Louisiana hosts the Sun Belt Conference title game against Appalachian State on Saturday, which also will be the final game as Cajuns coach for Billy Napier. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
Saturday, December 4, 2021 – 03:30 PM EST at Cajun Field
Because of a COVID issue, Louisiana didn’t get a chance to win its first-ever Sun Belt Conference Championship Game in 2020, but the Cajuns will host Appalachian State in the 2021 version on Saturday in what will be the last game as UL coach for Billy Napier.
The Sun Belt title game has only been around since 2018. The first two seasons saw Appalachian State beat Louisiana. The Cajuns were to face Coastal Carolina in the game last year, but the Chants had a COVID outbreak. These schools did play in the regular season and it was also at Cajun Field on Oct. 12 and Louisiana rolled to a 41-13 victory. In part due to turnovers by App State, the Cajuns scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and led 20-6 at the break.
Overall, the Mountaineers gave the ball away four times and were held to 211 yards. Chase Brice had 133 yards passing and two picks. Counterpart Levi Lewis of Louisiana threw for 209 yards and a score and rushed for a TD. The underdog is 5-1 against the spread at BMR’s top-rated books in the past six meetings.
Mountaineers Dominating Defensively
Appalachian State won the Sun Belt East Division – which is a much, much better division than the West. The Mountaineers (10-2) finished 7-1 in league play, that lone loss vs. Louisiana, a game up on Georgia State and Coastal Carolina. No question that App State is playing its best football right now on a six-game winning streak, the past five all by double digits. The Mountaineers handled Georgia Southern 27-3 on Saturday to wrap up the regular season.
The Eagles were held to just 194 yards, and in the final four games of the regular season, the Mountaineers allowed a combined 31 points. It was the seventh time this year App State has held its opponent under 100 rushing yards. The Mountaineers were up just 10-3 after Georgia Southern made a 38-yard field goal in the final minute of the third quarter, but John Virgil returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for the score. It was Virgil’s second touchdown return of the season.
QB Chase Brice threw for 235 yards with two scores, and Thomas Hennigan finished with three catches for 111 yards. He has played in more FBS games than anyone in history (63) as a sixth-year super senior. Kicker Chandler Staton became the school’s all-time leading scorer in the game. His 425 points are sixth in FBS history for points by a kicker.
App State has won 10 games for the fifth time in eight FBS seasons. It’s the third time reaching 10 regular-season wins as an FBS program (2015, 2019). The school was 7-0 at home. The Mountaineers are 1-5 ATS on the NCAAF odds in their past six road games vs. teams with a winning home record.
Napier’s Finale With Cajuns
Louisiana (11-1) lost its season-opening game at Texas out of conference and hasn’t lost since, finishing 8-0 in league play and a whopping five games up on second-place Texas State in the Sun Belt West. We mentioned above that this will be it as UL coach for Billy Napier as he will take over at Florida after this game and not coach the Cajuns in their bowl.
Florida made the announcement Sunday, but the official press conference to introduce Napier will be the day after this game. “There was never a doubt we were going to coach in the (title) game, and certainly even now we tried to get the announcement out of the way (Sunday),” Napier said. “We’ll have a total focus this week on the conference championship game. When we’re done here Saturday, we’ll forward and start working on the challenges that are ahead of us.”
Napier’s team concluded the regular season with a 21-16 win over Louisiana Monroe to secure a perfect Sun Belt mark for the first time in school history. Senior QB Levi Lewis threw for 163 yards and rushed for a score. He has thrown for 2,437 yards and 18 TDs on the season with only four picks while rushing for 206 yards and three scores. Lewis holds the school record for career TD passes.
Louisiana’s defense held an opponent under 20 points for the seventh time this season and had 7.0 tackles-for-loss and 2.0 sacks. The Cajun defense ranks 13th nationally in scoring defense, holding opponents to 18.5 points per game. The 11 wins have tied a school record.
Considering Louisiana is at home, we have to take the points – the Cajuns are 4-1 ATS on the NCAAF odds in their past five as home dogs. Also, like the under with both defenses playing so well. The under is 5-2 in App State’s past seven and 14-2 in Louisiana’s past 16 at home.
NCAAF Pick: Under 53 points (-110) with BetOnline
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