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LSU Betting Odds Preview

LSU came up short in its attempt to get back to the SEC and BCS championship games last year, losing three games, two by field goals. Now, most programs would love to go 10-3, but at LSU, 10-3 is a disappointment. The goal, every year, is to beat Alabama and play for big stakes sometime after Jan. 1.

This year the Tigers will be talented, but young. They'll have to replace almost their entire skills set on offense, and they'll have to improve a little on defense. But with the talent waiting in the wings LSU is expected to carry on, and once again contend for, at the very least, the SEC West title.

LSU Odds to Win SEC: 13/2 at Bovada
LSU Odds to Win College Football Championship: 22/1 at Bovada
LSU Regular Season Win Total: 9 at Bovada
LSU Betting Props: Leonard Fournette to Win Heisman 50/1 at Bovada

Louisiana State opened last year with a win over TCU, and a few weeks later beat eventual SEC champion Auburn (convincingly) to get to 4-0. But the Tigers lost a tough game at Georgia, later got upset at Mississippi, then lost at Alabama to basically finish off any conference title or BCS hopes. The Bayou Bengals then won their last three games, beating Iowa in the Outback Bowl, to finish 10-3 SU, 6-7 ATS.

So LSU has won at least 10 games seven times in nine seasons under head coach Les Miles. However, the Tigers have finished with a losing ATS record in seven of their last eight seasons, an indication they may be consistently overrated by the oddsmakers and/or over-played by bettors.

This year the Tigers have to replace their starting quarterback, a thousand-yard rusher, and a pair of thousand-yard receivers. Fortunately, they get four starters back along the offensive line, and seven on defense, including three-quarters of what should be one of the best secondaries in the country. So while LSU will be young at the skill positions, most everything else seems to be in place.

Louisiana State opens this season with a game against Wisconsin in Houston, and later has to play at Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M. But the Tigers miss the top two contenders in the SEC East, Georgia and South Carolina. The Big One is scheduled for Nov. 8, when the LSU tries to break a three-game losing streak to Alabama, at Death Valley.

SEC Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5

Alabama 7/5
Auburn 5/1
South Carolina 5/1
Georgia 6/1
LSU 13/2
Florida 12/1
Ole Miss 14/1
Texas A&M 25/1
Mississippi State 40/1
Missouri 40/1
Tennessee 50/1
Arkansas 100/1
Kentucky 200/1
Vanderbilt 200/1

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LSU came up short last year in its attempt at a repeat SEC championship and a second straight BCS title game appearance, losing close, tough games to Florida and eventual champion Alabama. The goal for the Tigers this season, and every season, is beating the other beasts of the SEC and getting back to playing in the Big Game in January. However, LSU has some holes to fill on defense this fall, and a tough schedule.  

Odds to Win SEC: +1250 at 5Dimes
Regular Season Win Total: 9 at 5Dimes

LSU started 5-0 last year, but there were a couple indications things weren't quite right. The Tigers struggled to beat a bad Auburn team, then (as 44-point favorites) actually trailed Towson late into the second quarter before pulling away. LSU then lost a tough game at Florida 14-6. The Tigers recovered, though, to win close games over South Carolina and Texas A&M, but in what turned out to be the most important game of the year they gave up a late touchdown and lost at home to Alabama 21-17.

The Bayou Bengals finished with three victories to close out the season, but all that got them was a trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, which they lost to Clemson 25-24. So basically LSU came within two touchdowns of a perfect season. But the Tigers, always highly regarded by sportsbooks and bettors alike, only went 5-8 ATS last year, 3-5 in SEC play, and 4-6-1 ATS as favorites. This year LSU returns eight starters on offense, including QB Zach Mettenberger (who looked great in that loss to  Alabama), a pretty good RB combo, last year's top four receivers, and three along the offensive line.

But only four starters return on defense, none on the front line, so there's work to do on that side of the ball. Besides the usual top-10 recruiting class the Tigers also brought in OC Cam Cameron to upgrade the passing game, which produced just 278 total yards through the air in the losses to the Gators and Clemson. As for this year's schedule, LSU opens with an interesting matchup, taking on TCU at Cowboys Stadium, and later has to play at Georgia and at Tuscaloosa. But the Tigers do get Florida and A&M in Death Valley, and they miss South Carolina.

SEC Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of July 29

Alabama +140
Georgia +400
South Carolina +500
Texas A&M +850
Florida +950
LSU +1250
Mississippi +2700
Vanderbilt +4500
Tennessee +6000
Missouri +6000
Mississippi State +10000
Arkansas +10500
Auburn +12500
Kentucky +20000