Liberty vs. LSU Odds & Picks: How to Bet Monday’s College Basketball Showdown (November 15)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: Darius Days.
- Liberty faces LSU in a showdown against an SEC opponent on Monday night.
- The line has been moving toward the Flames, and they're 7.5-point underdogs in tonight's game.
- Charlie Disturco breaks down the game below and shares a betting pick based on his analysis.
Liberty vs. LSU Odds
-120o / +100u
Liberty’s first Division I matchup this season comes on the road in Baton Rouge against Will Wade and LSU on Monday night.
Both teams enter with lofty expectations. The Flames, despite needing to replace two of its three leading scorers from a season ago, are among the Atlantic Sun’s elite. They dominated Regent University 85-24 in their season opener.
LSU is in a similar boat as Liberty, having to replace its top three leading scorers from last year. It welcomes the Flames after dominating both Louisiana-Monroe and Texas State.
Despite the roster turnover from last season, both teams have attainable NCAA Tournament aspirations, and Monday is the first opportunity at building a strong resume toward an at-large bid.
There are few constants in college basketball. Liberty dominating the Atlantic Sun has become one of them.
A disciple of Tony Bennett, head coach Ritchie McKay deploys a pack-line defense, limiting dribble penetration and forcing offenses to create from the perimeter. It has left the opposition stunned to the tune of three consecutive Atlantic Sun championships. Liberty is also the third most-winningest program over the last three seasons.
This year, the Flames are expected to repeat for a fourth straight season. Reigning ASUN Player of the Year Darius McGhee returns for his senior season. The quarterback of the offense, McGhee dominates in the pick-and-roll and has limitless range.
Liberty is tasked with replacing Chris Parker, the team’s second-leading scorer from a season ago, and ASUN Defensive Player of the Year Elijah Cuffee.
Drake Dobbs and Kyle Rode are expected to take on a larger role in the offense. Dobbs was limited in his freshman year playing behind McGhee, Parker and Cuffee, but is an efficient scorer with range. Rode led the Flames in assists last year and will continue his role as a playmaking big.
The rest of the roster — specifically the bench — is primarily made up of freshmen and sophomores. Joseph Venzant did score 13 points in his Flames debut, but keep in mind it was against Regent University in a 61-point win.
This is Liberty’s first real test this season in what should be another successful run that ends in an ASUN championship and NCAA Tournament berth.
This isn’t the same LSU team that last season was predicated on fast-paced efficient offense and no defense.
Javonte Smart, Cameron Thomas and Trendon Watford all turned pro, leaving Will Wade with the tall task of replacing 55.3 points per game and a trio that assisted on 68.6 percent of made field goals.
The new-look Tigers will be led by Darius Days who, after initially declaring for the NBA Draft, returned for his senior season. The veteran on the team, Days is a versatile scorer that can stretch the floor. He also averaged 7.8 rebounds per game last year and can dominate smaller matchups inside the paint.
Wade dipped his hands into the transfer portal this offseason and came away with Xavier Pinson (Missouri), Tari Eason (Cincinnati) and Adam Miller (Illinois). Miller tore his ACL in preseason and will miss the season, already putting LSU at a disadvantage.
Pinson will be tasked with point-guard duties, the same role he had at Mizzou. Though inconsistent, there are times he can erupt offensively. He will mainly provide a steady hand in an otherwise young offense.
Primed for a sophomore breakout, Eason is a strong defender with a knack for the ball. He currently averages 14 points and 10 rebounds through two games this year.
The prize possession for Wade was not any of the three transfers. It’s five-star center Efton Reid. At 6-foot-11, Reid instantly provides stability around the rim on defense and gives LSU a big boost on the boards.
Unlike last season where offense was a constant and defense came at a premium, LSU should be a more well-rounded team — albeit, slightly worse — in 2021-22.
Liberty vs. LSU Betting Pick
Liberty’s biggest issue will be dealing with LSU’s size. The Flames’ tallest player is 6-foot-9 Blake Preston and he’ll be tasked with defending the 6-foot-11 Reid.
But McKay’s pack-line defense helps combat the size and physicality differences, limiting second-chance opportunities. Liberty will force Pinson and LSU’s guards — the weak spot of the roster — to create more, keeping the ball out on the perimeter.
While LSU is expected to improve defensively, this Liberty offense will cause problems. It has plenty of shooters to keep up with the Tigers.
Liberty will not be able to penetrate this LSU front court as easily as mid-major foes, so look for the Flames to run the pick-and-roll often to open up looks for McGhee, and get the ball in Rode’s hands as often as possible. They’re the two veteran playmakers that will be heavily relied on Monday.
A line hasn’t been released yet, but KenPom projects LSU as 10-point favorites. To me, that line is way too inflated, and Liberty somehow is undervalued here.
Despite this game being in Baton Rouge, I expect McKay to have his players up and ready for the Tigers. We’ve already seen what talented mid-major programs can do this early into the season and Liberty is among the elite in that class.
Give me the Flames here in a game that I expect will come down to the wire. I would back them to +8.
Pick: Liberty +10 (down to +8)