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The Ole Miss Rebels return from their bye week to square off against the LSU Tigers on Saturday, November 21 in Oxford. The home team has won each of the last three meetings, including a 10-7 win by the Tigers last year. All three games were decided by six points or less.

Ole Miss (7-3, 4-2 SEC) is coming off a tough 52-53 home loss to Arkansas in overtime prior to its bye. The Rebels appeared to have the game won, but the Razorbacks used a crazy lateral play to pick up a long first down in overtime. They went on to score a touchdown and convert the 2-point conversion for the win.

LSU (7-2, 4-2 SEC) has suffered back-to-back losses after getting upset 14-31 at home by Arkansas last week. Leonard Fournette was held in check for a second straight week, finishing with 91 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in the loss.

Kickoff inside Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium is set for 3:30 EST Saturday afternoon with CBS providing the television coverage. If you are looking to bet on this game, you’ll find Ole Miss as a 4-point favorite over LSU with a total set of 56 points.

My Early Lean: Ole Miss -4

Believe it or not, the Ole Miss Rebels are still in a pretty good position to win the SEC West. They sit at 4-2 within the conference and if they win out and get a loss from Alabama at Auburn in the Iron Bowl, they would have an excellent shot of going to the SEC Championship Game. So I still like their outlook and their emotional state right now much better than that of LSU.

The Tigers lost their shot at winning the SEC with back-to-back blowout losses to Alabama (16-30) on the road and Arkansas (14-31) at home. They were thoroughly outplayed in both games, getting outgained by 252 yards by the Crimson Tide and by 110 yards by the Razorbacks. It just goes to show how much they took advantage of a soft schedule up to that point. I do not like their state of mind right now with their goal of winning the SEC now unattainable.

This is also a great spot for the Rebels, who have had a bye week to get ready for the Tigers. They will be the fresher, more energized team when they hit the field Saturday afternoon. The Tigers are beat up right now after back-to-back physical games against Alabama and Arkansas in which they gave up a combined 549 rushing yards. Their defense is not as good as it was hyped up to be, and their offense is really struggling, gaining a combined 113 rushing yards in the two losses. They only managed 182 total yards against Alabama and 320 against Arkansas.

The Rebels are still 5-1 at home this season, outscoring teams by an average of 34.0 points per game.

I still believe Ole Miss is the second-best team in the entire SEC. It should not have lost to Arkansas last time out as the Razorbacks needed a fluke lateral play in overtime to beat them. But the Rebels are still 5-1 at home this season, outscoring teams by an average of 34.0 points per game. That includes a dominant 23-3 home win over Texas A&M in which they outgained the Aggies by 279 yards and held them to 192 yards.

The numbers tell the story with how good Ole Miss really is. Its offense is putting up 40.7 points, 527 yards per game and 7.0 per play against teams that allow 30.7 points, 414 yards per game and 6.0 per play. Its defense is only allowing 4.7 yards per play against opponents that average 5.7 per play.

I really like this matchup for the defense. The Rebels only allow 126 rushing yards per game and 3.2 per carry against opponents that average 172 per game and 4.4 per carry. LSU only averages 166 passing yards per game, so stopping Leonard Fournette is the key to beating the Tigers, and the Rebels are well-equipped to do it. Fournette has been shut down the last two weeks and will be again in this one.

Home-field advantage has been huge in this series as the home team has won three straight and five of the last six meetings. Ole Miss beat LSU 27-24 at home as a 9.5-point underdog in 2013, outgaining the Tigers 525-388 in the process. LSU is 0-7 ATS in road games after playing a home game over the last three seasons, losing by an average of 9.4 points per game. The Rebels are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games following a loss.

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