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ATVS Roundtable: LSU’s Vegas Over and Under

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Time to talk some ball — the crew starts the summer with LSU’s over/under number.

Texas A&M v LSU Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Bovada has set LSU’s 2018 season win total at 7 games. Fair? You taking the over or the under?

Adam

Over by one. Miami, SELA, Tech, Ole Miss, State, Arkansas, Rice, A&M.

I’m not buying what people are selling about Miami. S&P+ says the Hurricanes were only better by .1 point and only finished one game better the Tigers. Everybody remembers how good they were until the Pitt game and have really overlooked how bad they were as the season drew to a close. As the nation fell infatuated with the turnover chain, we started to overlook that their turnovers were spotting Miami and bailing them out. Last year LSU had a pretty disappointing year defensively and still fielded a better defense than Miami (18 to 22). That’s not to say I’m trying to expose them as frauds, but I don’t think the general perception is accurate.

As far as the others, I’ll take a flyer on Joe Burrow to beat State in Death Valley (which apparently matters now) and I think Jimbo’s A&M will be a WIP for the next two years.

Dan

I’m in alignment with Adam here, particularly on Miami. Miami was a good team, but people have totally bought in to a program that’s still actually building to the talent level of a program like LSU’s. It’s been ignored how much they are having to replace. I think it’ll be a close, competitive game, and previously it was two teams with major unknowns at QB. And while Burrow remains an unknown, he’s an experienced one, so I’ll cast my lot with LSU in that one.

I think there’s only three games you can circle that are almost surely losses: Auburn, Bama and Georgia. Those three teams have more talent and experience. So let’s say LSU drops one they shouldn’t; I think 8-4 sounds pretty right for a team that will still field a really formidable defense that should keep them hanging around most games.

Poseur

Fair? Sure. It’s a betting line, and LSU has a brutally tough schedule next season. To get to 8 wins, LSU will have to be a very good team. LSU plays Florida and Georgia as its SEC East crossover games, probably the toughest schedule any SEC West team has in conference play. Then there’s an out of conference game against Miami that, while I agree with Paul and Adam, is still a might bit tougher than last year’s opener of BYU. Throw in the loss of the team’s starting quarterback, top two running backs, top two wide receivers, and three offensive linemen and, well... seven wins is a fair line.

But I’m totally taking the over. First off, while history won’t line up and take a snap, LSU still has won at least eight games every year since 2000. Past performance is no guarantee of future success, as my mutual fund tells me, but come on. LSU winning at least 8 games is one of the surest bets going.

And while I think its prudent to be skeptical of the offense given that virtually no production returns, LSU is still one of the most talented teams in the nation. LSU still hauls in great recruiting classes and has the raw talent to match up with nearly any team in the nation not residing in Tuscaloosa. While the offense is a giant question mark, the defense should be lights out great. I’m talking 2011 great. This unit has the potential to be the best defense in LSU history, and that’s some pretty stout competition. It’s not like we’ve never won with a questionable offense and a great defense before.

Billy

Everything said about the schedule is pretty on the nose -- even Louisiana Tech is at least a competitive game -- but what probably doesn’t get a ton of play is the timing. Ole Miss in September will probably still be dialed in and not resigned to their bowl-less fate. Mississippi State in late October will probably have worked through any potential kinks in the new coach transition.

I do wonder how much the Burrow news impacted the number, if it did at all. Seven wins means, basically, that LSU would have to lose every obviously losable game and then something like Mississippi State or Ole Miss at home or Texas A&M ever. It’s not like this is some six or seven win coming back. It’s a nine win team that missed 10 by a hair and should return one of the best defenses in the country. And now the big question mark on offense has at least something of an answer. And yeah, is it ridiculous to expect Joe Burrow to come in and start carrying this offense (not that people have ever shied away from crazy expectations with past transfers at other schools), but it’s not ridiculous to think he’ll be ready for road games at Florida, Arkansas and the Aggies.

I’m with everyone else on Miami. They had a huge hot-streak of winning close games with a skewed turnover margin that went belly-up late. That’s a classic regression candidate if I’ve ever seen one, and that’s before we look at the quarterback situation. Miami fans are actively hoping Malik Rosier loses the starting job. But that first month will be the key and Auburn’s going to be the big one. Week three, on the road, and at a venue LSU’s only won at twice since the turn of the century. Coming out of September 3-1, that could easily be 9-3 the rest of the way. 2-2, that becomes a lot harder.

Crissy

I’d say the Bovada prediction of seven wins is pretty fair, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tigers push that to eight. Joe Burrow is a nice addition to the quarterback room, and the most reliable at the position to take the field right now. But, I don’t see him throwing the projected win total in a major way as he’s just settling in this year.

The season opener will be a close one, but I see LSU at 1-0 when all is said and done. As for the remainder of the schedule, SELU, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Florida, Arkansas and Rice should be relatively easy wins. Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are going to be the harder fought toss-ups. A win against Alabama in Week Nine is a nice thought, but reality tells us this one is a practically guaranteed loss.