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Oregon LSU Spread Pick – College Football Week 1

The opening game of the 2011 college football season for two BCS title contenders kicks off with non-conference action this Saturday evening September 3 (8:00pm ET) with the 4th-ranked LSU Tigers of the SEC taking on the 3rd-ranked Ducks of Oregon out of the Pac-10 at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, TX. Veteran coaches Les Miles of LSU and Chip Kelly of Oregon lead two prime contenders for the BSC National Championship in maybe the most important game of college football’s opening weekend in terms of championship implications.

LSU enters the contest mired on controversy with starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, wide receiver Russell Shepard and defensive lineman Joshua Johns suspended indefinitely for their role in a bar brawl near the LSU campus last week. Fifth-year senior Jarret Lee, who has seen extensive playing time over his career, will start against Oregon. The good news for the Tigers is they are deep, if young, at running back with sophomore Spencer Ware expected to see extensive playing time after a big game (10 carries 102 yards) last season in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M. The defense is the strength for LSU, ranking 13th in the country in yards allowed with 311.9 per game and 11th in points allowed with 18.2 per game. Oregon will be playing without a high-profile player serving a suspension as well, as cornerback Cliff Harris, who was an All-American last season as a sophomore was suspended by Kelly for “disciplinary reasons”. Linebacker Kiko Alonso could also mis the game with a suspension. The Ducks do however return their two top playmakers on offense in quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James. Thomas is a dual-threat triggerman for an offense that ranked #1 in the nation in total yards with 532 per game, and #1 in points scored with 47 per game. Thomas threw for over 2,800 yards and 30 TDs while running for almost 500 yards and 9 more scores last season. James notched 1,731 yards and 24 TDs on the ground a year ago.

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Oregon vs. LSU St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:

Spread:
Oregon Ducks -4.0
@ LSU Tigers +4.0

Game Total:
Over 54.5(-110)
Under 54.5(-110)

Betting odds taken from BetOnline.comClick here for $900 FREE at Betonline!

Oregon vs. LSU Pick:

For LSU, Lee threw for 573 yards and 2 TDs with a 60.7% completion percentage in 2010, but he is not nearly the running threat that Jefferson is and that will take away a dimension from an offensive unit that has been looking for consistent quarterback play as evidenced by their ranking of 107 out of 120 teams with a lowly 155.6 YPG passing in 2010. Oregon as you might expect from the runner up in the BCS Championship Game, was strong on both sides of the ball. The Ducks also ranked 12th in the country in points allowed with 18.7 per game. The Ducks will be replacing five of their front seven on defense, but because they rotated a lot of those players into the mix last season many have significant experience.

The two teams have not played since 1977, when LSU won 56-17. The over is 21-7-2 in the Duck’s last 30 games in September and 22-802 in their last 32 games as a favorite. The over is 14-6 in their last 20 games overall.

The Tigers have struggled for consistency at the quarterback position, and the loss of Jefferson while not at deal-breaker because of the experience of Lee, will hurt. LSU has proven to be very inconsistent in big games under Miles leadership, and they will be limited in terms of what they can do on offense without Jefferson and Shepard, two of their top playmakers. Oregon has more depth on defense than LSU does on offense, and that could prove to be the difference with both teams missing key players. The Ducks also have experience playing against a speedy and rugged SEC-defense from their BSC Championship Game appearance against Auburn, so they will be well prepared after an entire off-season for what Miles and company will throw at them. With an experienced and explosive offensive unit the decided advantage goes to Oregon. Oregon will not go over their average of 47 PPG from 2010 against a strong LSU defensive unit, but they will score enough to win. LSU will struggle to put points on the board with Lee under center against an Oregon defense that does not get the hype that their offense does, but is nonetheless a very strong and deep group.

Pick = Oregon -4

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