Pick Road Dog Spread for Louisiana-Monroe vs. LSU College Football

Darin Zank

Friday, September 12, 2014 2:45 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 12, 2014 2:45 PM UTC

The bullies of the Bayou State play host to one of the satellite programs when the LSU Tigers and Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks meet at Death Valley in Baton Rouge Saturday night (7 pm ET, ESPNU). This game, as one might expect, involves a big point spread; which way should we go with our free college football pick?

The Betting Line
As of Friday morning most of the college football odds were chalking LSU at -31 over UL-M, with a total of 49.5.

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Game Set-Up
LSU opened its season with a come-from-behind 28-24 victory over Wisconsin in Houston, pushing the spread as four-point favorites. The Tigers then dispatched of FCS Sam Houston State 56-0, covering at -32.

LSU trailed Wisconsin 24-7 early in the third quarter, then roared back to score three unanswered touchdowns for the victory. The Tigers got out-rushed by the Badgers 268-126, but eventually took advantage of a depleted Wisconsin defense.

Louisiana State University then out-gained SH State 584-286, and had the spread covered by halftime.

LSU only returned 12 starters this season, five on offense and seven on defense. The Tigers had to replace almost all the skills spots, but got back four along the offensive line. Those skills spots are now being filled by some very talented youngsters. LSU has also gotten some decent play from a pair of young quarterbacks, who have combined to throw six touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

On the dogged side of this match-up Louisiana-Monroe opened its season with a 17-10 victory over Wake Forest, covering as two-point favorites. Then last week the Warhawks scored with 10 seconds to go to beat Idaho 38-31, but that wasn't enough to cover at -11.

UL-M out-gained the Demon Deacons 352-94, out-rushed them 163-(-3) and held the ball for over 35 minutes. That's how you cover point spreads.

The Warhawks then out-gained the Vandals 534-442 and out-rushed 'em 150-118 but just couldn't put them away.

Monroe returned 15 starters this year from a team that went 6-6 last year. Six starters came back on offense, including last year's leading receiver and three along the offensive line. But the 'Hawks had to find a new starting QB. So far this season Pete Thomas, a transfer from North Carolina State, has hit on just 55 percent of his throws, with two TD passes and one interception.

Nine starters came back on defense for UL-M, including the entire defensive line and six of the back eight.

These two programs, separated by about a three-hour drive, last met back in 2010, a 51-0 LSU victory and cover as 31-point favorites.

Hmm … the Tigers were favored by 31 points for that game, and they're favored by 31 for Sunday's game. 


Warhawks-Tigers Betting Trends
In its first four seasons under Coach Berry Monroe is 3-4 ATS as a dog of four touchdowns or more.

But the last time the Warhawks played an SEC team they beat Arkansas two years ago 34-31 in overtime.

LSU is 2-4 ATS the last six times it's been favored by four touchdowns or more.


Free College Football Pick
This is another of those games where we probably already know who is going to win; it's just a matter of the final margin. Coach Miles hasn't shown any particular penchant for running up scores, and he's likely, if afforded the opportunity, to give as many of his back-ups playing time, before LSU begins SEC play next week. So we'll take the Warhawks and the points for our free college football pick in this spot.  

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