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College Basketball Odds & Picks for LSU vs. Louisiana Tech: Bulldogs to Keep Things Close?

College Basketball Odds & Picks for LSU vs. Louisiana Tech: Bulldogs to Keep Things Close? article feature image

Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Will Wade

  • LSU will face off against in-state rival Louisiana Tech.
  • The Tigers are one of the few unbeaten teams left in the country.
  • Anthony Dabbundo dives into this clash and offers up his top selection.

LSU vs. Louisiana Tech Odds

Saturday, Dec. 18
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
LSU Odds
-112o / -108u
Louisiana Tech Odds
-112o / -108u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Just seven teams remain unbeaten in Division I college basketball entering Saturday’s jam packed slate of games. No. 19 LSU has one of the toughest tests of the remaining unbeatens on Saturday. The Tigers travel to Bossier City, Louisiana for a neutral-court matchup with in-state rival Louisiana Tech.

The Tigers have been winning with defense early on in the season, especially in their dominant second-half surge and routine victory against Georgia Tech last Saturday.

KenPom rates them as the second-best defense in the entire country. It’s different for LSU because in years past under Will Wade, the Tigers have won with an elite offense and relatively average defense.

La. Tech picked up an impressive road win at Santa Clara early in the month, but the Bulldogs did lose twice at Alabama and NC State.

The Bulldogs lack size, interior defense and rebounding ability, but have some positive shooting regression coming and could cause some problems on offense for LSU.

LSU Tigers

The Tigers win against Georgia Tech last week was a bit of a misleading final score, as Yellow Jackets guard Michael Devoe went out with an injury. The Yellow Jackets shot really poorly from beyond the arc — despite plenty of open looks — and once Devoe’s finger was injured, turnovers became a major issue.

LSU was able to get out in transition and run after forcing those turnovers, so the Tigers were able to increase their lead in the second half.

They’ve had up and down performances throughout the season, including dominant wins against Ohio and Belmont and a fortunate win against Penn State.

One thing has been constant, though, for the first time ever under Wade, the Tigers have elite defensive metrics. The question is whether or not it can be sustained. This is only the second year Wade’s team has ever had a top-100 defense, and it’s never been higher than 59th.

LSU has allowed just 25.7% from beyond the arc, 13th best in the country. No team has a lower effective field goal percentage against. The ShotQuality data from beyond the arc suggests that some regression is coming for LSU defensively, though.

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Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

If you want to be able to hold off LSU, you have to do two things well: prevent turnovers on offense to limit the Tigers’ transition attack and keep them off of the offensive glass. The Bulldogs take care of the ball better than most in the nation, as they rank 54th in turnover rate.

But defensive rebounds will be an issue, given that they are an undersized frontcourt and are 276th in defensive rebounding rate. That’s the one matchup issue that La. Tech needs to overcome here, but otherwise, the Bulldogs do have positive shooting regression coming.

They rank 54th in half-court offensive shot quality, get good looks from both the mid-range and from 3-point range and should be shooting better from deep than they have been this season.

They’ve dipped from 120th to outside the top 250 this year in 3-point shooting despite average returning production. Given how many open looks the Tigers allow, this could be a good get-right spot for the La. Tech shooting.

LSU vs. Louisiana Tech Betting Pick

The market number on LSU as a favorite in this spot is inflated off of the Tigers’ undefeated record and excellent defensive metrics to begin the 2021-22 season. They won’t continue to defend the perimeter this well, as teams begin to sink more open shots against them.

Facing a Bulldogs offense that doesn’t turn the ball over,  LSU will be forced to play more in the half court, and that limits the overall effectiveness of the Tigers’ offense.

Second chance points remain a concern for La. Tech in this game, but the number should be closer to eight than the current 9.5 it opened at in the market.

La. Tech has some 3-point shooting positive regression coming and that should help it stay within this number on a neutral floor on Saturday night.

Pick: Louisiana Tech +9.5 (Play to +8.5)

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