LSU vs. Louisville, 12/31/16 – Prediction
Written by: Jason Green
LSU Tigers (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS, 2-7-2 O/U) at Louisville Cardinals (9-3 SU, 5-6-1 ATS, 8-4 O/U)
NCAAF: Saturday, December 31, 2016 at 11 a.m. ET
The Line: LSU -3.5 Total 60
This Citrus Bowl match up is a sweet one with 20th ranked LSU facing 13th ranked Louisville. The Cardinals have a dynamic offense led by Hesiman winning QB Lamar Jackson and LSU has a solid defense that ranks 21st in the nation in opponents’ points per game. Three of the four losses for LSU this season came against ranked teams and this will be their first game with new head coach Ed Orgeron, who was promoted within rather than the team looking outside for a new coach. They play great D and pound the rock with the run.
Louisville was riding high for much of the season, but they lost their last two games where they gave up 36 points and 41 points respectively. Jackson led a Cardinals’ offense that ranked 2nd in the nation averaging 537 yards per game. Louisville has a dynamic offense to say the least, but it is key that they avoid the turnovers in this game, as they had 30 of them this season with 20 fumbles and 10 INT. The Cardinals were 1-1 this season facing top 25 teams.
Run the rock and play good D
For LSU to win they will have to stick to their game plan of running the ball on offense and playing solid defense. They have two great RB’s in Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette. Fournette may be THE best back in the nation, but he missed five games this season and is a question mark in this game with an ankle injury. If he cannot go it will be a HUGE blow. Still, Guice is no slouch with 1,249 yards and 14 TD this season and in the last game of the season in a 54-39 win over Texas A&M he rushed for a LSU record 285 yards. The Tigers are led by the ground game, but they can air it out with Danny Etling, who passed for 324 yards with two TD and no INT in the Texas A&M game.
Louisville took a beating on D in their last two games and in their season finale 41-38 loss to Kentucky they gave up 581 yards. Overall, the Cardinals rank 38th in the nation against the pass and 10th against the run.
Ride the Heisman winner
Lamar Jackson has to play well in this game and he had a huge season passing for 3,390 yards with 30 TD and nine INT and was the team’s leading rusher with 1,538 yards with 21 TD. He has a balanced WR corps and is joined in the backfield by RB Brandon Radcliff (877 yards 6 TD). Jackson passed for 281 yards with two TD and rushed for 171 yards with two TD in the loss to Kentucky, but he was picked off three times and lost a fumble.
LSU’s defense was the strength of the team this season and they rank 31st in the nation against the pass and 16th against the run. However, in their win over Texas A&M in the season finale they gave up 472 total yards.
The LSU Tigers are:
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games in December
The Louisville Cardinals are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall
The Cardinals stumbled down the stretch and while Jackson won the Heisman he had a game to forget in the season finale with four turnovers. LSU will be able to run the ball and their athletic defense will give Jackson problems and the Tigers will win and cover in this Citrus Bowl.
PICK: LSU -3.5
The total is a tough pick in this game with LSU’s defense and Jackson and the dynamic offense of Louisville. Many of the betting trends for LSU point to the under, but in their last eight non-confernece games the total has gone over. In Louisville’s last 17 games the total has gone over 12 times. In two of the last three games for LSU the total has gone over and the total went over for the Louisville’s last game. I have to go with the over in this one, as while LSU’s defense will give Jackson problems will still put up points and LSU will do the same with their run game. add those things up and you get the over in this bowl game.
I dig every sport and the NFL is my favorite. My team is the Redskins and my 2nd favorite is whoever is playing the Cowboys! I am a great handicapper and if you don’t believe me just ask. I don’t just write about betting on games I actually bet on them and I have done well, which is why it is a good idea to follow my picks.
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