Pick – Analysis
Auburn has snuck away with a couple wins its first two weeks, but with a more difficult opponent this week in LSU, could finally be in for its first loss. In the battle of the Tigers, LSU is favored by -7.5 points at home (as of Monday at mybookie.ag).
While Auburn is 2-0, they actually fell 12 spots in the AP Poll to No. 18 this past weekend after an overtime win over lowly Jacksonville State. As for LSU, they won as expected, but in a tough road Game at Mississippi State and sit at No. 13 in the polls.
Things haven’t been that smooth for the Auburn Tigers and they’ll need to pick up their Game quickly as SEC play approaches. The Tigers barely got by Louisville in their home opener and then needed overtime to take down an FCS school in their second Game. Now, in their first road Game, Auburn will need to figure things out if it wants to have a chance against LSU.
Auburn has had a number of issues to start the year. At the top of that list is quarterback where Jeremy Johnson has taken over. Johnson, who was expected to be an improvement in the passing Game over Nick Marshall, is completing just 60.4% of his passes for three TDs and already five interceptions. Considering LSU has a top defense year-in, year-out, he could be in for some more trouble. It doesn’t help that Auburn’s running Game hasn’t gotten much going either as Peyton Barber is averaging 5.1 yards per carry; a solid rate, but not good enough for this offense against weaker opponents. In addition, the Tigers still look to have problems on the defensive end and Will Muschamp just doesn’t have the players to make this a solid group yet.
LSU has problems of its own, but in its opening Game (Week 1 Game canceled) got an impressive 21-19 road win at Mississippi State. Although, thanks to some poor clock management, that Game could’ve easily ended with a loss as the Bulldogs outscored LSU 13-0 in the Fourth quarter and could’ve easily had more if it wasn’t for a missed field goal to end the Game.
Still, the Tigers got the win and did pretty much what was expected of them as the No. 14-ranked team in the country. They ran the ball down Mississippi State’s throats with Leonard Fournette rushing for 159 yards and three touchdowns. Brandon Harris didn’t do much in the passing Game (9-of-14, 71 yards), but he probably won’t need to do much in this matchup either. LSU should be able to run through Auburn’s defense in a similar fashion, so expect Fournette to have another big Game. This Auburn defense did allow 161 yards on the ground to Jacksonville State.
Jeremy Johnson will need to be better for Auburn to have a shot in this Game. Otherwise, LSU, now in its home opener, will be looking to win big. It’s not likely that LSU has forgotten about last year’s embarrassing 41-7 loss when Auburn ran for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
This Game will undoubtedly be different for LSU, especially at home. It wouldn’t be surprising if Peyton Barber had trouble finding room against this run defense, and in that case, Johnson will have to come through with his arm.
Our Pick – Big time revenge spot for LSU. Auburn embarrassed LSU last year handing them their worst loss of the year and in fact one of their worst losses in years. The final Scorewas in no way an indication of the talent difference between these two.
In fact, using data from the last 7 Games of a year ago, Our model predicts a final score of 26-15 with LSU on top.
Here’s a look at the final scores of the last several Games in this series played AT LSU:
LSU has won 7 straight at home in this series. In the last 3 they had no trouble extending the margins and in fact that was the case in 5 of the last 7. If they were laying 7.5 in those Games the spread record would have been 5-2.
LSU has the talent to get it done here without added motivation. The revenge factor for last years humiliating loss seals the deal. LSU -7.5