In its first FBS season, Jacksonville State was able to qualify for a bowl game behind a stellar season under Rich Rodriguez.
The Gamecocks play on the opening day of the 2023 bowl season against Louisiana in what should be an exciting New Orleans Bowl. How should we bet it? You can find our full betting coverage for this bowl season here, but below will be our preview and best bet for this bowl game.
Let's waste no time, here's how I'm betting the New Orleans Bowl:
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Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana Odds, Spread and Total
Louisiana vs. Jacksonville State Betting Trends
- Jacksonville State is 9-3 against the spread (ATS) this season
- Jacksonville State is 5-1 ATS as a favorite
- Louisiana is 3-1 ATS as an underdog
- Louisiana has gone OVER in three of four games as an underdog
- Jacksonville State's Rich Rodriguez is 2-9 ATS in bowl games
Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana How to Watch
- Date: Saturday, December 16th
- Game Time: 2:15 PM EST
- Venue: Caesars Superdome
- How to Watch (TV): ESPN
- Jacksonville State Record: 8-4
- Louisiana Record: 6-6
Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana Key Players to Watch
Zion Webb: Webb is the dual-threat quarterback of the Gamecocks who has taken the majority of the team's snaps this season. While he has only passed for 1,281 and five touchdowns, he has added 638 yards on the ground and seven rushing TDs. He will face a poor Louisiana rush defense that could lead to a big bowl game for him.
Chandler Fields: Fields got hurt in Week 2 against UAB, but returned for the home stretch of the season and passed for more than 240 yards in the team's last three games, totaling eight touchdowns and only one interception. Fields is expected to draw the start in the bowl game.
Louisiana vs. Jacksonville State Prediction and Pick
The crux of this handicap is the Louisiana rush defense against Jacksonville State's up-tempo, ground-heavy approach.
While Louisiana grades out favorably against the run, 10th in explosive rush rate allowed and allowing less than four yards per carry, the defensive line has lost at the point of attack all season, 118th in defensive line yards. Overall, this team is 95th in rush defense according to Pro Football Focus. Further, the Ragin' Cajun struggles at getting stops in the red zone, 91st in red zone touchdown percentage.
Louisiana's outmatched defensive line will be exposed against Jacksonville State, who is 20th in run block grading according to PFF. The Gamecocks are fourth in runs of 20 or more yards this season and should be able to rip a few more in this one.
Now, what should we make of Louisiana's ability to move the ball on Jacksonville State's defense? The team looked revitalized with Fields back under center in place of Zeon Chriss down the stretch, scoring 24 or more in the last three games.
Louisiana grades out as a top-40 offense in terms of yards per play and has scored nearly three points per drive across the balance of the season and the drop-off to Fields is not all that meaningful to the team's production.
I agree with the Gamecocks being favored, and I prefer the OVER as my favorite bet in the New Orleans Bowl.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Track Reed's bets here!