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LSU Tigers vs. Louisville Cardinals Odds - Prediction

No. 20 LSU Tigers (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. No. 13 Louisville Cardinals (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS)
College Football Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl Preview
Date/Time: Saturday December 31st, 2016. 11:00AM (EST)
Where: Camping World Stadium Orlando, F.L.
TV: ESPN
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: LSU -3/LOU +3
Over/Under Total: 60

The no. 20 LSU Tigers will meet the no. 13 Louisville Cardinals in an interesting matchup inside Camping World Stadium on Saturday December 31st in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. This game features one of the best defenses in the nation by way of LSU under new coach Ed Orgeron and one of the most exciting offenses in the country led by Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Over the years, the SEC has long touted their prestigious defenses as one of the benchmarks of the conference. That benchmark will be put to the test when the Tigers try to find ways to stop Jackson and the Cardinals in this exciting Citrus Bowl matchup.

If you did not watch the Heisman Trophy Award Show, Jackson’s stats were unprecedented this season with 3,390 passing yards totaling 30 touchdowns with 9 picks along with 1,538 yards on the ground resulting in another 21 touchdowns. Jackson’s 1,538 yards rushing actually ranked 8th in the entire FBS against all rushers. He is just the 3rd player in FBS history with at least 30 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns joining elite company with Tim Tebow and Cam Newton. Possibly the most shocking part is that Jackson accomplished all these feats as a sophomore this season and he still has growing potential.

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Of course it would not be fair to give Jackson all of the credit for Louisville’s success this year but he is the main reason the Cardinals were able to flirt with the National Championship talk for much of the year. Offensively Jackson has a lot of good players around him with running back Brandon Radcliff and a handful of talented pass catchers in the receiving corps. Therefore, it is going to be very interesting to see how this offense matches up against LSU. The Tigers can man up on the outside with an NFL type talented secondary and they are also extremely tough against the run where they rank 16th in the FBS in rush defense. LSU has the size and speed to make things difficult even for someone as talented as Jackson when Louisville holds the football.

I believe that LSU will play well against this Louisville defense. I really like the way they match up. However for as confident as I am in the LSU defense and I am that much less confident in the Tigers offense. Sure they closed out the year with an impressive 54-39 performance against Texas A&M on the road and beat Arkansas 38-10 on the road before that. However, this is the same offense that was shutout by Alabama at home and then held to just 10 points in the loss to Florida at the end of the year as well. The stagnant offense is what got Les Miles canned to start the year. To be fair, Orgeron did a good job of turning things around shortly thereafter but he still had a few questionable outings at the end of the season even in terms of play calling.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why a program as prestigious as LSU that recruits so well continues to have trouble at the quarterback position. In all honesty, the quarterback play has likely cost the Tigers a potential trip or two to the National Championship in recent years because they have had the supporting cast to get the job done. The same is the case this season as LSU houses the best tandem rushing duo on the college gridiron with Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette.

The two rushers have combined for more than 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns in an underachieving offense. WR Malachi Dupre has big play capability but barely gets a chance to show it. All of this is because of the play at the quarterback position which started under Brandon Harris and has transitioned to Danny Etling. Together the two passwers have completed less than 60% passing with 10 touchdowns and 6 picks on the year. Not the greatest stats for a program that is supposed to be in the hunt for an SEC Championship on a near annual basis. Therefore, I am still concerned that LSU could potentially lay another offensive egg in a game that they will have to score points to beat Louisville.

Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I am basing my decision based off trends. LSU closed out the year playing well covering in 5 of their last 7 games ATS. Meanwhile Louisville finished on a run that covered just once in their last 5 games ATS. As long as LSU avoids any further offensive collapse, I like their defense to contain the Cardinals and they should score enough to get the job done even if it is by the ground game alone. Take LSU -3

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NCAA Football Week 4 Betting Previews

Here are some additional game previews from this week's college football card.

Free Picks

Editor's Picks - Each weekend our very own in-house All-American Editor makes his NCAA point spread predictions in an attempt to force fumbles, sack and intercept your bookie!

Expert College Football Picks - Free premium college foots plays against the spread from expert handicappers from around the web from week 1 through the National Championship.

Underdog of the Week Pick - We sort through it all and find out which University is getting "too many points" this week. If there was a Heisman Trophy for picking underdogs, we'd be a frontrunner. Expect a 57%+ winning percentage with these picks as we've got a keen ear for loud barking dogs.

Line Movement - NCAA football lines open early in the week and often times move up or down based on wagering activity, injuries to key players and weather. We decipher whether it's square or wiseguy action and predict the point spread winner based on value.

College Football Consensus Picks - We assess the public perception each week and let them pick the winners for us as we fade their selections which provides us with many trips into our bookies endzone.

Computer Picks - We enter them into the computer and the machine makes it's picks. This is a great guide especially when betting totals! These are available after the first few weeks of the season.

Trends - Despite what you have been told or read on tout sites, the trend ain't your friend. We however turn the tables and fade the almighty trend for what should be some great profits over time.

2017/2018 College Football Predictions - Bob gives his picks to win each major conference. At the end, he gives his prediction on who thinks will win the 2018 National Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8th.

2017 Heisman Trophy Predictions - USC QB Sam Darnold is a heavy pre-season favorite to win college football's most coveted award, but Jay isn't buying it. In fact, he's passing up the top (3) favored players in favor of a QB who he's confident will be NCAA football's best player in 2017.

2017-2018 College Football Championship Predictions - NCAA football experts have the Alabama Crimson Tide running away with the National Championship this season and who can blame them? Roll Tide is LOADED! It never happens that easy though. The USC Trojans (+825), Florida St. Seminoles (+850) and Ohio St. Buckckeyes (+875) all have a legit shot. Oddsmakers have Oklahoma (+1300) on the bubble and everybody looking from the outside in at 20/1 or higher. Jay gives his pick to win it all along with how his top 15 rankings for season's end. Get your bets in early before your favorite team's line drops!

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Intertops - The safest place to bet on the web as they've been around over 20 years! Enjoy LIVE college football betting where you can jump into the action at any time during the game and place a bet! This gives you a huge advantage!

Heisman Trophy Betting Odds - USC QB Sam Darnold starts the season off as a heavy favorite at +350 odds. Sooners QB Baker Mayfield is second on the list at +700 but can he keep his nose clean? Louisville QB Lamar Jackson should dominate this season but will Louisville be taken seriously? Oregon Ducks RB Royce Freeman is worth a pop at 60/1 if he gets the carries. Bama WR Calvin Ridley brings experience and big-time playmaking ability and will be featured on National TV a bunch, giving him a legit darkhorse shot. But will they throw the ball enough with a QB who likes to run? Missing from this year's list of odds is a defensive player.

Odds to Win the 2017 College Football Championship - The Alabama Crimson Tide are heavy favorites to win the National Championship this year at 5/2 followed by Ohio St. at 13/5, USC at 7/1 and FSU at 17/2. Things drop off a bit with the Oklahoma Sooners coming in at 12/1, Auburn Tigers at 14/1 and Michigan Wolverines at 16/1. Check out your favorite school's odds here!

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