BYU Cougars vs. LSU Tigers Point Spread – Pick

BYU Cougars (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. No. 13 LSU Tigers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Saturday September 2nd, 2017. 9:30PM (EST)
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, L.A.
TV: ESPN
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: BYU +16/LSU -16
Over/Under Total: 48

The Advocare Texas Kickoff game between the BYU Cougars and no. 13 LSU Tigers will take place this Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game was originally slated to take place at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas but was rescheduled due to the catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Harvey. As my thoughts go out to all the families affected in the Houston area, the relocation efforts will put this game back on Louisiana soil possibly benefiting the 13th ranked Tigers as they will now certainly have the home crowd advantage.

I am not sure if the crowd support would play any major role in the outcome of this game. However, it does favor LSU more to have this game moved to their home state to kick off the first full season of the Ed Orgeron era. For the Orgeron era to have longevity, the offense has to be better than we have seen in recent years under Les Miles. Last year, quarterback Danny Etling had flashes of brilliance followed by moments of face palms by missing wide open receivers mirroring resemblance of Brandon Harris, Zach Mettenberger, and other quarterbacks before him. For LSU to challenge in the SEC West, Etling has to take a big step forward for this team because they have enough talent in every other facet of the game. However, you cannot be a championship team without solid play at the quarterback position.

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If Etling can take that step forward, LSU has a tremendous defense and a dynamic rushing attack that will cause trouble for their opponents. The defense itself is capable of contending with any offense in the country and that is scary considering how bad BYU looked in their opening 20-6 victory over Portland State out of the FCS. The Cougars managed just 365 total yards in a shaky performance. The Cougars were able to muscle out 171 yards on the ground but quarterback Tanner Mangum did not look great hitting 16 of 27 passing for 194 yards and a touchdown. The offense appeared out of rhythm and never connected on any big plays to offer any lofty expectations going into this battle with LSU.

However, the Cougars defense is expected to be one of the better groups in the country this year. They held Portland State to 220 total yards and they will get better as the year progresses. So despite their offensive woes, BYU can still challenge in this game based on the play of the defense alone. If you consider how often we have mentioned LSUs offensive concerns and ability to throw the football, it is not completely impossible for BYU to score an upset in a low scoring game by both teams. In fact, if LSU does not make a few big plays down the field, I imagine BYU will sellout to stop the run which could really complicate things for the Tigers offense.

I believe BYU will need to put extra hope towards the line of scrimmage to stop LSUs rushing attack. BYUs defense is really good but LSU is extremely physical along the trenches. Running back Derrius Guice comes into 2017 on the heels of a 1,387 yard season and 15 touchdowns. What makes those numbers even more impressive is the fact that 129 carries was shared with the injury ridden Leonard Fournette. With Guice promising to carry the load this season, the potential is there for a really big season from the junior tailback. I have high expectations for Guice behind LSUs offensive line this year and I think their running game will be the difference in this game.

Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think LSU wins this game but would not be surprised if BYU hangs close and keeps this game interesting especially if LSU has a bad offensive performance. Instead, I think the best bet in this game is the under 48. I expect defenses to dominate this game and scoring should be limited for both teams. Good luck!

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