This Saturday the No. 6 ranked LSU Tigers will get the 2019 season underway with a home game against the Georgia Southern Eagles. Kickoff is set for 7:30 EST at Tiger Stadium and will be televised on ESPNU.
Oddsmakers have LSU listed as a 27.5-point favorite, which is up slightly from the opening number of 25.5. The total for this contest opened at 59 and has dropped considerably. Depending on where you shop the over/under is now 52.5 or 53.
Click on the link for a full look at the Week 1 NCAA Football lines and for more links to our game previews.
Betting Preview & Vegas Game Odds: Georgia Southern vs LSU
Georgia Southern Eagles
The Eagles quietly had the biggest turnaround of any FBS team in 2018. After going just 2-10 in 2017, Georgia Southern finished 10-3 and were just 1-game back of both Troy and Appalachian State in the loaded Sun Belt East Division.
The massive improvement came in the first full season under head coach Chad Lunsford, who was the interim head coach for the final 6 games of 2017. It also came with the Eagles returning to their roots and bringing back the triple-option under offensive coordinator Bob Debesse.
The belief is that Georgia Southern will be an even stronger team in 2019. The Eagles will be a lot more comfortable in year two of their newly installed schemes and bring back 14 starters (7 offense, 7 defense).
One thing is for sure, if Georgia Southern protects the ball like they did in 2018, they are going to win a lot of games. Eagle posted a +22 turnover margin and set a FBS record with just 5 turnovers on offense the entire season!
While LSU only improved their win total by 1-game in 2018, the Tigers felt like one of the bigger surprises, especially at the Power 5 level. Going into last year people wanted Ed Orgeron fired and there were some, including myself, that wondered if they would make a bowl.
Boy was I wrong about LSU. While I still don’t think Orgeron is a great X’s & O’s kind of guy, there’s no denying his ability to motivate his players to play their absolute hardest for him. The Tigers finished 10-3, which they capped off with a 40-32 win over UCF in the Fiesta Bowl, snapping the Knights 25-game winning streak.
Heading into 2019 the vibe is the exact opposite as it was a year ago in Baton Rouge. People in Louisiana aren’t just thinking about another double-digit win season, they are thinking SEC West title, making the playoffs and winning a National Championship.
Getting past Alabama won’t be easy, but with 16 returning starters (8 offense, 8 defense) the talent is definitely there.
Free College Football Picks & Predictions: Georgia Southern +27
My early lean here would be to take the points with the Eagles in the opener. I just think there’s a lot of hype around this LSU team and you add in the SEC bias in non-conference games and you end up with an inflated number like we do here.
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I want to start out here by saying I really like this LSU team. I’m not in any way calling for an upset here. I just think the Eagles are going to sneak in a cover here.
I get it’s the season opener at home and it will be played under the lights, but this is not one of those huge games where Tiger Stadium turns into a nightmare for opposing teams. Not only that, LSU has a massive game on deck at Texas in Week 2.
Also, I don’t think Orgeron provides that same fire to his team against lessor opponents. The numbers definitely suggest that, as the Tigers are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 as a favorite of 21 or more and have lost 4 straight at home in non-conference play.
Lastly, you have to factor in the style of play with Georgia Southern. That triple-option is not only hard to prepare for if you haven’t seen it a whole lot, it’s not fun to play against. Plus, all that running eats up the clock and the fewer possessions the higher probability you have of covering a big number like this. Give me Georgia Southern +27!