LSU Tigers vs. Arkansas Razorbacks Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

No. 7 LSU Tigers (9-2 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (4-7 SU, 2-9 ATS)
College Football Week 13
Date/Time: Friday November 23rd, 2012. 2:30PM Eastern
Where: Razorback Stadium Fayetteville, A.R.
by Jay, Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: Louisiana St. -14/ARK +14
Over/Under Total: OFF

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Who says black Friday is just for shopping? This black Friday will be all about football when the no. 7 LSU Tigers travel to Fayetteville to battle the Arkansas Razorbacks in an annual season ending rivalry contest. The 9-2 SU Tigers overcame a late deficit to defeat Ole Miss last week in a thrilling 41-35 shootout. This week the Tigers look to keep their BCS Bowl hopes alive while attempting to also capture their 3rd straight 10 plus win season.

The visiting Razorbacks have not had anything go their way this season sporting an ugly 4-7 SU mark. For those that do not remember, this was a team expected to possibly contend for BCS National Championship following last year’s strong 11-2 campaign. Instead the Razorbacks have struggled tremendously under new coach John L Smith who has failed to find the winning formula in Fayetteville. This week the Razorbacks will be a two touchdown underdog when they host Les Miles’ LSU Tigers as they attempt to salvage some type of success for the year.

Unfortunately, Arkansas has not only failed to win football games but they have also been awful going 2-9 ATS. Additionally, Arkansas is just 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games at home. So how can Arkansas get things turned around? It starts on the defensive side of the football where the Razorbacks have relinquished 41.7 points on average in their 7 losses this season. Against a similarly physical Alabama opponent earlier this year, the Razorbacks were dominated in the trenches in a 52-0 bludgeoning. The Arkansas defense has to prevent LSU’s offensive line from taking this game over and get a great effort from their defensive line to keep this game competitive.

LSU has one of the best power rushing attacks in the country averaging 188 yards per game on the ground. Despite not having a true superstar in the back field, LSU has still captured over 2,000 yards rushing this season. However, the Tigers do have a young freshman tailback in Jeremy Hill that has the potential to be a superstar tailback. Hill has gained just less than 500 yards in the last 5 games and is averaging almost 5 yards per carry. If LSU’s superior offensive line wins the battle up front, Hill could have another big game.

Tigers’ QB Zach Mettenberger had been playing well in recent weeks prior to last week’s performance against Ole Miss. Mettenberger hit 22 of 37 passing last week for 282 yards but tossed two picks with 0 touchdowns in that shootout against Ole Miss. Mettenberger had a few impressive showings against Alabama and Mississippi State which game the coaches a ton of confidence about the growing potential on offense. Therefore, it will be interesting to see what type of play calling comes from the ‘Mad Hatter’ this Friday. Will LSU stick to the power running formula or will they allow Mettenberger to throw the football around?

Either way the Tigers should be in fairly decent shape no matter what they decide to do on offense. The Tigers defense has been rock solid this year giving up just 281 total yards per game (5th in FBS). Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson is a really solid passer completing 62.5% passing for 3,028 yards with 20 scores and 12 picks. Despite the Razorbacks extinct running game, Wilson has kept the offense effective with the help of wide receiver Cobi Hamilton. Hamilton is a difference maker that has caught 80 passes for 1,212 yards (5th in FBS) on the year while averaging more than 15 yards per catch. If Wilson can connect with Hamilton down the field, perhaps Arkansas can get LSU’s defense off the line of scrimmage and create some space for the passing game. If that happens, Arkansas has the talent to move the football just like Ole Miss successfully did last week.

Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Arkansas is simply a bad football team right now. The Razorbacks have been dominated in their last two losses by Mississippi State and South Carolina. LSU may be the best of those 3 teams and they will prove their physical toughness this Friday. Tigers -14 is a lock!

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