LSU Solid Chalk In Green Bay Vs. Wisconsin, But Will Fall Short ATS

Willie Bee

Thursday, August 25, 2016 7:04 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 7:04 PM UTC

It's Week 1 of the college football betting season, and we're already talking about the LSU-Alabama game. Join us for a free pick when the Tigers travel to meet Wisconsin.

If it's anything like the last time the LSU Tigers and Wisconsin Badgers got together on a gridiron, then we're in for a real treat when they battle in Week 1. The Tigers and Badgers get the mid-Saturday afternoon limelight, ABC broadcasting at 3:30 PM (ET). NCAA football odds make Louisiana State a 9-10 point favorite. The odds at Pinnacle is in the middle (-9½), the same shop listing 44½ for a total, one of the lowest season-opening tallies.

Technically, it's a neutral site affair at Lambeau Field, right in Wisconsin's backyard. But if there's one thing we know, it's LSU fans travel anywhere and everywhere to watch their gang. It was also a neutral site matchup two years ago when the schools began their 2014 fixtures in Houston on another NFL field. Ranked 13th and 14th, respectively in the two preseason polls, Wisconsin was a 3 point underdog to LSU only to build a 24-7 lead early in the second half. The Tigers not only rallied for the victory, they came back to cover the field goal chalk line with a 28-24 decision.

That was the first time the schools met since a home-&-home in 1971-72, LSU also winning those games. 2014 final hurdled a 49½ point total with a couple of points to spare.


A Lot Expected From Bayou Bengals In '16
Les Miles brings LSU into cheesehead territory No. 5/6 in the preseason rankings, and with 13 consecutive wins in season openers. The last time they lost Game 1 was 2002 (at Virginia Tech), and the Tigers are 3-2 ATS the last five having faced TCU, Oregon, and Mississippi State in addition to the Badgers in four of those openers.

Miles is very happy to see 18 starters returning from a club that finished 20th in last year's final CFP poll, going 9-3 with all three setbacks in a 14-day span against Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss, the first and last of those on the road. Among those is RB Leonard Fournette who is coming off a huge 2015 showing (1,953 yds, 22 TD), the junior nursing a summer ankle injury but still the favorite for the Heisman

LSU's defense slacked, at least by Baton Rouge standards, last year when the unit finished out of the top 20 in total yards allowed for the first time in 2009. Nine starters are back, all upperclassmen, and it adds up to the Bayou Bengals being the toughest competition for Alabama in the SEC West, the Crimson Tide -105 favorites while the Tigers check in at +210. Those two meet at Death Valley on November 5.


Tough '16 Slate Made Tougher For Wisconsin By This Matchup
Things aren't so bright and cheery on the national level for Paul Chryst and the Badgers. Now in his second season, Chryst directs a squad coming off a pretty impressive 10-3 mark and just 10 points from winning the Big Ten West with an undefeated conference record.

They didn't have Ohio State, Michigan or Michigan State on the B1G list, however, and all three are coming this year in an early 3-game stretch. Actually, the Spartans and Wolverines are not coming; instead, the Badgers are traveling to East Lansing and Ann Arbor, the three Big Ten East foes followed by a trip to Iowa.

That is something worth keeping in mind, but in the end, it really doesn't have a thing to do with this one. The big question is whether Corey Clement can return from injury and run behind his line against this LSU defense? Knowing the weather forecast would help with that decision, but we don't really have a clue more than a week ahead of the game.

My free college football pick, in the end, is simply to expect the Badgers to at least hang close with the Tigers, close enough to take the points.


Free NCAA Pick: Wisconsin +9½ 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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