Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds for this Week 1 matchup at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 31, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
On the outside looking in
LSU will definitely be ranked in the Preseason AP Top 25 poll, but it might not be listed among the first 11 teams, considering it returns 12 starters from a team that finished 10-3 straight up (SU) and 5-8 against the spread (ATS) in 2012.
In the last 10 years, the Tigers haven’t been listed amongst that group twice, but ended up going a combined 24-3 in those seasons and winning a national title.
TCU went 7-6 SU and 5-8 ATS in its first season as a member of the Big 12 Conference, which can’t be ignored when handicapping this program in 2013, considering it returns 16 starters.
The Horned Frogs were 4-5 against conference opponents, but they won the statistical battle by an average of 33.1 yards in those nine contests.
College football handicappers may be drawn to backing the Tigers as neutral-site favorites when looking over the betting lines, as they’ve won their last 10 season openers, with six of those affairs coming against teams from BCS conferences.
It’s important to point out that LSU was favored by 44 points over North Texas in its lid lifter a season ago, but took on a major challenge in knocking off Oregon as three-point neutral-site favorites in 2011.
Loaded at quarterback
Trevone Boykin and Casey Pachall give the Horned Frogs incredible depth at the quarterback position, which will likely lead to one of the more dynamic offenses in the Big 12.
TCU is 9-4 in its last 13 games versus ranked opponents, but three of those losses came against conference foes in 2012.
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Tigers as one of their early Week 1 college football picks, as they’ve gone 9-6-1 against the spread in their last 16 games as a favorite on a neutral field.
CFB Week 1 Pick: LSU Tigers -5 at Bet 365