While the LSU Tigers almost parted ways with longtime head coach Les Miles after underachieving in a big way in 2015, the Wisconsin Badgers managed to record another double-digit win season in Paul Chryst’s first year leading his beloved alma mater.
The college football week 1 odds favor LSU by 10-points to beat Wisconsin. The game total is 44.5-points.
So, which one of these playoff-hopeful programs will bring home the bacon in their intriguing Week 1 showdown?
Let’s find out now!
LSU Tigers Vs Wisconsin Badgers Week 1 Odds & My Expert Pick
The public is 59% on the Wisconsin Badgers to cover the spread. The point spread opened at LSU -9.5. The line movement indicates more money is being placed on the side of the LSU Tigers to cover.
What: No. 5 LSU Tigers (0-0) at Wisconsin Badgers (0-0)
When: Saturday, September 3, 2016
Start Time: 3:30 PM ET
Where: Green Bay, WI
Stadium: Lambeau Field
Spread: LSU -10
Moneyline: LSU -370 vs Wisconsin +310
Game Total: 44.5
Watch: ABC/ESPN 3
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: LSU vs Wisconsin
Bet The LSU Tigers at -10 Because…
The Tigers have as much elite talent as any team in the country, not to mention, one of the best running backs in all of college football.
LSU (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS) ranked a respectable 39th in total offense a year ago (437.9 ypg) and 44th in scoring (32.8 ppg) thanks mostly to Heisman Trophy candidate running back Leonard Fournette and their seventh-ranked rushing attack (258.0 ypg).
The Tigers will lean heavily on their bruising big back after he rushed for a stellar 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2015.
Ultimately though, it will be the play of talented but wildly inconsistent quarterback Brandon Harris that will determine just how far the Tigers go in 2016. Harris underachieved in a big way in 2015 by completing just 53.8 percent of his passes while tossing a modest 13 touchdown passes and six interceptions.
The Tigers also need to replace starting tackles Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins, but with nine returning starters on offense, all excuses are out the window for LSU in 2016.
LSU will be on its third defensive coordinator in the last three years as Dave Aranda takes over a unit that ranked 25th in total defense (347.1 ypg) and 41st in points allowed (24.2 ppg).
The good news is that LSU returns a whopping 10 starters on the defensive side of the ball, including All-SEC safety Jamal Adams. Unfortunately, the Tigers will find replacing superstar defensive back Jaylen Mills and stud linebacker Deion Jones an unenviable task to say the least. Jones recorded a team-high 100 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and two interceptions.
Bet The Wisconsin Badgers at +10 Because…
The Badgers will be playing in front of their crazed fans at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field and have almost as much talent as LSU.
The Badgers (10-3 SU, 6-7 ATS) return an identical seven starters on both sides of the ball in 2016, but needs to find a new starting quarterback to replace graduated signal-caller Joel Stave.
The good news is that Wisconsin will have gifted running back Corey Clement back on the field after the heir apparent to Melvin Gordon missed virtually all of his junior season in 2015 with a sports hernia after racking up over 900 yards behind Gordon as a sophomore two years ago.
Clement will be a big part of Wisconsin’s offensive attack this coming season after the Badgers fell all the way to 95th in rushing last season while posting their lowest rushing total in two decades.
Clement will have help in the form of fellow backs Dare Ogunbowale, Taiwan Deal and Bradrick Shaw in what could be one of the best backfield in the nation this coming season.
As for the quarterback spot, senior Bart Houston has been named the starter, but Chryst also needs to find a new No. 1 receiver to replace former star Alex Erickson, who had 77 catches for 978 yards last season.
Defensively, Wisconsin needs to replace a pair of stars in linebacker Joe Schobert and safety Michael Caputo. Schobert led the Badgers with 9.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for a loss, while Caputo simply made plays all over the field for Wisconsin last season.
Still the Badgers look solid with their front seven and have plenty of experience at cornerback, although the safety position is a question mark as they break in two new starters.
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
LSU Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette will headline this intriguing Week 1 pairing, but I’m going on record right now to say that I like the Wisconsin Badgers to bag the outright win in their home opener.
I know the Tigers have a ton of talent, but unless I see a different Brandon Harris from the one I saw under center last season, I just don’t have much faith in the Tigers.
Yes, LSU could very well record a double-digit win campaign in 2016, but again, if Harris isn’t able to pass the ball efficiently then LSU will be the same one-dimensional team they were a year ago.
The best case scenario is that Harris plays more like Clemson star Deshaun Watson, but lets’ be honest. Hoping for that scenario to ply out is kind of like hoping to win your state lottery.
Wisconsin won 10 games in Paul Chryst’s first season and have won eight of their last 10 home games while suffering their only two home losses during that stretch by just six and four points respectively.
I know the Badgers are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games against teams from the SEC, but I’m going with Wisconsin to cover the college football betting odds as a 10-point home dog against an LSU team they match up very well against!
The Pick: Wisconsin 28 LSU 24