Two teams that were among the top pointspread teams in the country this year will go at it in Boone, NC on Saturday as Appalachian State hosts UL-Lafayette. The Cajuns are 10-2 SU/8-3 ATS on the season while the Mountaineers are 11-1 SU/8-4 ATS. Both teams will almost certainly get a bowl invite but only won can win the second ever Sun Belt Conference Championship game.
There’s a lot to like about both of these teams and from a situational standpoint there’s a lot about UL Lafayette’s pointspread performance this season. The Ragin’ Cajuns were a perfect 5-0 SU on the road going 4-1 against the spread. They were an underdog only twice during the regulra season covering both games. They’ve also been a great ‘investment’ when seeking revenge for a previous loss. This year they’re 3-1 ATS in revenge spots with a three year record of 9-2 ATS. Appalachian State did their best ATS work away from home. The Mountaineers were a solid 5-1 SU at home but just 3-3 against the spread. They were 8-1 SU as a favorite but just 5-4 against the number.
Pointspread performance records only tell part of the story and don’t replace a fundamental evaluation of the matchup. The teams played a very atypical game against each other during the regular season in Lafayette, LA. Despite ranking near the top of the NCAA FCS scoring average table they combined for only 24 points in a 17-7 App State victory. Even stranger–neither team ran the ball effectively combining for only 319 yards on the ground. Neither team made a lot of mistakes and both finished with no turnovers. It was just a result that didn’t reflect the best qualities of either team.
Things will get much tougher for the Cajuns here as Appalachian State is a nasty opponent on their home field at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, NC. The Mountaineers have lost only four times at home since 2015 and only twice in Sun Belt Conference play. They’ve also dominated UL-Lafayette since joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2014. That’s a record of 7-0 SU/4-3 ATS. The Mountaineers have won the last four games head to head by double digits. In other words, none of the recent meetings were anywhere near the poinstpread for this game. It’s overly optimistic that the visitor can stay within a touchdown and we’ll bet accordingly.