Peach Bowl: Oklahoma vs. LSU Pick
No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1 SU, 5-8 ATS) vs. No. 1 LSU Tigers (13-0 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl College Football Playoffs Semifinal
Date/Time: Saturday December 28th, 2019. 4:00PM (EST)
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, G.A.
Point Spread: OKL +13.5/LSU -13.5 (GTBets - Bet the Peach Bowl FREE! Deposit $100 get a FREE $100 Bet!)
Over/Under Total: 76
The Oklahoma Sooners needed a little bit of fortune to get into the College Football Playoffs, and that is precisely what they got when both Utah and Georgia flopped in their conference championship games. The Sooners pulled out a tough 30-23 victory over no. 7 Baylor in the Big 12 Championship to secure a playoff spot. While the Sooners are thrilled to be a part of the College Football Playoffs for the 3rd straight year, they will have an extremely difficult challenge in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Semifinal when they meet the no. 1 LSU Tigers inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The Tigers are on the heels of a dominating 37-10 victory over no. 4 Georgia in the SEC Championship which capped off an unprecedented season that featured five wins over top 10 ranked opponents. LSU’s body of work is worthy of consideration as one of the best teams in college football history, especially if they are able to run the table. Stacked with talent on both sides of the ball, LSU is currently listed as 13.5 point favorites, which is among the largest spreads in College Football Playoffs history. The Tigers deserve the respect they are getting from oddsmakers, and I believe this will be an excellent opportunity for LSU to shine once again.
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Tough challenge ahead for Oklahoma’s defense vs. LSU
One of the main reasons that the 13.5 point spread is not overly intimidating is because Oklahoma’s defense has been vulnerable towards giving up big point totals. The Sooners defense gave up point totals of 48 in the loss to Kansas State, 41 in a close victory over Iowa State a week later, and 31 against Baylor in another narrow win the following week in a sketchy three-game stretch. On paper, Oklahoma’s stats are not too different from LSU in terms of offense vs. defense. However, I think those paper stats may be misleading. The Sooners defense has relinquished 25 points per game this season against a relatively soft schedule. LSU’s offense has amassed an FBS best 47.8 points per game against some of the best defenses in the nation and presents an enormous challenge in this match-up.
The Tigers are physical in the run game behind running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has rushed for 1,290 yards with 16 touchdowns. In the passing game, QB Joe Burrow has posted an incredible Heisman Trophy season by completing 78% passing for 4,715 yards with 48 touchdowns and just six picks. Burrow is playing incredible football, hitting passes at an extremely high rate, and even making plays with his legs when needed. Wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson have combined for nearly 2,700 receiving yards this year with 32 touchdowns. Both receivers are huge mismatches for this Oklahoma secondary. I don’t believe that Oklahoma will be able to slow down this physical running threat and I think LSU will have similar opportunities when they choose to go to the air.
Bet on LSU’s defense
I am not necessarily a fan of backing heavy favorites, but I had no problem laying the points with LSU (-7) and Clemson (-28.5) in the conference championships because the match-ups suggested blowouts. I believe the same rule applies again in this game. One concern for LSU is the vulnerability of the Tigers defense, which have had subpar performances this year, especially in the weeks against Alabama, Ole Miss, and Arkansas. Oklahoma has the weapons to compete in this game, and there is a reason this total is listed at a lofty 76 points. QB Jalen Hurts is an elusive quarterback that has thrown 32 touchdowns with just seven picks. Hurts completes passes at a high rate and is really dangerous with his feet. On the ground, Hurts has racked up 1,255 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season.
The problem that Oklahoma is going to experience in this game is the speed of the LSU defense. The Tigers defense is loaded with NFL caliber talent, and they completely shut down a dynamic Georgia rushing attack in the SEC Championship. This entire Sooners offense revolves around Jalen Hurts, and LSU is going to have a problematic test containing the elusive quarterback. However, it is still a match-up that they can win with their talent and speed. I don’t expect Hurts’ speed to frustrate or scare this defense. Furthermore, I expect Coach O will have plans to add support towards the box to contain Hurts because the LSU secondary can match-up in man coverage with success. Oklahoma will have their moments, but I don’t think it will be nearly enough to match the prowess of LSU’s damage they will inflict on offense.
Oklahoma vs. LSU betting trends
The Sooners are just 1-5 ATS in the last six games but are surprisingly 9-2 ATS in their previous 11 games as underdogs. Oklahoma has also hit the “under” in four of the past five games. LSU is 10-3-2 ATS in the last 15 contests and has covered five straight against their previous 5 Big 12 opponents. The Tigers are also trending towards the “over” hitting the mark in 11 of the last 16 games. In head to head games, this will be just the 3rd time LSU and Oklahoma have squared off on the gridiron. The Sooners captured the 1st victory in the 1950 Sugar Bowl, and the Tigers evened the score in the 2004 Sugar Bowl.
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