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New Orleans Bowl betting preview

In a Southern-fried bowl match-up 8-4 East Carolina, which tied for first in the CUSA East but lost out on the tie-breaker, takes on 8-4 Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl Saturday, Dec. 22 at the Superdome (noon ET, ESPN).

According to early New Orleans Bowl betting odds the Ragin' Cajuns, in a bowl for the second straight season, were favored by five points over the Pirates, who are back in a bowl after one-season absence.

The past 7 New Orleans Bowls played OVER the total. [ More New Orleans Bowl betting trends and picks ]

View East Carolina vs Louisiana-Lafayette Odds and Stats.

Betting Line: Bettors looking to back the visiting Pirates in this one found them as 4-point underdogs on the opening college football point spread at TopBet. Bookmark the college football odds pages to see where the over under line moves (it was 64.5 earlier at Bovada).

East Carolina Bowl History

YearBowlTeam1ScoreTeam2ScoreTeam2LineATS win
1995Liberty BowlStanford13East Carolina193E.CAR
1999Mobile Alabama BowlTCU28East Carolina14-5.5TCU
2000GalleryFurniture.com BowlEast Carolina40Texas Tech27-1E.CAR
2001GMAC BowlMarshall64East Carolina61-2MARSHL
2006Papajohns.com BowlEast Carolina7South Florida24-5.5S.FLA
2007Hawaii BowlEast Carolina41Boise State38-11.5E.CAR
2008Conference USA ChampionshipEast Carolina27Tulsa24-12.5E.CAR
2008Liberty BowlEast Carolina19Kentucky253KENTUC
2009Conference USA ChampionshipHouston32East Carolina381E.CAR
2009Liberty BowlArkansas20East Carolina177.5E.CAR
2010Military BowlEast Carolina20Maryland51-7.5MARYL

Louisiana Lafayette Bowl History

YearBowlTeam1ScoreTeam2ScoreTeam2LineATS win
2011New Orleans BowlUL-Lafayette32San Diego State30-6UL.LAF

How They Match Up:
The game also pits Louisiana-Lafayette's No. 33-ranked offense, averaging 34.8 PPG, against a Pirates defense that ranks No. 86 this week at 30.7 PPG. The Ragin` Cajuns aerial game is averaging 256.2 yards per game, less than the Pirates secondary allows through the air, 272.9 YPG per game.

Defensively, the Pirates feature the league's No. 11-rated road run defense, allowing 101.5 yards per game. Louisiana-Lafayette, meanwhile, ranks No. 36 in rushing offense at home.

East Carolina was a 65-59 winner in their most recent outing at home against Marshall. They failed to cover the 6.5-point spread as favorites, while the total score (124) made winners of OVER bettors. In East Carolina's last outing, Shane Carden threw for 439 yards to lead the Pirates over Marshall 65-59 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

In their last action, Louisiana-Lafayette was a 35-21 winner on the road against Florida Atlantic. They covered the 8.5-point spread as favorites, while the combined score (56) was profitable news for UNDER bettors. In their last game, Louisiana-Lafayette got a 127-yard performance from Alonzo Harris as a key part of its 35-21 win over Florida Atlantic.

East Carolina Pirates Trends:
When playing in December are 5-5
When playing on turf are 7-3
After being outgained are 7-3
When an underdog on the road are 3-7

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin` Cajuns Trends:
When playing in December are 3-1
When playing on turf are 7-3
After being outgained are 6-4
When favored at home are 9-1

A few Pirates at Ragin` Cajuns trends to consider:
East Carolina is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of East Carolina's last 5 games
Louisiana-Lafayette is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Louisiana-Lafayette's last 6 games