From the outside looking in, it sure seems like everyone is ready to gloss over LSU football this season.
Monday’s release of the preseason AP Top 25 left off the Tigers for the first time since 2000 and that news was quickly topped by the sudden retirement of long-time LSU quarterback Myles Brennan.
Only a few months ago, after two consecutive season-ending injuries, the sixth-year senior seemed all set to finally command the offense under new head coach Brian Kelly. Now those plans are toast.
But that doesn’t mean you should fade LSU. In fact, it’s probably time to take an even closer look at the Tigers, who have a season wins line set at O/U 6.5 at Tipico Sportsbook.
Let’s consider a few things.
For starters, Brennan was apparently buried on the depth chart. Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels has a pretty solid grip on QB1 and Brennan was reportedly battling for a back-up role with redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier.
Thank you, Myles, for everything you did for LSU. pic.twitter.com/Yc40T1liPc
— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) August 15, 2022
Reaching the over on 6.5 wins (-135) wins may appear like a big ask for a program in a transition year, but when you take a look at the schedule, it really doesn’t seem that hard to imagine.
LSU has the 10th-toughest schedule, per ESPN, but mostly because they’ll face SEC powerhouses like Alabama and Texas A&M at the end of the year. There’s a good chance the Tigers already cover the over well before then.
The toughest non-conference game LSU plays is the season-opener at home against Florida State (+3). The Tigers are -160 on the moneyline there. That game is followed by home matchups with Southern University, Mississippi State and New Mexico.
It’s entirely possible LSU is sitting at 4-0 before it even has to play a road game.
That first test away from Death Valley comes against similarly unranked Auburn. The Tigers’ schedule also includes matchups against current unranked opponents in Tennessee (home), Florida (away) and UAB (home). Even with a backend of the season featuring No. 21 Ole Miss, No. 1 Alabama and No. 19 Arkansas in consecutive weeks, there’s a solid possibility the Tigers could lose all three and still reach seven wins.
On the off chance Kelly’s program pulls a season-altering upset on one of the year’s title contenders, the probability of reaching seven wins surges a lot higher.
Which brings us to the final reason discounting LSU doesn’t make sense in 2022: Brian Kelly is typically pretty fantastic in his first year with a new school.
Check out his immediate results each time he’s landed a new job.
- 1991 Grand Valley State (9-3)
- 2004 Central Michigan (4-7)
- 2007 Cincinnati (10-3)
- 2010 Notre Dame (8-5)
That’s an average of 7.75 wins in Kelly’s first season at a new school. And LSU isn’t exactly a program that struggles to attract talent.
This may not be a year in which the Tigers contend for an SEC or national title—which might as well be a failure to many in Baton Rouge—but bettors should feel pretty confident in Kelly’s ability to hit the over on 6.5 wins.
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