Point Spread Pick: Miami vs. LSU Tigers
No. 8 Miami Hurricanes (2017 10-3 SU, 5-8 ATS) vs. No. 25 LSU Tigers (2017 9-4 SU, 7-5-1 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday September 2nd, 2018. 7:30PM (EST)
Where: AT&T Stadium Arlington, T.X.
Point Spread: MIA -3.5/LSU +3.5
Over/Under Total: 48
Two highly prestigious programs will meet this Sunday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas when the no. 8 Miami Hurricanes square off against the no. 25 LSU Tigers. Both Miami and LSU find their programs in similar situations. The Hurricanes are on the heels of their first 10 win season since 2003 and are wanting to re-establish their grip on the ACC and possibly make a push towards a playoff bid. Meanwhile, LSU enters their 2nd full season with Head Coach Ed Orgeron following a 9-4 2017 campaign and seeking to replant their footing in the SEC. Needless to say, this highly profiled meeting on Sunday will likely serve as a launching pad towards those goals for the winner.
It is hard to believe that this is a must-win situation this early in the year. However, I think that is the case for both the Hurricanes and the Tigers to meet the expectations that both fan bases have for 2018. Miami is once again in the national spotlight for the right reasons. The Hurricanes enter the year ranked 8th in the AP Polls with a favorable schedule that provides a legitimate opportunity to make a title run. For LSU, they are in a similar situation. Last year, Orgeron had to cement his confidence from the LSU faithful in the wake of Les Miles’ departure. Things started off rocky with a blowout loss to Mississippi State and an unimaginable upset loss to Troy in the first few weeks of the season. However, the Tigers rebounded scoring wins over Florida and Auburn, who get Washington on Sat, while racking up wins in 6 of their final 7 games. With a ton of talent departed, the time has come where LSU must prove that the skill can be replenished and progress is being made.
What to expect
I find this game intriguing because both teams are similar in style and tendencies. Both LSU and Miami are backed by very talented defensives which are the backbone of both’ success. The Hurricanes gave up just 19 points per game in 2017. The defense was a huge part of the early season success last year that vaulted the Hurricanes to a 10-0 record and ranked as high as number 2 in the nation. With the majority of that same group returning, this defense should be very talented with speed and size. Of course, speed and size is often the calling card for SEC defenses, and LSU epitomizes that mantra. The Tigers fielded a top 10 defense in 2017 holding opponents to just 18 points per game. LSU does not have an abundance of returning talent, but the majority of the talent still resides on the defensive side of the ball. As a result, I expect this to be a tough test for both offenses with limited scoring opportunities.
Bet Miami -3.5 with confidence
On paper, these two teams are evenly matched, and that comparison can be extended to the pure talent on both rosters. However, the biggest difference in this game is experience, and that is why I fully expect the Hurricanes to pull this victory out. LSU’s run-heavy offense lost both of their star tailbacks from last year in Darrel Williams and Derrius Guice. Last year, the two combined for more than 2,000 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Replacing those talents will not be easy. Also, LSU’s offense will have to turn to Ohio State graduate transfer Joe Burrow at the quarterback position. Burrow has some upside in athletic ability, but I am not a believer in his accuracy. LSU quarterbacks have been cursed for more than a decade, and I just do not believe that trend has a likelihood of changing.
Meanwhile, Miami has the playmakers in place to be efficient from the opening kickoff. Quarterback Malik Rosier is a proven veteran that can make the big plays. Rosier’s biggest downside has been the turnovers which are a cause for concern. However, Rosier is still a dual-threat quarterback that can beat you in several ways. The Hurricanes also have a talented receiving corps and a proven rusher in Travis Homer. Homer averaged 6 yards per carry last year after taking over for Mark Walton. Homer will likely be one of the more significant success stories for the Miami offense this season, and it would not be surprising to see him make an impact against the Tigers. Simply put, the Hurricanes have proven talents that can keep the ball moving. LSU will be searching for their playmakers.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take Miami -3.5 and bet this game at a sportsbook that offers not only legit lines, but also offers great player rewards!