West Virginia have had a 7-0 start to this season, and a 3-0 ATS run. They'll try to extend both those strings when they host 5-2 LSU Thursday night in Morgantown as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Tigers-Mountaineers Betting Odds
Most books we consulted opened this game with West Virginia favored by 8.5 points, with a total of 147. Many shops then bumped the Mountaineers to -9 in the early betting.
Those who think the Tigers might pull the upset in this spot could get a price of +450 on the moneyline at The Greek.
Tigers-Mountaineers: The Match-Up
West Virginia returned three starters this season from a team that went 17-16 last year, 9-9 in Big 12 play. At 7-0 the Mountaineers are off to a great start in their quest to return to the Big Dance.
West Virginia opened this season with a 64-54 victory over Monmouth, but couldn't cover as a 16-point favorite, and an 83-56 win over Lafayette in a game that wasn't lined. The Mountaineers then traveled to San Juan and won three straight games, beating George Mason 91-65 (covering at -10), Boston College 70-66 (coming up short at -9), and defending national champion UConn 78-68 (winning SU as four-point dogs in the College Basketball odds).
West Virginia then came home to beat VMI 103-72, covering at -22, and last time out, last Saturday, the Mountaineers defeated College of Charleston 86-57.
West Virginia shot 46 percent from the field Saturday, outrebounded the Cougars 41-25 and committed just seven turnovers.
On the other side of this match-up LSU returns just two starters from a team that went 20-14 last year, 9-9 in SEC play. So the Tigers are expected to go through a rebuilding project this season. So far they're 5-2, but only 2-4 ATS.
LSU started 2-0, with wins over Gardner-Webb and Texas Tech, but couldn't cover as favorites of 15 and seven points. The Tigers then went 1-2 at a tournament in St. Thomas, losing to Old Dominion, beating Weber State, then losing to Clemson. LSU then came home to defeat McNeese State, and last time out, Tuesday night, the Tigers knocked off Massachusetts 82-60, covering as three-point favorites.
LSU shot 54 percent from the floor against the Cowboys, then shot 54 percent against the Minutemen.
Last time out West Virginia started a senior, two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman, while the Tigers started a senior, two juniors and two sophomores.
These two programs have met just twice before, most recently in 2005, a 71-68 LSU overtime upset in Morgantown.
By the Numbers
LSU is shooting 46 percent from the field this season, just 27 percent from 3-point range and 70 percent from the FT line. The Tigers are also holding opponents to 42 percent shooting, and outrebounding foes by almost nine per game.
West Virginia is shooting just 42 percent from the floor, 31 percent from long range and 66 percent from the line. The Mountaineers are also allowing opponents to shoot 47 percent, but they're outboarding foes by about 11 per game.
Tigers-Mountaineers Betting Trends
Louisiana State is 1-3 on the totals this season, as Tigers games have averaged 141 points.
West Virginia is 2-1 on the totals, as Mountaineers games have averaged 145 points.
LSU forward Jordan Mickey missed a recent game with a sore ankle, but played Tuesday night, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 boards.
Tigers-Mountaineer Free Pick
West Virginia should make a run at a Big Dance berth this season, while LSU looks like a work in progress. Also, while the Tigers shot 54 percent from the floor in their last two games, they won't do that tonight. We like Coach Huggy and his Mountaineers in this spot.
Free College Basketball Pick: West Virginia -9.55Dimes