LSU Tigers vs Auburn Tigers Pick
No. 12 LSU (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. No. 7 Auburn (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
College Football Week 3
When: Saturday September 15th, 2018. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium Auburn, A.L.
By: Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Spread: LSU +9.5/AUB -9.5
The battle for the SEC West heats up this weekend when the no. 7 Auburn Tigers host the no. 12 LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Both Tigers come into the week sporting 2-0 SU and 1-1 ATS records in similar situations. Both teams captured impressive victories in their opener and cruised against inferior opponents last week. LSU’s impressive opening win over no. 8 Miami 33-17 proved that the Ed Orgeron era is on the correct track. Meanwhile, Auburn’s opening victory over no. 6 Washington proved that Auburn is among the nation’s elite.
Considering Alabama’s potent performances throughout their first two games as the nation’s number 1 team in football, many will likely view this week’s game on the Plains as the battle for the 2nd best team in the West. While many would consider Georgia the 2nd best team in the SEC, the winner of this week’s game between LSU and Auburn could lay claim to that title as well especially given the quality wins this early in the year. Not that it matters who is the 2nd best team in the SEC. In reality, all that matters is the winner of this week’s game will keep their SEC Championship hopes alive and be poised for a collision course with Alabama for SEC supremacy.
The 2018 version of the Tiger Bowl has all the makings to produce an old-fashioned SEC slugfest. Both teams have extraordinary defenses that are bound to hold the upper hand. The War Eagle defense has vastly improved with the hiring of Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele in each of the last two years. Auburn’s defense emerged as one of the best groups in the nation in 2017 ranking 5th overall and returned the majority of that defense. Auburn’s defense withstood the tough challenge from Washington in the opener despite showing some vulnerability in the passing game. Still, their front 7 are among the most talented groups in football which matches up well against LSU’s style of offense.
On the other side of the football, LSU has an equally and possibly even more talented defense. Sophomore Greedy Williams is among the best cornerbacks in college football and the defensive backfield is also ripe with talent including former freshman All-American safety Grant Delpit. We know that Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn traditionally favors a rushing attack. However, the Auburn offense no longer has the rich talents of Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson roaming their backfield. There is hope that Kam Martin will emerge as that homerun threat and workhorse. However, it was sort of expected that the offense would lean heavier on veteran quarterback Jarrett Stidham this season. As a result, this is also a great match-up for the LSU defense as they have the talent in all the right places to confidently go head to head with Auburn’s offense.
The lack of proven offensive talent and playmakers for the LSU offense remains a concern. The fact this inexperienced group goes on the road to a hostile environment against one of the better teams in the country, that has already knocked off a top 10 opponent, is the reason for the near double digit spread. I really believe that 10 points is too generous. I absolutely love the way LSU’s defense matches up in this game. If they have minimal success on offense, the points have a ton of value. If LSU’s offense can hit a few big plays, an outright win is a possibility. Players should look for +10 from the top sportsbooks for a chance to improve their odds.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take LSU +9.5.