North Texas vs. (3) LSU
Game Time: Saturday, Sept 1st, 7 PM EST
TV: ESPN, ESPN U
Betting Line: LSU -44
Betting Odds from Bookmaker
The Mean Green are operating under a second year coach Dan McCarney who has the unenviable task of trying to replace all-time leading rusher Lance Dunbar. He’s going to go with a running back by-committee approach, which will feature Brandin Byrd Jeremy Brown, redshirt freshman Zac Whitfield, and Antoinne Jimmerson. Will any of these guys fill Dunbar’s shoes? Unlikely, and Byrd is the only one who has ever even carried the ball before in a college game.
“We’ll stay with our plan, and that starts with running the football,” McCarney commented.
But will that work? Will they be able to rank 4th in the Sun Belt in rushing again? Unlikely.
And that spells trouble against a team like LSU, who is a 44 point favorite as set by college football oddsmakers.
QB Derek Thompson is pretty decent, but he is passing the ball to a core that features no players at all with 40+ receptions last year. Redshirt freshman Chaz Sampson could provide some relief there, but it may not matter much, given McCarney’s offensive schemes.
The third ranked Tigers have all the makings of a team that should win this by at least as much as the spread. They return four backs from last year in Michael Ford, Alfred Blue, Spencer Ware, and Kenny Hilliard. That core helped the Tigers rush for 202.6 yards per game last year, which ranked 2nd in the SEC and 22nd nationally. None of these guys are All-American types, but by committee they are about as good as it gets. Ford rushed for 756 yards last year; Ware, 707; Blue, 539, and Hilliard, 336, as a true freshman.
At QB, they go with Zach Mettenberger. He has a strong arm and is leading a very talented offense. He was 3rd on the depth chart this year, but this year is the undisputed starter. He’ll miss the departed Rueben Randle, but will wait on some highly touted recruits to fill his shoes. Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry are both sophomores on the rise and will be the main two targets of Mettenberger. Beckham, in particular, has shown a lot of talent and consistency that should enable the Tigers to improve upon last year’s 152.5 yards per game (10th in the SEC).
LSU is pretty stacked at every position, but the lack of experience at linebacker could be a problem. Also, as mentioned, losing Randle will have its effect. Still, Mettenberger is an upgrade at QB and the offense should be a little more balanced in favor of the pass this year.
Nothing less than a BCS championship will please Tigers fans, as the team is predicted to go undefeated by many experts throughout the nation, and the SEC crown is their to lose.
North Texas Betting Trends:
Mean Green are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conf games and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The OVER is 4-1 in their last 5 games and 4-1 UNDER in their last 5 games on grass.
LSU Betting Trends:
Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games on grass and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conf games. They are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 overall and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Sept games. The OVER is 4-1 in their last 5 non conf games and UNDER is 5-2 in their last 7 Sept games.
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