Auburn vs. LSU Odds, Pick & Spread: Week 5 College Football Betting Preview for SEC Showdown

Auburn vs. LSU Odds, Pick & Spread: Week 5 College Football Betting Preview for SEC Showdown article feature image
Credit:

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Smoke Monday (left) and Roger McCreary (right).

  • No. 22 Auburn travels to LSU to open its SEC season.
  • Auburn is coming off a 10-point win vs. Georgia State while LSU defeated Mississippi State on the road.
  • Collin Wilson breaks down the game and offers up his best bet.

Auburn vs. LSU Odds

Auburn Odds +2.5 (+100)
LSU Odds -2.5 (-120)
Moneyline +130 / -150
Over/Under 56.5 (-115 / -105)
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Two SEC West teams in Auburn and LSU meet looking for a statement win, but more importantly, to give alumni, boosters and fans a positive note to start October.

Auburn is fresh off struggles against Georgia State, trailing 24-12 at halftime before opting to bench quarterback Bo Nix for LSU transfer TJ Finley.

The Panthers failed to score in the second half as Finley tallied a 50% Success Rate on 9-of-16 passing. What may be more shocking is that the Tigers’ offensive line allowed 14-of-33 rushing attempts to be stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

Head coach Bryan Harsin responded by firing first-year wide receiver coach Cornelius Williams and being noncommittal in who would be under center for kickoff in Baton Route.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron is also deflecting sentiment of the coaching hot seat after a loss to UCLA in Week 1.

A revenge victory over Mississippi State was a positive turn, as quarterback Max Johnson is now tied with Alabama’s Bryce Young for most touchdown passes in the SEC.

Despite missing cornerback Derek Stingley, LSU allowed no explosive drives and minimal missed tackles against the Bulldogs’ Air Raid offense.

Issues remain in the trench, as the offensive line had 40% of runs stuffed, while the defensive line generated just a single sack and two tackles for loss.

Both Orgeron and Harsin desperately need a crucial SEC West victory in Week 5.


Auburn vs. LSU Betting Preview

Saturday, October 2
9 p.m. ET
ESPN

Auburn Tigers

Auburn Looking for Wide Receiver Consistency

Harsin’s dismissal of Williams is a deflection of bigger issues on the offense.

The new head coach was critical of the wide receiver group after the Penn State loss, citing drops and presnap misalignment.

Shedrick Jackson, Kobe Hudson and Demetris Robertson have combined for 62 targets and just five drops on the season.

Nix has not thrown a touchdown pass in the previous two games while taking on a combined 21 pressure attempts. A clean pocket is crucial for Nix, who has an adjustment completion percentage that falls 40% with pressure.

Finley also dealt with pressure against Georgia State on half of his dropbacks but with a much different result.

Fourth down. Game on the line.

What a play by Auburn backup QB TJ Finley! #SCtop10 pic.twitter.com/FpDvnUPit9

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 25, 2021

Finley compiled two big-time throws and no turnover-worthy plays in the comeback against the Panthers, but the starting quarterback for the LSU game remains undetermined.

Auburn’s advanced statistics do not tell an accurate story of the offense with games against Akron and Alabama State.

But the formula of running Tank Bigsby on the ground and keeping a clean pocket for passing attempts remains key against an LSU defense that leads the SEC in sacks.


Auburn Eliminates Opponent Success on Passing Downs

The Auburn defense has been one of the best in the nation in passing downs, topping the FBS in defending explosiveness. Opponent Success Rate in passing downs hovers around the national average with a low yards per play mark of 5.0 through 94 snaps.

This has been a great combination against teams that look to establish the run, as opponents have been stuffed on 44% of attempts and generated only four runs over 20 yards.

Coordinator Derek Mason presents a multiple front, switching between a 2-4-5 and 4-2-5 depending on down and distance.

The LSU offensive line can expect blitz on at least 20% of snaps, with a large chunk coming on second down after an unsuccessful first down.

Auburn ranks third in Defensive Havoc and 23rd in coverage grading, per PFF. Teams that are unable to stay in standard downs will have persistent issues against the Auburn defense.

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LSU Tigers

The Max Johnson to Kayshon Boutte Connection

The failure of the offensive line and disappointing production from the backfield has led to LSU passing on 43% of snaps.

Quarterback Max Johnson has targeted Kayshon Boutte 34 times this season, twice as much as any other offensive player.

The Tigers’ schedule has included two teams outside the top 75 in Defensive Passing Success Rate with Central Michigan and UCLA, along with a Mississippi State defense that is 120th in defending pass explosiveness.

If there is an emerging target for Johnson, freshman Jack Bech has as many third-down targets as Boutte.

OH MY, JACK BECH! A beautiful one-handed catch in the end zone for LSU. Tigers lead CMU 35-7. pic.twitter.com/KbArTpaCKE

— Jonathan Deutsch (@JonathanD_TV) September 19, 2021

LSU ranks 118th in Rushing Success Rate, as Tyrion Davis-Price averages 2.5 yards after contact. Corey Kiner has shown the ability to create separation in the run game but recorded only four rushing attempts and had missed assignments in pass blocking against Mississippi State.

LSU has been fantastic at converting points in scoring position, but a reliance on the passing game makes the Tigers offense one-dimensional.


Can Tigers Defend the Big Play?

Nix and Finley have combined for 22 pass attempts over 20 yards, as Auburn is expected to flex a passing game despite troubles with the wide receivers.

LSU may be down its best defensive weapon heading into Saturday night.

Orgeron says still no firm update on Derek Stingley Jr. He'll be seeing a doctor this week for another opinion on his foot. #LSU

— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) September 27, 2021

Cordale Flott has posted one of the best coverage grades on the team at the slot corner position, as sophomore Eli Ricks’ efficiency has taken a dip from his 2020 numbers.

The LSU defense is loaded with talent in the pipeline, but there is a large gap in value from Stingley to reserve corners Darren Evans, Pig Cage and Dwight McGlothern.

While coordinator Daronte Jones has fielded a defense that eliminates rush explosiveness and ranks 22nd in Havoc, the biggest issue is a rank of 128th in passing downs explosiveness.

Tackling was a concern for LSU through the first half of the 2019 National Championship run, and the Tigers now face a similar issue with a rank of 62nd, per PFF. Stingley, linebacker Damone Clark and safety Cameron Lewis have been the biggest offenders through the first quarter of the season.


Auburn vs. LSU Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Auburn and LSU match up statistically:

Auburn Offense vs. LSU Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success
9
21
Line Yards
7
14
Pass Success
22
5
Pass Blocking**
28
7
Big Play
24
59
Havoc
10
1
Finishing Drives
18
42
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

LSU Offense vs. Auburn Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success
122
9
Line Yards
118
6
Pass Success
42
103
Pass Blocking**
10
17
Big Play
44
6
Havoc
48
10
Finishing Drives
12
100
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling
23
85
PFF Coverage
19
44
Middle 8
43
36
SP+ Special Teams
14
16
Plays per Minute
56
39
Rush Rate
53.3% (71)
42.9% (119)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Auburn vs. LSU Betting Pick

LSU continues to be one-dimensional on offense with a Line Yards rank of 123rd for the offensive line and no running back creating missed tackles.

Johnson has the third-most passing attempts of all SEC quarterbacks, allowing the Auburn defense to key on Boutte and Bech. Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary is ranked as the fifth-best coverage defender in FBS alongside safety Smoke Monday, who also sits in the top 100.

Johnson has fielded 51 pressure attempts in 134 pass attempts, but it’s the Auburn secondary that presents the biggest challenge to the sophomore.

There are plenty of questions on offense for Auburn, namely who will be the starting quarterback.

The inaccuracy of Nix has been blamed on the wide receiver unit, but a lack of dropped passes dictates otherwise. Finley had an emotional separation from LSU in the offseason but proved against Georgia State that he can have success as an SEC quarterback.

Not only has Finley practiced against key members of the LSU secondary, but the 4-2-5 scheme is also sending blitz on just 9% of snaps.

The Action Network projection makes the game a pick’em with a total of 56.5.

Tempo is not a feature for either team, but both offenses have the advantage when it comes to Finishing Drives.

The LSU front seven should have success in slowing Bigsby down, but the real issue for the Bayou Bengals is giving up explosive plays in Passing Downs.

Combined with an excellent Auburn secondary against a pass-heavy LSU offense, expect Auburn to cover and possibly steal an SEC road win.

Pick: Auburn +3.5 or Better

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