LSU Tigers vs. Texas Longhorns Expert Predictions with Betting Odds
LSU Tigers vs. Texas Longhorns, Saturday September 7, 7:30 p.m. ET
This game is in a battle with the Clemson contest against Texas A&M for the game of the week - and of the season to date. The stakes here are extremely high. The winner of this game may not necessarily be a playoff team, but they are going to be in the picture, and they will have had a huge win early on to attract attention. But the loser of this game will be seriously handicapped in their playoff pursuit. To make it, they will have to win out impressively and then win their conference championship game. That's a massive challenge for Texas and even worse for LSU given their conferences. And both of these teams could really use a win to prove themselves.
LSU has been trying hard to prove their relevance of late, while it depends on your own perspective whether you want to call what Texas has gone through a rebuild or just a regroup. I go for the former, personally. So, this is almost like a playoff game in the second week of the season. It doesn't get much better than that.
LSU at Texas Betting Storylines
Texas QB Sam Ehlinger is an impressive player. More than once this past week I have seen someone compare him to Tim Tebow. While that's probably a bit much at this point - and I am no Tebow fan by any means - he's the real deal. But he is in a tough spot here. His offensive line is, to be kind, a work in progress at this point. And LSU's defensive front is fierce. Ehlinger relies on establishing a ground game with his own feet, and that could be a challenge. And Texas is lacking depth at running back in a big way after some really rough luck with injuries already. This is a matchup that is a big concern for the Longhorns.
If the run game is going to be a challenge for Texas - and it feels like it is - then the pass game will have to carry the day. And that's a challenge. Really, the passing game is a big story on both sides. LSU has one of the top secondaries in the country. Texas is likely going to have to decide what aspect of their offense they are going to focus on, and they will have to go all in.
And the Texas secondary is a story as well, but not for the same reason. Last week's performance left a lot of questions for the Texas secondary. On the negative side, Louisiana Tech QB J'Mar Smith threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns. That's a lot of yards for a lower-tier offense to get against a team with playoff aspirations. But the stats may not tell the whole story. Smith's success was definitely backloaded, with a lot of his success coming later in the game when Texas was already comfortably on top of things. By that point Texas had nothing to prove, and they didn't want to put too much on video for LSU to study, so they had little interest in working too hard against Louisiana Tech in the later stages. So, 331 yards probably wasn't anything close to 331 yards in this case. But what does that mean for the secondary against Joe Burrow - a guy who completed 23 of 27 passes for 278 yards and five touchdowns in his opener? That was only against Georgia Southern, so it doesn't mean too much, either. A lot of how you handicap this game comes down to how you feel about the Texas secondary, and at best that requires a bit of a guess. Or maybe a lot of a guess.
LSU at Texas Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with LSU favored widely at 4.5, though numbers as low as 2.5 could be found. It has now climbed up to 6.5. LSU has had only a slight majority of bets on their side, so this suggests that sharp money has been hitting the Tigers reasonably aggressively. The total opened at 52.5, and has been on the climb, hitting 56 at this point.
The Tigers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games, and 4-0-1 ATS in their last five against the Big 12, but only 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 games in September. Texas is 4-1-1 ATS in their last six home games and 6-2 ATS in their last eight nonconference games.
LSU at Texas Predictions and Picks
I really respect the LSU defense, and I have questions - big ones - about how Texas is going to score. The Tigers are almost begging to be picked here. But I'm not going to do it. A Top 10 team getting almost a touchdown at home is just too much to pass on. Texas is at home in a very tough stadium to play in, and they have a very big edge at head coach. I'd take Ehlinger over Burrow, too. Texas may not win, but they can keep it close, and that makes them the pick here at this price.
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