Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 9:30 AM EST
5:00 PM EST. Adopting a contrarian ideology, we champion the importance of buying low. Teams’ whose stock has fallen through the floor bode tremendous value from time to time with the challenge being to find the right time to step in. Perhaps no team in America typifies this more than the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. Lafayette are owners to the worst scoring defense in all the land, as they allow an average of 53.8 points per game. Additionally, this outfit has lost its last three contests overall and has yet to cover this year. Furthermore, the Cajuns have yet to beat an FBS opponent in 2017. All of these narratives create a vividly negative perception of this football team and as a result, no one wants a part of them. As a whole, teams of this caliber often come accompanied with enhanced points but this number appears curiously low to us. That’s our prompt to move in.
Some markets opened with the Vandals spotting just two points to the Ragin’ Cajuns. With Idaho covering their last two and Lafayette being one of the most unappealing teams in the country to get behind, the chalk looks too easy here. After all, the Vandals came in under a 17-point cushion at Western Michigan and followed that up with an outright win in overtime when they travelled to South Alabama last week as a seven-point pup. However, teams’ that come in off hard-fought wins are usually a great team to fade. While Idaho may have came up with a big win against the Jaguars, that emotional win will likely cause a letdown here. Let’s not forget this is the same Idaho team that had its doors blown off by UNLV in Moscow as a four-point choice three weeks ago. The stock was high on the Vandals then too.
Lafayette has had two weeks to prepare for this game. Though they lost to Monroe, Lafayette took some positives away from that affair. The Cajuns’ notoriously porous defense was able to generate the stops it needed to keep the game close enough to be within striking distance. The Cajuns trailed by as much as 16 points against Monroe but never relinquished the critical points to put the game out of reach. In spite of everything, Lafayette forced two overtimes before they ran out of gas. Now it’s the Vandals that are coming off a double OT game last week against South Alabama in which they managed to score just 29 points.
Bad favorites are teams that perform the role of favorite rarely, and unreliably. Expansion has overpopulated the bottom tier of the FBS, and consequently there are plenty of really poor teams being asked to win by a margin. The bad-favorite archetype is a program that hasn't won much at all the past several years, let alone posted winning seasons. Rarely favored to win, its players are accustomed to losing. These teams aren't good enough to play four mistake-free quarters, lack explosive playmakers, aren't accustomed to playing with leads and haven't had enough experience closing out games. Any victory is usually hard-earned. These are not the teams you want to get behind and this low opening price on the dog strongly suggests to us that visitor is in line to pull off the upset.
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#357 UL-Lafayette +194 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.88)