LSU Tigers Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
After looking around and sending out a lot of feelers, the LSU Tigers made the internally popular decision to give Ed Orgeron the full time head coaching role. He had been the interim coach for the final eight games last year after Les Miles was fired. Now we have a whole season to see if the popular decision was the right one. Personally I like Orgeron, but I still need to be convinced that he is up to a job of this caliber. To me he feels like a transitional pick - the guy between a long-time coach and his ultimate long-time replacement - but I would be happy to be wrong for his sake.
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2016 in a Nutshell
Miles lasted only four games, so it's obvious that those games didn't go great. They opened by losing to Wisconsin at Lambeau Field - even though new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda had come from Wisconsin and knew very well what to expect. Two games later they barely squeaked past a lousy Mississippi State team, and then Miles' fate was sealed with a loss at Auburn. When you start the season ranked No. 5 and are unranked after four games you don't get to be the coach of LSU anymore. Under Orgeron, the results were mixed. They beat ranked teams from Ole Miss, Texas A&M (on the road) and Louisville in the bowl game, but they didn't score against Alabama and lost to Florida. Both of those big losses came at home, which just doesn't happen for this team. All in all it was a pretty rough year.
Key Additions and Departures
Of note from the start, this offensively-inept team has made a key change, bringing offensive coordinator Matt Canada in from Pitt after struggling under two coordinators last year. Canada was only at Pitt last year but earned this promotion by engineering the defeats of eventual National Champions Clemson and Big Ten champ Penn State. Canada doesn't have Leonard Fournette to play with this year, but Derrius Guice is about as good a replacement as you could hope for. Former starting QB Brandon Harris transferred, so if Canada wants an experienced signal caller it's Danny Etling or nothing. That's not a great thing. Etling also lost his two top receivers, though that would be a bigger concern if it seemed like Etling was actually capable of passing. Etling also faces an adjustment with the loss of center Ethan Pocic to the draft.
The losses on defense are more significant. They had five defensive starters drafted - two linebackers, two members of the secondary and a lineman. They face turnover, but they are well-coached, and talent and speed are never in short supply.
The coaching change played a part in some recruiting challenges, but they still compiled a Top 10 class. Five-star safety JaCoby Stevens, an early enrollee, is among the players with the best chance of making an early impact.
LSU Tigers Schedule Analysis
If this team doesn't start 5-0, they should just fold. This is as soft a start to a season as they could hope for. Unfortunately, it gets much, much tougher from there. They play at Florida and Alabama and host Auburn and Texas A&M. I don't give them much chance at all of beating Alabama on the road, but the rest of the games could and should be competitive if the team can take strides forward and find a way to score some points. The good news is that the schedule is backloaded enough that they should win enough to gain early ranking momentum, and 10 or 11 wins would be enough to earn them a pretty nice bowl assignment.
2017-18 LSU Tigers Betting Odds and Trends
The Tigers sit at +1600 to win the national title at BetOnline , which sits them behind just six teams. Their biggest issue is that they are in a division with the 10,000-pound gorilla that is Alabama. That makes their path to the playoff harder than most teams unless Alabama isn't as good as they look - and they look truly dominant. At +600 they are the fourth choice to win the SEC, though that's in a different stratosphere entirely than massive -150 favorite Alabama. At +1400, Guice is the seventh overall player in the Heisman futures and the second running back behind Saquon Barkley of Penn State. The Tigers are very comfortable 13.5-point favorites in their opener against BYU in Houston.
2017-18 LSU Tigers Predictions and College Football Picks
The offense should be improved, and they should be able to run the ball very effectively. The defense has work to do, but the pieces are there for them not to lose much ground. This is a fairly dangerous team. I think 10-2 would be a real success for this team - and pretty close to the ceiling. I see no futures value at all, though an argument could be made for Guice if you like Heisman betting.
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