Weekend College Football Predictions For LSU Tigers vs Auburn Tigers

LSU Tigers running back in action

Thursday, September 22, 2016 2:52 PM GMT

Pick your poison between Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and LSU's Les Miles. The two own some of the hottest seats in college football and are desperate for a win as their Tigers clash Saturday. Prediction with betting preview inside.

LSU Tigers (2-1 SU, 0-3 ATS)
Quarterback issues plague head coach Les Miles’ offense with the mistake-prone Brandon Harris benched for Purdue transfer, Danny Etling. Etling has tossed for 315 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception on 25 of 44 passes. LSU is averaging 18.5 points per game, 100th nationally. The unit has come up short of its projected team total in all three games by an average 9.4 points per contest.

Running back Leonard Fournette returned to action in the 23-20 win over Mississippi State after sitting out the week before against Jacksonville State. He aggravated a high ankle sprain injury that’s nagged him since camp in the opener and looks to be still feeling the after effect despite rushing for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns on 28 carries last Saturday.

The LSU defense is stout. It’s allowing 2.6 rushing yards per carry and leads the SEC in sacks. Defensive end Arden Key has five on the season. It comes up big when needed, holding opponents to a 13.8 third-down conversion rate.

 

Auburn Tigers (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS)
Running backs Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway were named as “co-starters” for the LSU game, which is probably needed for an offense that rushes 52.3 times per game (seventh most in FBS). Auburn has shown it can move the ball on offense but has trouble with efficiency. Its .317 points per play rate ranks 78th in the country.

Defense is a concern, particularly in the secondary. It’s allowed 251.7 passing yards against per game. Since head coach Gus Malzahn took over, the unit allows 30.2 points per game to SEC foes.

 

LSU Tigers vs Auburn Tigers
Each school needs to catalog a Game Management 101 course because both football programs are extra poor at controlling a contest over the last couple of seasons. The winner of this contest will likely be the one who shoots themselves in the foot less.

The LSU defense is on par with Texas A&M’s, which held Auburn to 16 points last weekend. The front seven will offer the biggest challenge. Auburn’s offensive blocking scheme was horrid against the Aggies, giving up four sacks and a couple of turnovers. We’re not sure any changes made will make much of an impact. Auburn will struggle to score 20 points.

Fournette looks to still be feeling the aftereffects of his injury, which will bring the talented pair of wide receivers Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural more into the picture. These two are NFL-caliber wideouts and haven't been able to make much of a difference cause of the team’s troubles under center. Miles will be forced to get the ball into their hands, and the strong-armed Etling is the better option to do so.  A big strike or two down the field will be the difference-maker against an average Auburn secondary.

The line opened at 2.5 points across the board in favor of the Bengal Tigers, jumped to 3.5 within hours, and settled around a field goal at most online sportsbooks midweek. That half point can be critical in a suspected low-scoring contest like this matchup. Head on over to BetDSI, listed on SBR's best sportsbook, to take advantage of spread. LSU -3 is the play.

 

Free NCAAF Pick: LSU -3.5
Best Line Offered: at BetDSI

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