Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. No. 6 LSU Tigers Pick
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. No. 6 LSU Tigers (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 4
When: Saturday September 22nd, 2018. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Tiger Stadium Baton Rouge, L.A.
By Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Spread: LT +20/LSU -20
Last week I warned everyone that despite being nearly double digit underdogs, that LSU was very capable of going into the Plains and upsetting Auburn with an outright victory. Low and behold, look what happened! LSU kicker Cole Tracy blasted a 42 yard field goal as time expired to lift the Tigers over Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The former 12th ranked Tigers catapulted to the no. 6 spot in the poles this week and now hold the best position to challenge Alabama for the SEC West especially when you consider the fact that the Crimson Tide will have to come to Baton Rouge in early November in what promises to be a monumental showdown.
Before we look too far ahead, LSU has to keep their momentum going and avoid any setbacks. Remember the embarrassing loss to Troy in week 4 last year? Those week 4 nightmares could come back to life this week if the Tigers have a letdown performance against Louisiana Tech this Saturday. The Bulldogs would love nothing more than to knock off the in-state powerhouse and they have had an extra week of preparation for LSU that could be beneficial. Sure there is a huge talent separation and many will ride the Tigers wave of last week’s big victory into another parlay this week. However, this match-up is somewhat concerning for the Tigers and this week’s game falls perfectly into the circumstantial definition of a letdown situation.
Reasons to like the underdog
I know I am going against the grain this week in believing the Bulldogs have a great opportunity to cover the spread. I expect the majority of the betting public to heavily favor the Tigers in this match-up. Before I dive into my main reasons, let me first say that I think this LSU team is a very solid group. This LSU defense is legitimately one of the most talented groups in college football and they should only get better as a team as the year progresses. Coach Ed Orgeron even stated after the Auburn victory that we are “an improving football team.” Therefore, take none of the below comments as disrespect to the quality of talent down in Death Valley.
With those things stated, let’s move into my fear for LSU this weekend. For as good as the LSU defense is, there is still plenty of room for improvement offensively. Quarterback Joe Burrow is completing just 46% of his passes to add to the legacy of problems for LSU quarterbacks. As a result, this offense remains heavily favored to the running attack which continues to be their bread and butter. However, this is the first year in several where they do not have an elite tailback in the backfield that can carry the team on it’s back. Two years ago it was Leonard Fournette. Last year it was Derrius Guice. No disrespect to Nick Brossette but he is not that type of rusher. Therefore as a whole, this offense still lacks the reliability and playmakers they need going forward to maintain their expectations.
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Take Louisiana Tech +20!
Anytime I see a struggling offense favored by a large margin, it makes the underdog pick enticing. In this scenario, not only is the LSU offense an enigma but Louisiana Tech’s offense has some skill position talent. Quarterback J’Mar Smith is a dual threat talent and has some speedy receivers on the outside. Now LSU’s secondary is one of the biggest strengths of the team but Louisiana Tech’s hits a lot of underneath routes and mixes things up with the run. I believe they have enough balance to move the chains and if they can hit a few plays down the field, it may not take a big number on the scoreboard to keep this game within the points. Obviously, the Bulldogs best opportunity is to get off to a good start. If they can keep J’Mar Smith out of obvious passing situations consistently, they will have a good opportunity to apply pressure to LSU’s defense.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Consider this one a smaller play but I like the underdog. Take Louisiana Tech +20