The LSU Tigers are in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday as they take on the Kentucky Wildcats (SEC Network, 7:30 p.m. ET).
LSU is just two seasons removed from a historic national championship season, but after a 5-5 record last season, and slow start this season, questions are swirling about Ed Orgeron’s status as head coach. Orgeron has never faced Kentucky while at LSU, as the last meeting between these teams came back in 2014.
The Tiger offense couldn’t do much of anything against Auburn last week, and it resulted in a disappointing 24-19 loss in Baton Rouge. The Auburn game was the first of six straight against currently-ranked opponents for LSU, and Orgeron’s squad is in desperate need of a solid performance in Lexington. Their sense of urgency should be high.
Oddsmakers are expecting a tight contest in this one. Most sportsbooks have Kentucky listed as 3.5-point favorites, but the juice can vary. The total has hovered around 50.5, but can be found at 51 on DraftKings.
The chart below shows odds available at notable sportsbooks as of Thursday afternoon.
|DraftKings||+3.5 (-115)||-3.5 (-105)||51 (OV -105, UN -115)|
|FanDuel||+3.5 (-114)||-3.5 (-106)||50.5 (OV -110, UN -110)|
|PointsBet||+3.5 (-115)||-3.5 (-105)||50.5 (OV -110, UN -110)|
|Caesars||+3.5 (-115)||-3.5 (-105)||50.5 (OV -110, UN -110)|
Historically, this has been a matchup the Tigers have dominated. LSU owns an impressive 40-16-1 all-time record against Kentucky and has won six of the last seven meetings.
QB Max Johnson is posting solid numbers this season. He is completing 62.4% of his passes for 1,469 yards and 16 touchdowns along with four interceptions. He threw for 325 yards against Auburn last week, but he is still trying to find his consistency.
A lot is being asked of the sophomore QB, as LSU cannot run the ball. The Tigers finished the 2020 season with the 109th ranked rushing attack, and they have continued to struggle with the ground game so far in 2021. LSU has yet to have a running back go for 100 yards in a single game. As a team, they are averaging a measly 2.6 yards per carry.
One factor that could help LSU is that Kentucky is prone to committing turnovers. The Wildcats have turned the ball over 12 times in five games, losing the turnover battle in four of their five contests. LSU is 3-0 when winning the turnover margin, and 0-2 when losing it. The Tigers need to take advantage of any Kentucky mistakes if they want to walk out of Lexington with a win.
The No. 16 Wildcats stayed unbeaten by knocking off then-No. 10 Florida by a score of 20-13 last week. It was a historic win for the Wildcats, as it marked their first home win against the Gators in 35 years. LSU is hoping for a letdown from Kentucky this week.
QB Will Levis has helped transform Kentucky’s offensive attack in 2021. On the season, Levis has thrown for 989 yards and eight touchdowns through five games. For comparison, QB Terry Wilson had 1,187 passing yards and seven touchdowns in 10 games in 2020.
Nebraska transfer Wan’Dale Robinson is also making a big impact. Robinson is Levis’ favorite target, hauling in 29 passes for 467 yards and three touchdowns.
The Kentucky offense did suffer a blow when No. 2 WR Josh Ali went down with an injury against Florida. He will likely miss the next two games.
After scoring 45 and 35 points in their first two games respectively, the Wildcats have averaged just 21.3 points over their last three contests. The offense is sputtering a bit, but the defense has stepped up.
Kentucky is No. 11 in the country in total defense, allowing 284.4 yards a game. They rank 24th against the rush and 27th against the pass and are tied for 20th in scoring defense.
The defense saved the day against Florida, and the unit needs another solid effort Saturday if the Wildcats wish to move to 6-0.
What Is The Public Backing?
PointsBet told Louisiana Sharp in an email Wednesday that 58% of bets are on Kentucky while 52% of the handle is on LSU to cover the 3.5-point spread.
In terms of the total, bettors are loving the UNDER. As of Wednesday, 81% of bets and 90% of the handle are on UNDER 50.5.
The UNDER looks like a solid bet given the offensive struggles of both teams as of late. LSU can’t get anything going on the ground, and its offense has been very one-dimensional. On the other side, Kentucky’s defense has saved them when the offense stalls. Kentucky’s turnover issues and Ali’s injury can also contribute to a low-scoring affair.
It is a bit surprising to see the total listed above 50, and the public agrees. Both teams have talent on the offensive side, and they are more than capable of breaking out. However, both units have been far too inconsistent in recent weeks to warrant much confidence in a high-scoring shootout. The defenses are playing with some confidence right now as well.
Tread lightly, but consider a play on the UNDER.
- Kentucky is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS this season
- LSU is 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS this season
- The OVER is 3-2 for Kentucky, while the UNDER is 3-2 for LSU
- Kentucky is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five conference games going back to last season
- LSU is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games following an ATS loss
- The home team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between these two teams
It’s a primetime SEC showdown in Lexington, and both teams are looking to make a statement. It should be an exciting matchup to watch unfold, and a little betting action can help spice things up.
All odds used were available at time of publishing on Thursday, October 7.