LSU Tigers vs. Kentucky Wildcats Preview and Pick

LSU Tigers (6-0) -9 , o/u 55 at Kentucky Wildcats (5-1), 3:30 pm Eastern Saturday, CBS
by Zman of

The top-ranked team in the country should get a good test this week when the LSU Tigers battle the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday afternoon in Lexington.

LSU is 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC West after rallying to beat Florida last week 28-24 as seven-point home favorites. And after USC’s stunning defeat at the hands of Stanford, the Tigers are now the solid consensus choice as the best college football team in the land.

Kentucky’s Cinderella season hit a bump last week when it lost at South Carolina 38-23 as four-point road underdogs. The Wildcats are now 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the SEC East.

LSU boasts the best defense in the country, allowing just 198 yards per game, while Kentucky leads the SEC in scoring at 43 points per game.

The Tigers are outscoring opponents this season 38-9, outgaining foes 432-198 and outrushing them 227-59.

The ‘Cats are outscoring opponents 43-25, outgaining them 474-378 and outrushing them 213-184.

Last season, LSU beat Kentucky 49-0 as 25-point home chalk. The Tigers outgained the Wildcats 546-227 and outrushed them 268-61, and held Kentucky QB Andre Woodson to a 14/37/151, O TD and 1 INT performance.

This season LSU is 3-3 against the spread, 2-0 straight up and 1-1 ATS on the road.

On the other side, the ‘Cats are 4-1 vs. the numbers this year, 4-0 straight up and 3-0 ATS at home.

Kentucky senior QB Woodson, who’s started 31 games for the Wildcats in his career, has become a name to be reckoned with in Heisman conversations. He’s completed 65% of his passes this season and owns an impressive 18/2 TD/INT ratio.

The Tigers have been going with a two-headed QB combo with Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux, and for the most part, it’s worked. They’ve combined for a 10/4 TD/INT ratio.

These two teams have played one common opponent so far this season. Kentucky lost last week at South Carolina 38-23 as four-point road dogs, while LSU beat the Gamecocks 28-16 as 17-point home chalk three weeks ago. The Tigers outgained SC 360-261, as did the Wildcats, by a margin of 384-342. But South Carolina scored twice on fumble returns vs. Kentucky, which was basically the difference in the game.

The Wildcats may be without senior RB Rafael Little, who ranks second in the SEC in rushing this season with 682 yards. He’s listed as questionable for Saturday’s game with a leg injury.

The o/u is 3-3 in LSU games this season, which are averaging 47 points per. The totals are 3-2 in Kentucky games, which are averaging 68 points per.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at ranks the Tigers 2nd at 95.1, the Wildcats 21st at 81.2.

LSU opened up as nine-point road favorites for this game, with a total of 54. The Tigers have since been bet up a half-point at most online sportsbooks, while the total has been bumped up a point. Also, LSU is listed at around -425 on the moneyline, with Kentucky getting around +330 as home dogs.

The Zman Pick: LSU has too stout of a defense for Kentucky to deal with. Usually laying points on the road is the kiss of death, but LSU is a men amongst boys right now in college football.