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LSU 2023 Season Preview & Win Total Prediction


NCAAF Pick: LSU Over 9.5 Wins (-130) at Caesars Sportsbook


There’s a saying in poker: You can be the ninth-best player in the world, but you’re the fish if you sit at the same table with the Top 8. That’s what playing in the SEC must feel like for the Louisiana State Tigers. They’re one of the best teams in college football, but they’re playing third fiddle in their own conference behind Georgia and Alabama.

Make that fourth fiddle. The preseason SP+ rankings at ESPN have the Tigers ranked seventh among this year’s 133 FBS teams; the Georgia Bulldogs are No. 1, Alabama Crimson Tide are No. 4, and the Tennessee Volunteers are No. 6. The Vols are probably going to take a step back this year, but that still leaves LSU scrambling to keep up with the big boys in the SEC.

Life could be worse. They still have divisions in this conference, so the Tigers won’t face Georgia or Tennessee unless they meet in the SEC Championship Game. That leaves a nearly wide-open path for LSU to win 10 games this regular season and make Over 9.5 one of the tastier bets on the college football futures market


The Saban Bowl

We say “nearly wide-open” because LSU still has to play Alabama on November 4 – and that game’s at Bryant-Denny Stadium, with the Tide already priced at -6.5 on the NCAAF odds board. The Tigers have pulled this off before, but only three times since former LSU head coach Nick Saban landed in Tuscaloosa in 2007. 

The first time was immediately upon his arrival. The second in 2011, and the third in 2019, had both teams undefeated heading in, with LSU ranked No. 1 and Alabama No. 2. The Tide got their revenge in the 2012 BCS title game; the 2019 Tigers were able to finish the job, although they avoided ‘Bama in the College Football Playoff. 

Different Circumstances

Circumstances are different this year. LSU may be on the rise again in their second season under Brian Kelly, but this 2023 team isn’t as powerful yet as the ones Les Miles and Ed Orgeron fielded in 2011 and 2019 respectively. The college football odds at Caesars Sportsbook as we go to press have the Tigers tied with USC as +1000 fifth favorites to win the title, well behind Georgia (+230) and Alabama (+650). 


Howard’s End

Alabama isn’t the only obstacle in LSU’s path. They have one other difficult away game at Mississippi on September 30, although this time the Tigers are favored by 4.5 points. As it happens, Ole Miss (No. 18 on the preseason SP+ charts) was able to lead five-star QB prospect Walker Howard out of Death Valley through the transfer window; Jayden Daniels was going to start for LSU anyway, but this is a big get for Lane Kiffin in his third year at The Vaught.

Even if the Tigers blow this matchup, that still leaves them with 10 very winnable games. Texas A&M in Week 13 (No. 17), Florida in Week 11 (No. 20), Auburn in Week 7 (No. 26) and Arkansas in Week 4 (No. 29) all have to visit Baton Rouge. And their season opener versus Florida State (No. 11) will be played on somewhat neutral ground at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, with LSU favored by 2.5 points. 


Kelly Green

They might not get into the SEC title game with 10 wins, but that’s a reasonable floor for LSU’s expectations this year. The ceiling is even higher now that Kelly is in his second season under the headset. After a mostly successful run at Notre Dame, Kelly led the Tigers to a 9-4 record last year (7-5 ATS) before they crushed Purdue 63-7 at the Citrus Bowl.

Things should only improve from here. This is a premium big-name destination with a respected coach, and now that there’s so much money being thrown at college football, programs like LSU are hoovering up as much talent as they can for themselves. 

Kelly has the No. 6-ranked Class of 2023 at ESPN (but again, third in the SEC behind No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Georgia), and he’s got a stud transfer in former Oregon State LB Omar Speights who will pair nicely with First-Team All-SEC LB Harold Perkins. 

The Pick

Once the dust has settled in the SEC, it shouldn’t surprise anyone all that much if Kelly has finagled Louisiana State back into the College Football Playoff. We’re not saying they’re as good as Georgia on paper or even Alabama, but there’s no question that Kelly has this Tigers program pointed in the right direction. 

Bet accordingly.

NCAAF Pick: LSU Over 9.5 Wins (-130) at Caesars Sportsbook


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