West Virginia Mountaineers at LSU Tigers, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
Saturday, September 25, 2010, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: LSU -6 1/2
Current Line: LSU -10
Opening Total: 43 1/2
Current Total 44
Money Line: LSU -405 / West Virginia +335
All odds taken from Bookmaker Sportsbook.
Coach Bill Stewart takes his West Virginia Mountaineers to Baton Rouge to take on Les Miles and the LSU Tigers. Both teams are 3-0 and ranked in the top 25. It hasn’t been a good year for the Big East, as they have lost numerous high profile match-ups this year, including Miami beating Pitt this week 31-3 in Pittsburgh. West Virginia might be the best team in the conference, and needs this game to prove their legitimacy as an elite team. The Mountaineers have had some success against SEC schools recently going 5-1 straight up. For LSU, they are usually favored at home as Death Valley is a very tough place to play. However, the Tigers have not done well as a favorite recently. Before this season, LSU was 3-10 against the spread when they were favorites. They are 2-1 this season against the spread after failing to cover the number against a depleted North Carolina team. Still 5-11 is not a good record in 16 games against the college football point spread.
West Virginia is 3-0 with wins against Coastal Carolina, Marshall, and Maryland. The Mountaineers have outgained their opponents 1338 yards-767 yards so far this season. They have outscored their opponents 86-38 as well. They are allowing only 62 rushing yards a game, and 193 passing yards a game. They have only forced 4 turnovers and they have 8 sacks. The offense is having no problem moving the ball, but they have turned the ball over 8 times, including 6 fumbles. They have to protect the ball better if they want to beat LSU on the road. Quarterback Geno Smith has thrown for 800 yards, 7 touchdowns and an interception so far this season. The best weapon for the Mountaineers is running back Noel Devine, who has 73 carries for 354 yards and a touchdown. Devine also has 13 catches for 89 yards. Smith also throws the ball to three talented wide receivers. Tavon Austin (21 catches, 281 yards, 2 touchdowns), Jock Sanders (19 catches, 214 yards, 1 touchdown), and Stedman Bailey (9 catches, 132 yards, 2 touchdowns) all contribute to the passing game.
LSU is also 3-0 but the offense has not looked great so far. They are mainly winning on the strength of their dominant defense. After a narrow 30-24 win over a North Carolina team decimated by suspensions. Then The Tigers played arguably the two worst teams in the SEC Vanderbilt and Mississippi St. The Tigers are allowing only11.3 points a game along with 280 yards a game. They have 11 sacks and have forced 9 turnovers so far. The Tigers have turnover problems of their own, as they have 7 already this season. Like the Mountaineers, they have to protect the ball better. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson has been somewhat inconsistent this season, throwing for only 344 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. The Tigers have rushed for over 200 yards a game led by Stevan Ridley (55 carries, 318 yards, and 2 touchdowns) and Russell Shepard (17 carries, 128 yards, and 2 touchdowns) Even Jefferson has 33 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown.
On the surface these two teams are very similar. Both have dominant defenses, talented running backs, and a propensity to turn the ball over. The main difference is West Virginia is much better at throwing the ball than the Tigers, but otherwise their stats are very similar. I expect a tough defensive struggle with not a lot of points scored making even a low total like 44 have some value to the under. Besides the under we have several premium college football picks lined up on the Saturday card including a 20 unit game of the year pick. Currently on a 75% pick run, we expect to crush the books once again on Saturday. You can get on board for these selections by visiting our NCAA football picks page of the site.