Free College Football Picks: LSU Tigers at Auburn Tigers Expert Predictions
LSU Tigers at Auburn Tigers, Saturday Sept. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET
You know what I really, really hate? When two teams have the same nickname in a game. It's unoriginal. It's a major pain to write about. And it just makes me mad. Mix it up, teams - you are better than this. Forget paying players or concussions - this is the issue the NCAA needs to focus on and fix before it's too late.
You would expect this to be a tight, tough-fought contest. Two unbeaten Top 15 opponents, each with a big win over a highly-regarded, major conference foe to their credit already, who are very familiar with each other playing an early conference game in a perennially brutal league. Oddsmakers sure don't seem to think it's that's close, though - a double-digit spread is almost jarring to see in a game like this. Can LSU use the insult of this line to fuel a big performance? Or will Auburn justify this much credit coming their way? The way Alabama has looked so far, a loss here could be fatal for the divisional chances of the loser because the Sooners aren't going to lose a lot of games. That only makes the stakes higher here - and the game that much better.
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LSU at Auburn Betting Storylines
Let's start with the visitors. LSU beat up on a Miami team that was shockingly unprepared in their opener and then predictably humiliated Southeastern Louisiana last weekend. The defense has been very strong - particularly up front, where it has made life for both opposing quarterbacks very unpleasant. But the offense, despite the two lopsided wins and 32 points per game, has been a long way from ideal so far. Ohio State transfer Joe Burrows has completed just 47 percent of his passes, and in last week's game where you would have expected him to shred a hapless foe he was just 10 of 20 for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He doesn't have an interception, but he isn't playing with swagger, and now he is up against a real deal defense. If you are looking for one thing to worry about - and the biggest reason for this spread - this is it. The running game has been solid led by Nick Brossette, though, and the offensive line is as good as is typical for this team, so there is hope - but no certainty. The one bright spot for this offense - and it's a big one - is that they are tops in the nation, having scored all eight times they have entered the red zone.
On the Auburn side it is all about Jarrett Stidham. He is rightly viewed as one of the top upperclassmen quarterbacks in the country. He handled a very tough Washington defense in the opener and didn't have to do much against Alabama State. But there are a couple of reasons that I am not quite as excited about this Auburn offense and Stidham as others clearly are. First, Auburn has been lousy in the red zone so far, failing to score in a quarter of visits. The sample size is obviously small, but it's not ideal. More significantly, LSU humiliated Stidham last year, limiting him to 9-of-25 passing and causing him to run for his life all day.
LSU at Auburn Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Auburn favored by 9.5 points, and that has climbed slightly to the key number of 10. Nearly two-thirds of bets are on the visiting Tigers here, so the line movement suggests some serious early sharp action on the home team. The total opened at 45 and has fallen slightly to 44.5.
LSU is an impressive 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games against teams with winning home records. They are 7-2 ATS in their last nine road games, and last nine games of any sort, overall. They are, though, just 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 games played in September. Auburn is 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall and have gone under the total in five of their last six.
LSU at Auburn Predictions and Picks
Auburn beat both Georgia and Alabama at home last year, so this is a place that they are obviously very comfortable. And the quarterback gap between the teams is, on paper, significant. But I am very uncomfortable giving a Top 15 team double-digit points. And this is a tested Top 15 team that has a very stout defense and a strong running game - not some paper tiger that we don't know anything about yet. It's just too many points to give LSU. I think Auburn is more likely to win, but with a total legitimately this low, LSU is the only pick. One thing I know for sure, though, is that the Tigers will win. That's a stone-cold lock.
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