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LSU vs. Kansas State Odds, Picks, Predictions: Your Betting Guide for Tuesday’s Texas Bowl

LSU vs. Kansas State Odds, Picks, Predictions: Your Betting Guide for Tuesday’s Texas Bowl article feature image
Credit:

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Deuce Vaughn (22) and Skylar Thompson (7).

LSU vs. Kansas State Odds

Tuesday, Jan. 4
9 p.m. ET
ESPN
LSU Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+9.5
-106
47.5
-108o / -112u
+310
Kansas State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-9.5
-114
47.5
-108o / -112u
-420
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Well, we only have two college football games left in the 2021 season: the National Championship and the Texas Bowl between Kansas State and LSU in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats finished the regular season with a 7-5 record after dropping their final two games against Texas and Baylor. On the season, Kansas State went 3-5 against teams that made a bowl and 2-2 in one-possession games. Its last bowl appearance came in 2019 when it lost to Navy in the Liberty Bowl.

Meanwhile, LSU comes into the Texas Bowl with a 6-6 record after winning its final two games over Texas A&M and UL Monroe to reach bowl eligibility. The Tigers finished with a 4-6 record against bowl-eligible teams and went 3-3 in one-possession games. Their last bowl also came in 2019 when they won the national title.

From a motivational standpoint, I would assume Kansas State has the edge here.

Head coach Chris Klieman has noted that nobody has opted out of the bowl. The only major change worth noting is that Kansas State will have a new backup running back in addition to a new offensive coordinator. Those play-calling duties will fall to former Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein, who takes over for the recently-fired Courtney Messingham.

It’s also worth noting that fifth-year senior Skylar Thompson is good to go at quarterback after battling injuries throughout the season.

The news is much more abundant on the LSU side, so it’s more than fair to question its motivation here. The Tigers will not only have an interim staff (led by offensive line coach Brad Davis) for this game as they transition from Ed Orgeron to Brian Kelly, but their roster has been decimated by injuries and opt-outs. More on that later.

If you’re curious, after a slow start, the SEC now sits at 5-5 in bowl games, while Big 12 teams have gone 4-2.

COVID-19 news will be the big wild card as it has been throughout bowl season, especially since LSU barely has enough players to clear the minimum threshold required.

As of Monday, all signs point to this game still being played, but that could change even on the day of the game as we saw with UCLA-NC State in the Holiday Bowl. Fingers crossed this doesn’t become the sixth bowl canceled due to the virus.

Let’s take a closer look at each team and then dive into where the betting value may lie in the Texas Bowl.


LSU Tigers

I covered some of the strengths and weaknesses of LSU above, but I’m not sure how relevant some of those relative metrics are based on how many will be missing due to COVID-19 protocols, opt-outs, injuries and disciplinary reasons.

The roster is reportedly down to 44 scholarship players as of this weekend.

Let’s start with the quarterback position. LSU starter Max Johnson transferred and backup Myles Brennan, who went into and then came back out of the portal, won’t be available for this bowl due to injury.

That leaves freshman Garrett Nussmeier, who went 29-of-57 on the season for 329 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

However, Nussmeier would have to burn his redshirt to play in this game unless the NCAA approved a recent waiver request. Interim coach Brad Davis stated they have received the answer on that waiver, but he would not disclose what the decision is. Nussmeier is currently listed as No. 1 on the depth chart, but it looks like he won’t play.

The Texas Bowl is almost here. In this piece we preview:

-The #LSU QB situation with Nussmeier not expected to play
-The depleted secondary and what it means
-Which young players will have chances to make a name (Kiner, Penn)
-The game itself https://t.co/7RpnfJOyXt

— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) January 3, 2022

If the waiver indeed got denied and Nussmeier burn his redshirt, LSU would likely either turn to a freshman walk-on in Tavion Faulk (or possibly Matt O’Dowd) or a wildcat option with wide receiver Jontre Kirklin.

Elsewhere on offense, LSU will be without its two highest-graded players in leading rusher Tyrion Davis-Price (1,000-plus rushing yards) and receiver Kayshon Boutte (only played in six games) in addition to a few other depth pieces at wideout.

Additionally, the depth chart did not feature left tackle Garrett Dellinger.

The defense was hit even harder by injuries and opt-outs. LSU’s best defensive lineman (Neil Farrell Jr.) and linebacker (Damone Clark) both announced they would be opting out of the bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft.

The hits don’t stop there, as the following players also weren’t on the Texas Bowl depth chart:

  • Starting cornerbacks Cordale Flott and Dwight McGlothern (keep in mind star CB Eli Ricks already transferred)
  • Starting safety Cameron Lewis
  • starting linebacker Micah Baskerville
  • starting defensive tackle Glen Logan

The cornerback position is particularly depleted with only three names listed on the depth chart in freshman Damarius McGhee, Nicholls State transfer Darren Evans and walk-on Lloyd Cole.

Evans at least played in five games with 169 snaps, but the other two combined for three total snaps. Not ideal, especially considering projected starting safety Todd Harris Jr. only had 48 snaps this season himself.

A look at how depleted #LSU is for the Texas Bowl.

None of the primary contributors available at CB. Jay Ward the only DB who normally starts. No Damone Clark and Micah Baskerville at LB. Corey Kiner and Josh Williams only scholly RBs. https://t.co/zQJ6nTLgLz

— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) January 2, 2022

Clemson transfer Mike Jones can step in at one of the two missing linebacker spots without much of a drop-off, but the other will be manned by freshman Greg Penn, who barely registered any playing time this year.

Plus, the depth has just been obliterated across the board, so things could get extremely dire with any COVID-19 issues or in-game injuries.


Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State is a methodical, run-first (top-25 in standard down rush rate) offensive attack that leans on star running back Deuce Vaughn, who ran for over 1,250 yards this year at an impressive 5.9 yards per carry.

The offensive line wasn’t great this season, but it should get enough of a push against an undermanned LSU defensive front.

It’s not the most explosive passing attack but is much better off with an experienced Thompson at quarterback, who reportedly will be at 100% health and facing a completely decimated LSU secondary.

LSU did have success getting after opposing quarterbacks on passing downs (8th in Sack Rate in passing downs) but will be without some key pieces as I mentioned — and Thompson’s legs will serve him well to extend plays as needed.

Defensively, Kansas State was very stingy against the run, ranking in the top 15 nationally in both Line Yards and Opportunity Rate. It should control the line of scrimmage against an LSU offensive line that ranked 87th in Line Yards.

The Wildcats, who finished 33rd in Sack Rate, should also create some Havoc on passing downs against a new LSU quarterback and offensive line that ranked outside the top 100 in Sack Rate.

The biggest weakness on this Kansas State team is its secondary. The Wildcats ranked outside the top 100 in both Passing Success Rate and EPA per Pass. However, I’m not sure that’s a major worry for this particular matchup given who’s playing for LSU.

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LSU vs. Kansas State Matchup Analysis

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

Kansas State Offense vs. LSU Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 35 37
Line Yards 22 32
Pass Success 62 69
Pass Blocking** 66 25
Big Play 34 62
Havoc 101 41
Finishing Drives 68 75
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

LSU Offense vs. Kansas State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 110 32
Line Yards 99 37
Pass Success 53 93
Pass Blocking** 19 69
Big Play 34 49
Havoc 57 36
Finishing Drives 43 18
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 115 18
Coverage 75 47
Middle 8 51 99
SP+ Special Teams 70 17
Plays per Minute 127 50
Rush Rate 58.7% (34) 48.6% (104)

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


LSU vs. Kansas State Betting Pick

Those who follow me in the Action Network App know that I played Kansas State +1 early on.

I actually made the Wildcats a small favorite and also assumed LSU would have many more opt-outs with a potential to not really care from a motivational perspective. The quarterback situation was also a major mystery.

A lot of that has come to fruition, as LSU’s roster is a shell of what we saw when fully healthy during the regular season. I also like some of the matchup advantages for Kansas State — which should have success against an LSU run defense that will not have the services of multiple important pieces in its front seven.

On the other side of the ball, I’m not sure LSU can exploit Kansas State’s weaknesses in the secondary with a depleted aerial attack, especially if it’s forced to turn to the wildcat against a Wildcats defense that has excelled against the run.

After adjusting for the current rosters, I think Kansas State should be closer to a 7-point favorite. And if LSU comes out flat, there’s a chance this could get ugly, so I’ll certainly be looking to add to my position if LSU looks lifeless early on.

From a total perspective, I think it’s under 48 or nothing with two teams that don’t move at a quick pace. Kansas State is a complete snail, ranking 120th in the country in Adjusted Pace, while LSU grades out below the national average in that department.

However, with so much uncertainty surrounding the LSU quarterback situation and how it’ll approach this from an offensive scheme perspective, it’s not the easiest game to project. Therefore, I’m personally passing on the over/under.

Pick: Kansas State -5 or better

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