Point spread by VietBet: Oregon -1
In the premier matchup of Week 1 of the college football season, the Oregon Ducks, from the PAC-12, and the LSU Tigers, out of the SEC, clash in the Cowboys Classic on Saturday night in a showdown of top five teams. Kick-off from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas is set for 8 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on ABC.
Oregon only lost one game last season, but unfortunately it was to another SEC foe in the national championship game. The odds makers remain bullish it can get back to the same point this season as the Ducks are 2/1 favorite to win their conference and the fourth-favorite at 12/1 to win the BCS title.
A big reason many people are betting on this team to make another run at a title is the return of most of its key playmakers including quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James. Thomas did a solid job of leading the offense, throwing for 2,518 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 61.5 percent of his passes. James ended-up a Heisman Trophy finalist after leading the nation in rushing with 1,731 yards and 21 rushing TD’s.
LSU finished the 2010 season ranked eighth in the polls with an overall record of 11-2. With a good chunk of talent back from last year’s team, it is easy to see why the Tigers are one of the top three or four favorites to win the SEC and a 14/1 favorite to win a BCS title.
The problem for this game is a recent off-field incident involving a handful of LSU players including starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, who has been suspended indefinitely as a result. In his place, head coach Les Miles has decided to go with Jarrett Lee. The Tigers rely primarily on their running game and shutdown defense to win games so this should not be too big of a deal. However, the effect of this whole mess as a major distraction could end up being a real issue.
Oregon was 12-1 straight-up last season, but just 7-5-1 against the spread. The total went ‘over’ in eight of its 13 games. LSU was just 6-7 ATS last year and the total stayed ‘under’ in eight of its 13 games.
The Tigers opened as three-point favorites so you can already see the impact Jefferson’s loss has had on the line. Miles is a veteran coach and should have his team ready to go on Saturday night, but stick with the Ducks to make the early statement with the win.
The Pick: Oregon 31 LSU 28
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