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Betting Preview with Odds
The future of Les Miles is unknown and a lot of that will be based on what LSU does this year. The Tigers enter 2016 as one of the favorites to reach the College Football Playoff and anything short of that will be a disappointment for the fan base, especially with their recent underperforming history. The Tigers finished 9-3 last year with all three losses coming in conference play in three straight games at the end of the season.
At this early writing in the spring, LSU listed at odds of 14 to 1 to win the National Championship at 5 dimes sportsbook. Odds change, so be sure to check in with 5 dimes and betonline for the lastest updates.
Everything is pretty straightforward with LSU and there aren't too many surprises. Leonard Fournette (1,953 yards, 22 touchdowns) is the base of the offense, but it's widely assumed that the Tigers won't give him as many touches, especially with an able Derrius Guice as his backup. Also, Les Miles is making an effort to throw the ball more and has already said that Brandon Harris is alone by himself at the top of the QB depth chart.
Harris wasn't asked to do much last year, attempting just 277 passes with only 13 TDs. However, when behind, LSU didn't have the passing game to compete and that was seen in all of their losses. Harris finished just 6-of-19 against Alabama and he totaled three TDs and four INTs in their three losses. With so much focus on Fournette and the running game, Harris simply has to be a bigger threat, especially with a receiving corps that includes Malachi Dupre (698 yards, 6 TDs) and Travin Dural. They have the talent to be successful in the passing game, it's just a matter of consistent quarterback play. The offensive line lost a couple pieces, but shouldn't be anything that holds this group down.
The defensive side is the bigger question with multiple big names sitting out in the spring game. The Tigers brought in Dave Aranda as defensive coordinator, formerly of Wisconsin, to implement a 3-4 defense, which will take some time to be a dominant unit. Still, this side of the ball was competent in spring and that's about all that was needed.
LSU has studs at every level with Christian LaCouture and Davon Godchaux along the line and senior middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith. The secondary is loaded with experience as well with All-conference performers Tre'Davious White and Jamal Adams leading that group.
With Alabama on the home slate this year, it's now or never for LSU to win the SEC West. They've unperformed the last few years and this would be the prime time to take the SEC and have a shot at a national title. That starts with a road game at Wisconsin and then at Auburn a few weeks later. Even out of the East, the Tigers still have to travel to Florida and that won't be easy. A three-game gauntlet awaits in late October with Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas on the schedule. Fortunately, Ole Miss and Alabama are at home.
It's hard to see LSU being any worse at passing the ball with Brandon Harris, so with an improved passing game, there's no doubt this team is a legit threat to win the SEC. Even then, the Tigers still have Fournette and a solid defense, which should win them about seven or eight games by themselves. Add in competent quarterback play and LSU has a shot at a 10- or 11-win season.
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2016 LSU Football Schedule
Sept. 3 at Wisconsin (Lambeau Field)
Sept 10 vs. Jacksonville State
Sept. 17 vs. Mississippi State
Sept. 24 at Auburn
Oct. 1 vs. Missouri
Oct. 8 at Florida
Oct. 15 vs. Southern Miss
Oct. 22 vs. Ole Miss
Nov. 5 vs. Alabama
Nov. 12 at Arkansas
Nov. 19 vs. South Alabama
Nov. 24 at Texas A&M
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