Wisconsin vs. LSU Top Matchup On Opening NCAA Football Weekend : College Football Betting
By: WagerWeb Staff
The first weekend of any new college football season generally sees a lot of lopsided matchups. Top programs like to open against weaklings as a pseudo-scrimmage to kick off the season. However, that’s certainly not the case for Wisconsin and LSU as the two powerhouses face off on Saturday night, Aug. 30, in Houston. The Tigers have opened as 6.5-point WagerWeb favorites.
Both schools believe they can win their respective conferences and reach the new four-team College Football Playoffs. The Badgers finished 9-4 last season in Coach Gary Andersen’s first season replacing Bret Bielema. Three of those four losses were to very good teams: Arizona State (that loss was largely due to a mistake by the referees), Ohio State and South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl.
Wisconsin is a WagerWeb favorite to win the new Big Ten West Division this season. The school welcomes 10 starters back, led by running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon rushed for 1,609 yards (whopping 7.8 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns last season despite splitting time with James White, who is gone now. Gordon is +1500 on WagerWeb to win the Heisman Trophy. UW still doesn’t know who its QB will be. Joel Stave started all 13 games last year and finished fifth in program history for single-season passing yards (2,494), third in pass completions (208), sixth in completion percentage (.619) and second in passing touchdowns (22). However, he was hurt this spring and will have to beat out Tanner McEvoy at fall camp.
LSU finished last season 10-3, beating Big Ten team Iowa 21-14 in the Outback Bowl. Coach Les Miles lost a ton of talent to the NFL, including quarterback Zack Mettenberger, running backs Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue, and receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. LSU’s QB situation is still up for grabs. Anthony Jennings filled in for Mettenberger late last season when the starter went down. Jennings led a comeback win over
Arkansas when Mettenberger was hurt but struggled in the bowl game. He will have to beat out freshman Brandon Harris, who was much better in the LSU spring game than Jennings was. LSU welcomes the No. 1 overall recruit in the country, freshman running back Leonard Fournette. The Tigers also bring back four starters on the offensive line.
That LSU is opening on a neutral field is nothing new. This will be the fourth time in the past five years. The Tigers have covered the previous three, winning them all by at least 10 points. They beat TCU by 10 last year in Dallas in Week 1. Wisconsin is just 1-4 ATS at WagerWeb in its past five neutral-site games.
Wisconsin is +3000 at WagerWeb to win the national championship and LSU is +1600.