No. 25 LSU Tigers (6-4 SU, 4-6 ATS) vs. No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies (8-3 SU, 4-7 ATS)
College Football Week 13
Date/Time: Thursday November 24th, 2016. 7:30PM (EST)
Where: Kyle Field College Station, T.X.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LSU -5.5/A&M +5.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
On Thursday night, the SEC will take center stage for some more entertaining Thanksgiving Day football action when the no. 25 LSU Tigers travel into College Station for a regular season finale with the no. 22 Texas A&M Aggies. With this weekends slate of high profile rivalries vastly approaching, this Thursday nights game featuring two SEC West foes will be a perfect ice breaker for rivalry weekend. Ever since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012, this season finale against LSU has been blossoming into an entertaining new SEC rivalry. However, the Aggies have yet to beat the Tigers since joining the SEC and that is a must for this sprouting rivalry to gain some national notoriety.
LSU has won the last 5 meetings against Texas A&M including a Cotton Bowl victory back in 2011. For the Tigers to add to that winning streak this Thursday, they will have to shake off some bad vibes and negative momentum. Last week, LSU suffered an upset loss to Florida at home as 13.5 point favorites. Running back Derrius Guice was actually denied from the 1 yard line in the final seconds of the game as the Gators came away with a game winning defensive stand. The defeat marked the 2nd for LSU in the last 3 games as they now appear to be fading from their mid-season spark that was brought on by interim Coach Ed Orgeron.
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If the Tigers fail to right the ship on Thursday, it will mark their worse regular season record since their 3-8 SU campaign all the way back in 1999. The good news for LSU fans is that odds makers have felt confident enough to list the Tigers as 5.5 favorites to rebound this week against the 25th ranked Aggies. I believe the reason the Aggies will be underdogs at home this weekend are rather simple. Texas A&M has also lost 2 of their last 3 games SU and lost their last 3 games against SEC opponents. The Aggies would also fall into that late season fading category which has unfortunately been all too common under Head Coach Kevin Sumlin.
The question this weekend is who can shake off the bad vibes and end the season on a positive note? The Aggies have been very competitive despite the losses. They lost to Ole Miss 29-28 and suffered another one score loss to Mississippi State. I would like to blame the defense for those troubles but they just have not been as sharp on both sides of the ball in recent weeks. However, the defense has still relinquished point totals of 38, 33, 35, and 28 in their last 4 games against SEC opponents. We have seen LSUs offensive struggles return in recent weeks that plagued the team earlier in the year under former Coach Les Miles. Will this be LSUs opportunity to right the ship against a struggling defense or will the Aggies defense take advantage of those struggles?
From a matchup standpoint, I think both defenses will have the upper hand in this game. Despite the loss last week, LSUs defense still played great against Florida. The Aggies will spread this LSU defense out a bit more especially with Jake Hubenak now behind center. Hubenak has proven to be a better down the field thrower than Trevor Knight which has benefited wide outs Josh Reynolds and Christian Kirk. I do not think the Aggies can win this game by running the ball between the tackles with Trayveon Williams and I think they are going to have a pretty difficult go at it no matter how they attack on offense.
Of course that does not mean that Texas A&M can still not pull out the victory. I am not ruling out that possibility with LSUs anemic offense. In the Tigers 4 losses this year, they have not scored more than 14 points in any of those games. The reason is pretty simple because the Tigers have not been consistent enough in the passing game with quarterback Danny Etling and they have not had the elite rushing attack that most people anticipated. The Tigers rushing offense is still pretty good. I mean they have two of the best tandem rushing combos in the conference in Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette. However, they need more wrinkles and success passing the football to get this Aggies defense off the line of scrimmage to get the offense back in motion this Thursday.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Despite the LSU offenses troubles, I think their defense is the story here. LSUs secondary is elite and the Aggies will not find success throwing the football. Take LSU -5.5 in a low scoring game.
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