The Under Carries More Weight In Louisville-LSU Citrus Bowl Clash

LSU Tigers

Willie Bee

Tuesday, December 27, 2016 4:41 PM GMT

The Citrus Bowl pits Louisville's high-scoring offense against LSU's stout defense, and it's the Tigers who are slight favorites on the NCAA football odds to come out on top. 

Season: 27-23-2 (+2.40)

Both teams had designs on conference championship games and the likely automatic bids to the College Football Playoffs that would have come with victories in those tilts. So, the Citrus Bowl is something of a disappointment for the Louisville Cardinals and LSU Tigers.

That shouldn't, however, take any luster off this New Year's Eve classic duel between a high-flying offense and an impenetrable defense. In fact, the only complaint I have is the early start time in Orlando, 11 AM (ET), which means I'll have to watch the start from the confines of my own living room since bars don't open here in Texas before 11 (Central).

Bookmaker made LSU a 2½ point favorite to begin with, but the spread has been a whole field goal for more than two weeks now. The total started at 59½, briefly rose to 60½ and has since dropped back down to the opener.

 

Fournette To Miss College Finale In Advance Of NFL Career

Louisville (9-3 straight up, 5-6-1 against the spread) started out like gangbusters before dropping its first game in Week 5 at Clemson where the Cardinals were slight favorites. They rebounded nicely to win the next five before getting upset the final two weeks by Houston and Kentucky. Unless there is significant late movement on the NCAA football odds, the Citrus Bowl will be the only game this season Louisville isn't favored.

The good news for Bobby Petrino is he brings his Birds to Florida in reasonably good health, the only issue being Jamari Staples who is questionable with a knee injury.

Ed Orgeron's first official game as head coach at Louisiana State (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS) also finds the Tigers in good health. Leonard Fournette, who limped down the stretch with an ankle injury, will sit it out after deciding to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, but fellow sophomore Derrius Guice proved all season to be a feature tailback and is coming off a career-best 285 yards rushing in the 54-39 win at Texas A&M to end the campaign.

 

Birds & Bengals Meeting For 1st Time

Adding to the excitement of this tilt is the Cardinals and Tigers have never collided on a gridiron. Louisville's last two encounters vs. SEC teams came a season ago, the Cards opening with a 31-24 loss to Auburn and closing with a 27-21 win against Texas A&M at the Music City Bowl. It was also in 2015 when LSU last found an ACC team on its schedule, the Tigers going to Syracuse for a 34-24 triumph.

Florida weather can change at the drop of a hat, so bettors are advised to get an update before laying down their money. Right now, though, it looks fine with mostly sunny skies and the afternoon high reaching 73º.

So, who comes out on top when Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and a Cardinals offense that averaged over 45 points a game meets Davon Godchaux and an LSU defense that allowed only 16.4 points per game? My free college football pick says those who get down on the 'under' come out on top.

Free College Football Pick: Under 59½ Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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