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

Wisconsin Badgers vs. LSU Tigers
Saturday, 8/30/14, 9:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  LSU -4
Current Betting Line:  LSU -4.5
Opening Total:  51
Current Total:  50
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The LSU Tigers still aren't sure of their starting quarterback just days away from kicking off the 2014 campaign
The LSU Tigers still aren’t sure of their starting quarterback just days away from kicking off the 2014 campaign

Wisconsin begins a new era in college football with a new-look roster for the 2014 season after losing 13 starters, including 10 that made NFL rosters.  The Badgers are 12th in the country with a .731 winning percentage since 2009, which is important to consider when making your Week 1 college football picks.  Something will have to give Saturday night, as LSU and Wisconsin rank 1-2 nationally in terms of wins in regular-season non-conference games since 2002.  It’s also important to point out that the program has won 16 consecutive season openers.

The Badgers are happy that running back Melvin Gordon returned to campus, as he needs just 12 attempts to be eligible to break the Big Ten Conference career rushing average record.  Gordon enters 2014 as the nation’s active career leader in rushing average at 81.1 yards per carry, and his 1,609 rushing yards last season ranks No. 2 among returning players—trailing only Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah.  The program is 0-3 SU all-time in regular-season meetings with Southeastern Conference teams, but hasn’t played in such a contest since 1984.

LSU opens its 10th season under Les Miles, while it has won a school-record 11 straight lid lifters, which can’t be ignored when looking over the college football betting lines.  The Tigers will start either sophomore Anthony Jennings or true freshman Brandon Harris under center—the squad has never had a true first-year player start a season opener under center.  Whoever gets the call will be protected by an offensive line that returns four of five starters.

The Tigers have compiled a 25-8 SU all-time record in domed stadiums, as this matchup will take place at NRG Stadium—the home of the Houston Texans.  LSU will look to force Wisconsin into a couple of mistakes, especially since it has produced a 50-7 SU record when winning the turnover battle with Miles on the sidelines.  Expect to see a lot of young faces on the field throughout this contest, with the program playing a total of 83 true freshmen since Miles arrived in Baton Rouge.

Sports bettors will likely back the Tigers due to their 15-9 ATS record on a neutral field in their last 24 opportunities.

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