College Football Week 1 Picks: LSU Tigers vs. Wisconsin Badgers

LSU Tigers vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Saturday, 8/30/14, 9:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  LSU -6.5
Current Betting Line:  LSU -6.5
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

The Wisconsin Badgers will feature a balanced offensive attack in 2014
The Wisconsin Badgers will feature a balanced offensive attack in 2014

LSU is set to begin a season on a neutral field for the fourth time in five years—winning all three of the previous games by an average of 10 points.  The Tigers were the first team to feature a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard running back a season ago, but all four of those players have moved to the professional ranks.  A battle to replace quarterback Zach Mettenberger will take place between Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings, but it’s important to point out that seven of the past 10 quarterbacks to lead a team to the national championship have been first-year starters.  LSU is 1-5 ATS in its last six affairs, which can’t be ignored when making your college football picks in Week 1.

The Tigers have an opportunity to control the line of scrimmage in this affair, with head coach Les Miles only losing Trai Turner on the offensive line, while five of their top eight playmakers return on the defensive front.  LSU didn’t have a single secondary player land on the All-SEC team, but that’ll likely change with six of eight coming back to Baton Rouge—a group that will likely send numerous players to the NFL down the road.

Wisconsin has won 16 straight season openers, but it has dropped its previous two meetings against LSU, which is important to consider when looking over the college football odds page.  The Badgers have captured 31 of their last 33 regular season games versus non-conference FBS opponents, with the only losses coming to Oregon State and Arizona State.  Second-year head coach Gary Anderson welcomes back 10 total starters, with all eyes on junior running back Melvin Gordon, who ran for 1,609 yards in 2013.  Wisconsin has gone UNDER the total in five of its last six August tilts.

The Badgers are the least experienced team in the Big Ten Conference to start the year, but they could make some noise with an advantageous schedule.  Wisconsin’s offensive line has made 74 combined starts—a group that allowed just 16 sacks a season ago and should once again keep signal-caller Joel Stave upright against any opposing defense.

Sports bettors will likely back the Tigers due to their 11-5 SU record on a neutral field the last 10 seasons.

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