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Iowa State Cyclones vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns Betting Picks and Predictions

12 September 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney

Date: September 12, 2020

Time: 12:00 PM ET

Venue: Jack Trice Stadium

Network: ESPN

Spread: Iowa State -11.5

O/U: 57

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns Preview

Make no mistake, this team is absolutely no joke. The core of the offense is returning and they were one of the more surprising teams of the 2019 season. They lost twice to a 21st ranked Appalachian State and once to Mississippi State. That’s it. They lean on one of the best rushing attacks in the country and it’s headed by Senior Elijah Mitchell, who ran for 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns a season ago. He’ll be complemented by Trey Ragas, who added another 820 yards and 11 TDs. QB Levi Lewis is extremely underrated and he’s exactly what you look for out of a QB in a run-heavy system. Lewis threw for 3,050 yards and 26 TDs with just four interceptions. 

Where they do lose some depth is at the receiver position. Leading-receiver Ja’Marcus Bradley (906 Yds, 10 TD) and third-leading receiver Jarrod Jackson (405 Yds) have both graduated and they’ll look to Jamal Bell and Peter LeBlanc to step up in a big way. TE Nick Ralston has also graduated and he was a big target in the RZ with four scores in 2019. Neal Johnson might just be a better overall receiver, however, and I expect him to step up in a big way with both leading redzone targets gone.

Lewis does a phenomenal job of minimizing his mistakes and putting his running backs in a position to succeed. They might have trouble establishing the run to start the game when Iowa State is fresh, but that will change. This ULL offensive line is returning four starters and they are all run-mashing dogs. The Cyclones defense is going to wear down over time. They gave up 200+ yards on the ground three times in ‘19 and allowed 140 YPG. The Iowa State offense is impossible to completely stop, but ULL will have a chance to grind this game out and win if they can at least slow them down and give their elite running game an opportunity to set the pace. 

Iowa State Cyclones Preview

Last season was an up-and-down one for the Iowa State Cyclones. They finished the regular season 7-5 before losing 33-9 to Notre Dame in the Camping World Bowl. I went as a bystander to that game and can say ISU fans weren’t happy with the conclusion of 2019. With that being said, the Cyclones return the best players on the offense and QB Brock Purdy is returning for his third straight season under center. 

Purdy threw for 6,300 combined yards and I expect an even better season three. Leading-receivers Deshaunte Jones (76 Yds, 877 Yds, 2 TD) and La’Michael Pettway (55 Rec, 676 Yds, 6 TD) have both graduated and Purdy will need to find new weapons on the outside. 

The Cyclones do have one of the best TE’s in the country in Charlie Kolar, who posted 697 yards and seven touchdowns. He, along with big-play threat Tarique Milton, will be leaned on more than ever with Jones and Pettway gone. Milton has put up 1,100 combined yards over the last two seasons and he averaged 20.8 YPC in ‘19. Xavier Hutchinson and Sean Shaw will be the two new threats on the outside and I’ll be watching 6’6 Shaw as he should be a monster in the redzone.

The Cyclones are an explosive offense and the addition of Breece Hall a season ago gave them a ton of versatility. They were looked at as a one-dimensional offense and rightfully so for a few seasons before. Hall is one of the more talented backs in the country and it’s impossible to keep the ball out of his hands. He rushed for 

Spread Prediction

This is my favorite bet of this Saturday slate and I’m all in here. The Ragin’ Cajuns offense is returning nine of 11 starters and they shouldn’t be affected by the pandemic all too much. The Iowa State offense is going to do its damage and Purdy will throw for 300 yards and three scores. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the Cyclones lead for the majority of the game. Still, this ULL defense ranked first in the conference and they won’t make anything easy for Purdy. 

The rushing attack of Louisiana-Lafayette will wear this smaller Iowa State defensive-line down and they will look to control the second-half time of possession. They’ll pressure Purdy and look to cause a turnover or two down the stretch to swing the game. I also certainly expect a team that relies on the running game to have an easier time with the shortened training camp than one that relies on passing. Too many points. 

At +305, I love taking a 0.5 unit shot on the money line here. The Cyclones defenses has been susceptible to the run in years past and they return just two starters from a year ago. This Louisiana-Lafayette team is going to run the ball down your throat all the while having a 3,000+ yard passer under center. This is no team for Iowa State to look past as they will hand them a shocking early loss.

The Pick: ULL +11.5

ULL ML to win +305

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

Love the over here. The Iowa State Cyclones offense is what it is and they’re not going to be shut down. The Louisiana-Lafayette defense was phenomenal in 2019, but they didn’t play a single offense with similar firepower to ISU. Purdy is extremely comfortable in this system and they’re going to put up 30 or so points. We then get to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns and you know my feeling on them. I expect the running game to wear this Cyclones defense down and for the Ragin’ Cajuns to control the second-half. I’m willing to bet the over up to 59 here as I think both of these teams find their way into the 30s. 

The Pick: Over 57

Final Score Prediction: Ragin’ Cajuns 38, Cyclones 34

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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