and former OC, Michael Desormeaux, will try to prepare his troops in Napier’s absence. That’s an intangible that is impossible to quantify but if we have to break it down to a positive or negative for Louisiana…it’s a negative.

Marshall is better than their record suggests and should overwhelm the Cajuns with a withering passing attack that will at least keep this one within the margins, if not win this game outright. Grab the points with the Thundering Herd.

NCAAF Pick: Marshall +5 ½ (-110) with BetMGM