The top ranked LSU Tigers put their perfect season at stake vs. the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday in the Georgia Dome. This may seem odd when talking about an SEC Championship, but this game may actually be anticlimactic with everyone eagerly anticipating the LSU vs. Alabama rematch in the National Championship Game.
Now, there is no question that LSU is the better team here and the Tigers should win by at least two touchdowns if they bring their maximum effort. That is the biggest key to this contest for both sides though.
LSU has been installed as a (-13½) favorite with the total set at 46.
1. Why LSU will cover the spread: LSU must feel conflicted here, as yes they want to win the SEC Championship, but a win by any margin puts them in the National Championship Game, so there is no reason to run up the score here and risk injuries to key players in the process. LSU will cover this spread if it opens up a big early lead, something that would be much easier to do if fully motivated for this game. LSU will also cover more easily if it is able to run the ball vs. a Georgia run defense that is allowing only 94.9 rushing yards per game on 3.0 yards per carry. LSU has been able to run the ball on every team that it has faced though, including rushing for 148 yards vs. Alabama, so we do not see the Bulldogs shutting down the Tigers running attack.
2. Why Georgia will cover the spread: Now many people including ourselves feel that the National Championship Game is already set and that even an LSU loss here would drop them no lower than second in the final BCS Standings, keeping the rematch with Alabama intact. Georgia will cover this thread if LSU treats this game as a tune up, possibly even resting key players if the Tigers have a lead in the fourth quarter, leaving the backdoor wide open. Motivation aside, Georgia will also cover this spread if it can out gain LSU overall, just as the Bulldogs have outgained every single opponent during their current 10-game winning streak.
3. Total Talk: We think this game will be somewhere in between, meaning that LSU will not consciously run up the score, but the Tigers are so good that they can still win by 20 points while basically running out the clock in the fourth quarter while eagerly anticipating the NCG. That makes this total very tricky. We would like the ‘over’ at this posted total of 46 if we knew for certain that LSU would go full throttle from start to finish. As it is, we have just the slightest of leans toward the ‘over’.
4. Betting Trends for the game: One reason why LSU is the best team in the country is because it is 7-1 ATS vs. teams with winning records. LSU is also on an 8-0 ATS run after allowing less than 275 yards in its previous game. Now, Georgia is 8-2 ATS during its 10-game winning streak, but the Bulldogs are on an 0-6 ATS run as underdogs.