LSU knew what it was doing when it set up this year’s Schedule. SMACked between two Top 10 teams for the Tigers is a non-Conference Game against Western Kentucky. But it may not be as easy as originally thought with the Hilltoppers cruising at 6-1 and already an SEC win under their belt. Having not covered in their previous two non-Conference Games, LSU is a -17 point home favorite at betonline sportsbook.
The Tigers haven’t really gotten up for non-SEC Games as seen in lackluster performances against lowly Syracuse and Eastern Michigan. With this Game between Florida and Alabama on the Schedule, will they be busy celebrating last week’s win and looking ahead to the Crimson Tide?
Western Kentucky has a lot of players back from last year’s group and that has helped them to a 6-1 record. They won at Vanderbilt in the opener in a defensive Game, and their only loss is at Indiana 38-35. In addition, they already took down one of their biggest tests in C-USA play (LA. Tech) and have carved through everyone else. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Hilltoppers stay competitive in this Game.
However, one of the issues for WKU remains a weak defense. While they held Vandy to 12 points, that doesn’t say a whole lot. And going against Heisman favorite Leonard Fournette, it could get ugly. Fournette already has 1,202 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year and he could easily see 30 carries again as long as this Game stays somewhat close. There’s no way Les Miles will want Brandon Harris attempting more than 15 passes in this Game, which has really been the norm for him. In a 44-22 win over Eastern Michigan, Harris went just 4-of-14 passing, although it should be noted he has picked up his play against South Carolina and Florida the last two weeks with Four passing touchdowns and a better completion rate.
But this LSU defense has allowed a lot of teams to hang around this year. They continue to allow points no matter the opponent (see EMU). And despite coming out of the C-USA, Western Kentucky has a ton of experience and is probably a Top 20 offense in the nation.
That starts with quarterback Brandon Doughty, who is completing 74.1% of his passes for 24 TDs and 4 INTs on the year. Playing in a lowly conference, Doughty has never really gotten respect from the media — even after tossing 49 touchdowns last year — but this Game could put him on the map.
Of course, that’s going to take a lot of work, as LSU has a great pass defense, allowing 11 TDs and 6 INTs on the year with just a 55.8% completion rate. Doughty has weapons at his disposal, but their running Game is something that hasn’t worked. However, running back Ace Wales returned to action a few weeks ago and is coming off two straight 100-yard performances. If WKU run the ball just a little bit against LSU, that may be all Doughty needs to find his targets.
Doughty can put points on the board, but will that be enough if Fournette is rushing for 300 yards?
The over has hit Four straight times for the Hilltoppers against teams with a winning record, while the over has also hit five straight times overall for the Tigers.
Our Pick – This Game opened up LSU -17 and the Western Kentucky money came pOuring in. While we get it, at anything less than the +17 we have to side with LSU. Sure, Western Kentucky has been putting up some big numbers, but the quality of opposition has been weak.
Providing LSU isn’t looking ahead two weeks to Alabama, we like Our chances with LSU here. LSU -15.5