LSU Tigers Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
Let's start with the most pressing issue - this is the third straight team preview I have written about a squad nicknamed the Tigers, and I haven't even gotten to Auburn yet. There are three in the same darned conference. This is the issue the NCAA should be worrying about first. That aside, this version of the Tigers is very hard to predict. They are extremely talented, but experience isn't in abundance. They could be great, or they could be raw. This could be a breakout year or a building one. The coaching could really shine or be a real concern. The team could be a contender or a mess, and nothing would be a surprise. As a bettor I hate teams like this - and not just because of their stupid nicknames.
2017 in a Nutshell
After two meaningless wins to start the season, the team was totally humiliated at Mississippi State in the third game of the year. They came back to beat Syracuse but then lost a totally and utterly inexcusable game at home to Troy. LSU just can't lose games like that no matter what is going on with the program. They shook it off to win at Florida and against Auburn - both ranked teams at the time - and added a win at Ole Miss. But then they played at Alabama, and it predictably didn't go very well. They finished off beating Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M - three teams that were consumed by coaching drama and were far from their best. It was a 9-3 regular season but one that wasn't particularly inspiring. They earned a date with Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl and lost that one by four points. It was a lousy way to finish a season that was worse than the record suggests.
Key Additions and Departures
Danny Etling is now in the NFL, so there is change afoot at QB. Grad transfer Joe Burrow from Ohio State is being looked at as the savior even though he has attempted only 39 career passes. It's hard to know what they have with him or his inexperienced backups. Running backs Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams are both gone, so after a ridiculous run of running back talent they are at a bit of a deficit here. There are options, but none are up to the standard of the last several years. Receiver is very deep, with two intriguing additions to an already-solid in-house group - Texas Tech transfer Jonathan Giles had more than 1,100 yards when he last played in 2016, and Terrace Marshall Jr. was the top-rated receiver in the most recent recruiting class. The offensive line is a bit of a question mark. Two guys return who started as true freshmen last year, and they have several more options, including a couple of incoming juco transfers, but nothing is certain at this time.
The defensive line has solid depth, including Breiden Fehoko, another Texas Tech transfer that the team is excited about. As in several other spots, though, little is proven at this point. LInebackers are stable, led by All-American near-lock Devin White. Safety is stable, but they have a huge question mark at corner, where they have several guys who are options for a starting job but only one who seems certain.
The coaching staff's biggest change saw Matt Canada leave after one disastrous year as offensive coordinator and Steve Ensminger take over play calling. He has been at LSU is some capacity since 2010, so he is certainly no stranger to the program.
Biggest Area of Concern
I'm worried about a lot with this team, but quarterback would probably be the biggest issue. I am not drinking the Burrow kool-aid yet and don't like that he fled what was an opportunity in Ohio State without putting up a fight. And I don't much like the depth behind him, either. There is clear upside but not a lot of certainty - and the chance for the production to be pretty underwhelming.
LSU Tigers Schedule Analysis
This team gets absolutely no breaks out of the gate. They open against Miami in Dallas, and then after a breather against Southeastern Louisiana they play at Auburn. They could be decent out of the gate and still start at 1-2 and 0-1 in the conference. Then they get Louisiana Tech and Ole Miss before traveling to Florida. The next three-game stretch is really rough, with a Mississippi State team that could be feisty sandwiched between likely losses to Georgia and Alabama. They get a break to finish off the season, with trips to rebuilding teams Arkansas and Texas A&M, with a home game against Rice in between, but by then it could be too late.
2018-19 LSU Tigers Betting Odds and Trends
At +6500 to win the national title at Bovada , LSU is behind 18 other teams. They are the fourth choice to win the SEC West at +1400 and are the co-sixth favorite to win the SEC at +2500. The season win total is at seven, with the "over" solidly favored.
2018-19 LSU Tigers Predictions and College Football Picks
I am not optimistic. I don't trust the offense - a strong group of receivers can only do so much alone, and there are potential issues at QB, running back and on the line. I think they will fall into a hole early and never really recover. There are five or six potential losses on the schedule - and at least two are locks. At best I think the season win total is fair, and I don't think they will easily exceed it. I anticipate looking to bet against this team in several spots, and their futures price is truly ridiculous.
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