Auburn looks to avoid a 1-3 start to 2016, as they welcome the LSU Tigers to their campus on Saturday. Neither team has enjoyed the kind of start they wanted. LSU lost to Wisconsin in the opener, and then they haven’t looked the best against Jacksonville State and Mississippi State. Typically a 23-20 win against Mississippi State would be a good win, but the Bulldogs are struggling mightily this year. If LSU didn’t start the season 4th in the nation, the voters would have them unranked. Their current body of work doesn’t justify a spot in the top 20. The Tigers lost to the Badgers, struggled with the Bulldogs, and then didn’t look their best in a 34-13 win against Jacksonville State. Auburn is a loss away from 1-3 so not much can be said about them either. They have had a couple of tests to start the year, including opening against Clemson and a game on the road against Texas A&M last week.
Clemson won it 19-13, but Auburn came a couple of Hail Mary’s away from winning the game. It was a solid effort but it wasn’t enough. Although, Auburn did cover the game there. Their only win on the season was two weeks ago, a 51-14 thrashing of Arkansas State. The Tigers will be going for their first marquee win of 2016 today. A loss here for the other Tigers, LSU, would all but knock them out of the national rankings. Les Miles is on his last leg at LSU, and a failure of a year would put his job in danger, yet again. LSU has been patience with Miles the past two years, but I don’t see him surviving too much longer if they struggle to produce results this season.
Defense has never really been their problem, but year after year this team can’t find a capable offense. It’s mindboggling to me that LSU is unable to recruit a great quarterback. Perhaps it’s because they don’t want to play in this kind of offense, which is a pro-style attack that favors the run instead of a wide open passing game. But this has been going on for years at LSU, even before the air-raid offenses were so prevalent in college football. Danny Etling is the most recent quarterback giving it a go at LSU. He’s a Purdue transfer that passed for 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in two years, sitting out last year due to transfer rules. Etling and LSU will look for a big win on the road tonight, in a matchup pitting Tigers vs. Tigers.
LSU Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Auburn +3.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
LSU vs. Auburn Pick:
Auburn would love to pick up a win here, against a good team in the SEC. Their strength of schedule has been on the high side thus far, with games versus Clemson and A&M. LSU is still looking for a marquee win as well. It’s an important game for both teams, who are trying to prove that they are going in the right direction. For both Tigers, there have been grumblings that both programs are trending down. LSU isn’t going to go anywhere with this offense. No offence to Danny Etling, but he is not the guy to take LSU to the next level offensively. He can be adequate, as much of a game manager as you’re going to find in football. However, there always comes a time when the quarterback has make plays. LSU would be undefeated right now if that came to fruition against Wisconsin.
Etling is going to be playing in a tough environment. Auburn has done a solid job at nullifying the passing game this season. Deshaun Watson threw for only 248 yards, with a touchdown and interception. Trevor Knight of the Aggies threw for 1-yard less at 247 yards. So, I do not expect LSU to generate too much offense through the air. You’re going to see a heavy dose of the run from LSU. If Auburn can shut the run down, Auburn might be in for the win in this one.
Sean White has been serviceable for Auburn at the quarterback position. He hasn’t been asked to do too much, but has thrown for 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. White is at the helm for the first time in his three-year career. LSU could be down two offensive linemen in this game, as a starting tackle and guard are listed as questionable. The last seven meetings LSU and Auburn have had, the home team has gone 6-1 ATS. I’m looking for that trend to improve to 7-1 this evening. Auburn is looking great getting 3.5 points at home against an overrated LSU team.
PICK: AUBURN +3.5 (-110)