Free College Football Pick: Washington vs. LSU

This Saturday night the Washington Huskies travel to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge to square off against the SEC’s LSU Tigers. The game is slated to get underway at 7 p.m. (EST) and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

The Huskies stumbled down the stretch last season with just two straight up victories in their last seven games and a 2-5 record against the spread, including a wild 67-56 loss to RG III and the Baylor Bears in the Alamo Bowl as 9.5-point underdogs. The total in that game easily went “over” a ridiculous totals line of 80. Washington’s offense was a bit more subdued in last Saturday’s 21-12 season-opening victory over San Diego State as a 15-point home favorite.

LSU’s ride to last season’s BCS title game ended with a bitter 21-0 loss to rival Alabama as a 2.5-point underdog. This was the Tigers lone SU blemish on a 13-1 record to go along with a 10-4 record ATS. They opened this season with a 41-14 romp over North Texas last Saturday but did not score nearly enough points to cover the 44-point spread at home.

Betting Storylines

There is little doubt that Washington’s defense was a bit suspect last season and at times downright awful. During a stretch of three straight losses to Oregon, USC, and Oregon State late last year, this defense yielded a total of 112 points. This was after the Huskies were torched for 65 points in a loss to Stanford.

While you can hardly count San Diego State as a stern test, the fact that the Aztecs managed to score only 12 points is definitely a step in the right direction. The one concern for this game could be the 199 yards the defense did give up on the ground. Offensively, Huskies’ quarterback Keith Price completed 25-of-35 attempts for 222 yards and one touchdown, while Bishop Sankey led the team in rushing with 66 yards and a score.

LSU’s march to last season’s title game was built around a powerful rushing attack and a shut-down defense, so do not look for that formula to change anytime soon. The Tigers held North Texas to just 76 yards rushing last week and were also fairly stingy through the air in holding the Mean Green to 143 yards passing.

The running game picked up where it left off with 316 yards on the ground last week. Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue combined for 264 yards on 19 carries with Hilliard finding the end zone twice. Staying true to form, quarterback Zach Mettenberger was effective in the passing game with 192 yards and one touchdown throw.

Odds and Trends

Pointspread: LSU -23.5
Total Line: 53

The Huskies are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a SU win, but 0-4 ATS in their last four games against a team with a winning record. The total has gone over in eight of their last 11 nonconference games.

The Tigers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a SU win. The total has gone over in five of their last six games out of the conference.

The last time these two teams met was in 2009 with LSU coming away with a 31-23 win as an 18-point road favorite. The total went over the 52-point line.


The Washington defense will no doubt have its hands full with the Tigers’ rushing attack considering the success that San Diego State had last Saturday. This really makes you question the Huskies ability to keep this a three-touchdown game. Add in the fact that this game is in Baton Rouge and you have to stick with LSU to get the win and cover the 23.5 points.

Take: #348 LSU (-23.5) over Washington (7 p.m. Saturday, Sept 8)

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