College Football Predictions: LSU at Georgia Odds and Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 9/26/2013
The stakes for this game are very significant — as you would expect when these teams meet. Georgia could still play for all the marbles at the end of the year despite their season-opening loss to Clemson. With a second loss, though, they would be left to hope for a good bowl game, because they would only be playing for pride. LSU is unscathed so far, but the Tigers really haven’t been tested in a real way so far. They want us to believe they are legitimate contenders, and their numbers — especially on offense — have looked impressive to date. They need a signature win here, though, to make a statement and launch the heart of their schedule on the right note.
I don’t really believe that either of these teams are National Champion-caliber, but after this game one team almost certainly will be out of the picture.
Georgia has won 14 straight at home, so they are obviously very comfortable in Athens. LSU is not likely to be intimidated, though. The last two meetings between the squads came in 2011 and 2009, and both were at Georgia. LSU won both — a 42-10 debacle last time, and 20-13 before that.
LSU at Georgia Betting Storylines
The quarterback matchup here is an intriguing one. Aaron Murray gets all of the attention from bettors and the media. The senior is just 397 passing yards away from setting the all-time SEC record — currently held by fellow Georgia passer David Greene. Zach Mettenberger isn’t as well known, but he should be — and there is a good chance he will be since he is more likely to have a successful NFL career than Murray is. Mettenberger and Murray actually started at Georgia in the same class. The former was kicked off the team after a year, though, and he spent a year at a community college before joining LSU. He was decent as the starter last year, but he is like a whole new player under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Casual fans would tell you that Georgia has the clear edge in this one with Murray. More sophisticated analysts, though, will tell you that that just isn’t really the case — especially since Mettenberger will be facing a defense with six new starters this year. The fact is that, contrary to what we have come to expect from these teams and this league, both teams have potent offenses as well defenses that are a cause for some concern.
It is Murray who actually provides the two most interesting QB storylines in this one. For starters, the Clemson game featured the biggest the team has played so far this year, and Murray was not great. He was 20-of-29 for 323 yards, but he had no touchdowns, threw a bad pick, was far too tentative when it mattered, and faltered down the stretch when the game was on the line. Can he step his game up in this pressure situation? He was much better against South Carolina, so the odds are in his favor in this one. The other factor is that Murray’s strength is in his passing game, while LSU has been very good at two things defensively — defending the pass and creating turnovers. Strength against strength — something will have to give. That matchup will likely do more than any other to determine the outcome.
LSU at Georgia Odds and Betting Trends
The line opened with Georgia favored by three points — approximately the home-field advantage — and it has stayed in that area. Almost two-thirds of the bets placed have been on LSU, but there doesn’t seem to be tremendous pressure to move the line, so any line movement isn’t likely to be particularly significant. The total sits aggressively at 61.5.
LSU has started the season at 4-0 for the seventh year in a row. They will be looking to score plenty of points — they have won 34 straight games in which they have scored at least 30 points. The road team has won and covered each of the last three meetings between the teams. Five of the last six meetings have gone “over” the total. The Tigers have gone over in each of their last four totals, and the Bulldogs have five straight overs.
College Football Predictions: LSU at Georgia Picks
I like the Tigers. The impact of Cam Cameron on this offense has been dramatic, and he is going to have plenty of wrinkles to exploit a defense that is clearly vulnerable after losing two first-round picks, among several others. I just don’t trust Mark Richt when the stakes are high, and Aaron Murray wouldn’t be my first choice if I was in the trenches under fire, either. LSU will win outright — which obviously means they will cover. To be safe, though, I would take this price early just in case the number shifts to 2.5 since that extra half point is so nice to have on your side here.
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