- The marquee matchup of Week 3 of the college football season will see LSU and Auburn both try to establish their running games. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham could be the difference-maker.
LSU at Auburn (-9.5)
Sat. 9/15, 3:30 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on LSU-Auburn:
1. Leonard Fournette, Derrius Guice…Nick Brossette. The Tigers of Baton Rouge continue to recruit some of the country’s best running backs—and pair them with a defense dotted with future NFL draft picks. Despite internal competition from sophomore Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU coach Ed Orgeron says Brosette is “our best back.” He'll be asked to carry a heavy load against Auburn in college football's marquee Week 3 matchup. The Tigers of The Plains boast the 17th-ranked rushing defense in the nation (74.5 yards allowed per game), but don’t expect that to dissuade LSU from doing what it does best. Despite receiving competent play from quarterback Joe Burrow, LSU will still pound it out on the ground in an effort to limit Auburn’s possessions and defuse what will be an electric crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Brossette will face his biggest test yet.
2. While quarterback Jarrett Stidham has completed 68.1% of his passes this season, Auburn will also be looking to run the ball. It has called 104 rush plays in its first two games—one contest against stout Washington, the other against flimsy Alabama State. It’s a pattern that has also worked for LSU, which opened the season against Miami and followed with a victory against Southeastern Louisiana. But Auburn’s edge is its passing options—in particular its ability to effectively run the play-action, which will give Stidham’s receivers more time to find space downfield. LSU managed just two first downs and 78 yards of total offense in the second half against its FCS opponent, while Auburn continued to pour it on in its Week 2 matchup, winning 63-9. The defending SEC West champions will enter this game confident and clicking on offense.
3. Auburn’s home-field advantage was discernible last season, with showcase victories over Georgia and Alabama. Overall, the home team is 8-1 against the spread in this matchup since 2009. Still, the LSU roster appears to be in lockstep with its coaching staff for the first time in the Orgeron era. This is an LSU team that is aware of its limitations and plays to its strengths. Nine-and-a-half points is a lot to give a unit with weapons on both sides of the ball
Pick: LSU +9.5
Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)