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LSU Tigers Betting Predictions – Defense And Special Teams Won't Be A Problem

Posted by Blake Fraizer on 6/13/2012 3:06:04 PM

Head Coach: Les Miles
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Studrawa
Defensive Coordinator: John Chavis
Stadium:  Tiger Stadium
Capacity: 92,542

Offense

At any of several betting sites, the point spreads are going to rest on LSU's side of the ledger, picking the Tigers to win almost every one of their 12 regular-season contests this fall. However, if anything limits the extent to which the Tigers will be favored, it's their offense. On this matter there is no doubt whatsoever. Last year, quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson struggled within a platoon system; the offense was repeatedly bailed out by the Tigers' defense and special teams. This season, a new signal caller will step into the breach for LSU. Zack Mettenberger will confront life in the SEC. Mettenberger threw eight passes last year in garbage time for the Tigers and rushed the ball twice. Now a junior, he is the team's clear No. 1 starter, a position which brings with it great responsibility. LSU was a great team even with balky, hesitant performances from Lee and Jefferson last season. If Mettenberger is up to the task, LSU could get back to the national championship stage and complete the job that went undone last season.

Grade: B-

Defense

In the most-hyped regular-season college football game of 2011, the star of the show was LSU's defense. This was a team powered by defense and special teams all season long, never more so than in the 9-6 overtime win over rival Alabama on Nov. 5. The Tigers' secondary simply did not give up big plays. The front four contained runners and did not allow them to turn the corner. LSU was physical, yes, but it was also deep and resilient. Throughout the 2011 campaign, opposing offenses would often get to the Tigers' 35-yard line and then fail to finish drives. There were no real holes in this defense. West Virginia played well for two quarters against LSU's defense, and that's about it.

With the best ballhawking secondary in the country, spearheaded by Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu, LSU's defense made as many game-breaking plays as the offense. This year, the Tigers get Mathieu back alongside safety Eric Reid, whose interception against Alabama saved the Bayou Bengals in that Nov. 5 win at Alabama. LSU's defense will still be extremely formidable in 2012. The SEC West has some superb quarterbacks, but the Tigers will be equipped to stop them in their tracks.

Grade: A

Special Teams

Sports betting gurus who study college football are very much aware how good LSU can be on special teams. In that 9-6 win at Alabama, punter Brad Wing continuously pinned Alabama deep, and the defense repeatedly stood its ground in its own third of the field. A flood of missed field goals by the Crimson Tide enabled LSU to walk out of Bryant-Denny Stadium with a hard-earned road victory. Wing is back this year, which means that the Tigers' kicking game should establish terrific field position for their defense. This team has an elite punter, and since it butters its bread on defense, that's what it needs.  It's also worth pointing out that Mathieu produced defining kick returns that helped LSU turn the tide in wins over Arkansas and then Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Only field-goal kicking is a slight weakness for the Tigers' special teams. Punting and kick returns are two areas where this team will excel.

Grade: A-

Prediction

The plain fact of the matter is that at just about any sportsbook, the odds are going to lean heavily in favor of the 2012 LSU football team. The road game at Arkansas and the home game against Alabama will be the two biggest tests on the slate. If LSU can hold serve at home against Alabama, an 11-1 record should be good enough to win the SEC West title and then enter the SEC Championship Game, which it would probably be able to claim against an inferior SEC East squad.

2012 Schedule

Week 1 – vs. North Texas
Week 2 – vs. Washington
Week 3 – vs. Idaho
Week 4 – at Auburn
Week 5 – vs. Towson
Week 6 – at Florida
Week 7 – vs. South Carolina
Week 8 – at Texas A&M
Week 9 – vs. Alabama (8:00 PM ET)
Week 10 – vs. Mississippi State
Week 11 – vs. Ole Miss
Week 12 – at Arkansas (2:30 PM ET)

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