Auburn at LSU
September 20, 2013
By Brian Edwards
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Auburn has jumped out to a 3-0 record with wins over Washington State, Arkansas State and Mississippi State at home on The Plains. In doing so, Gus Malzahn’s team has matched its season win total of a year ago.
With that said, didn’t we expect Auburn (3-0 straight up, 1-2 against the spread) to be unbeaten at this point? We won’t find out if this team is ready to return to the upper echelon of the SEC until we see it square off against LSU on Saturday night at Tiger Stadium.
As of Friday afternoon, most betting shops had LSU (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) listed as a 17-point favorite with a total of 54. Gamblers can take AU to win outright for a +650 payout (risk $100 to win $650). For first half-wagers, LSU is favored by 9.5 with a total of 28.
Les Miles’s team has picked up wins over TCU, UAB and Kent St. The Bayou Bengals spanked Kent St. by a 45-13 count last Saturday, but they failed to take the cash as 35.5-point home favorites.
Zach Mettenberger threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns. The senior QB has nine TD passes without an interception through three games. Jeremy Hill added 118 yards and a pair of TD runs on just 11 carries against the Flashes. Hill is averaging 9.8 yards per carry in the last two games after sitting out the opener vs. TCU due to a suspension.
Auburn had to mount a long drive late in the fourth quarter to pull out a 24-20 win over Mississippi St. in the SEC opener for both schools. With 10 seconds remaining, Nick Marshall hit C.J. Uzomah with an 11-yard scoring strike to cap the game-winning drive.
AU failed to cover the spread as a 6.5-point home favorite. The 44 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 50-point total.
Although he was intercepted twice, Marshall threw for 339 yards and a pair of TDs. For the season, Marshall has 585 yards passing and 102 yards rushing. The juco transfer, who will be making his first career road start at LSU, has a 4/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Since 2008, Auburn has been atrocious as a road underdog with a 4-12 spread record. During that same time frame, AU has gone 3-8 ATS in 11 games as a double-digit underdog.
In nine years under Miles, LSU owns a 20-31-1 spread record as a home favorite. Sine 2008, LSU has compiled a 15-20-1 ATS mark in 36 games as a double-digit favorite.
LSU safety Craig Loston, a second-team All-SEC selection last year, is ‘questionable’ with a leg injury that kept him out of last week’s win over Kent St. Auburn’s starting senior cornerback Chris Davis is also ‘questionable’ with a leg injury.
LSU has won five of the last six head-to-head meetings against Auburn, but AU has a respectable 3-3 spread record during that span. When these teams met on The Plains last season, LSU won a 12-10 decision but never threatened to cover the number as an 18-point road ‘chalk.’
In the last meeting in Baton Rouge, LSU cruised to a 45-10 win as a 21-point home favorite.
The ‘under’ is 10-3 in the last 13 head-to-head encounters between these SEC West rivals.
LSU has seen the ‘over’ hit in all three of its games to date. On the flip side, the ‘under’ is a perfect 3-0 for Auburn.
ESPN will provide television coverage at 7:45 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Texas QB David Ash was downgraded to ‘doubtful’ Friday for Saturday’s game vs. Kansas St.
-- Alabama has suspended RB T.J. Yeldon for the first quarter of Saturday’s home game vs. Colorado St. We presume the wrist tap is for the throat-slashing gesture he used after scoring a TD at Texas A&M last week.
-- CORRECTION: In the nuggets section of my Boise St.-Fresno St. preview, I wrote that North Texas is 10-5 ATS as a double-digit underdog on Dan McCarney’s watch. That was false because those double-digit ‘dog spots date back to before McCarney took over. The Mean Green, a 33-point ‘dog at Georgia, is 10-5 ATS in its last 15 double-digit ‘dog situations (with and before McCarney).
-- Michigan has been a double-digit road ‘chalk’ just once under Brady Hoke. In that spot last season, the Wolverines rolled to a 35-13 win at Minnesota as 10.5-point favorites. They are laying 18 points Saturday at UConn. The Huskies are 4-2 ATS as home underdogs during Paul Pasqualoni’s tenure.
-- With its backdoor spread cover in Thursday’s loss to Clemson, North Carolina St. improved to 11-3-1 ATS in its last 15 games as a home underdog.
-- Vandy owns a 6-1 spread record in seven games as a double-digit favorite on James Franklin’s watch. The Commodores are favored by 29 Saturday at UMass.
-- Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel had 562 yards of total offense against Alabama last week. That effort was the second-best in SEC history behind only his 576-yard output at La. Tech last season.
– Mississippi St. senior quarterback Tyler Russell is ‘doubtful’ vs. Troy. Russell threw for 2,897 yards with a 24/10 TD-INT ratio last season, but he might have trouble getting his starting job back. In his absence, Dak Prescott has played well. Prescott provides more of a running dimension, rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s heartbreaking loss at Auburn. He completed 15-of-28 passes for 213 yards on The Plains.
-- Coaches on the Hot Seat:
1-Mack Brown (Texas)
2-Lane Kiffin (USC)
3-Paul Pasqualoni (UConn)
4-Bo Pelini (Nebraska)
5-Bobby Hauck (UNLV)
-- SEC Power Rankings: