Not every Week 1 college football game is a massacre waiting to happen, accompanied by a huge point spread. While many teams open their 2013 betting campaigns with a cupcake, others get right into the meat of their season menu. A Top-25 clash between LSU and TCU is one of the best Week 1 battles and is attracting more wagering interest than most games.
The 2013 Cowboys Classic pits the No. 20 Horned Frogs against the No. 12 Tigers Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. LSU, one of six SEC schools among the top dozen betting choices on BCS future odds lists, is currently a 4-point favorite, according to OddsShark.com. LSU finished last season with a 10-3 SU and 5-8 ATS record, dropping regular-season contests to Florida and Alabama and then losing their bowl game to Clemson.
The Tigers lost a fair amount of talent to the NFL draft this offseason, but there is no shortage of elite prospects waiting in the wings. While the defense has been excellent for years, the Tigers are hoping to improve on offense this season under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
LSU's three losses last year came by a combined 13 points; a bit more of a spark on offense could have been the difference. They ride an 8-1 SU (6-3 ATS) road streak into this game. However, they are just 2-7 ATS in nine recent games as a favorite.
The Horned Frogs struggled in their first season in the Big 12 last year, going 7-6 SU and 5-8 ATS. It wasn't just the move to a new conference that led to TCU's struggles.
Losing star QB Casey Pachall to a suspension after a DWI and starting running back Waymon James to injury hurt the flow on offense. TCU still managed to hold its own on defense in the offense-driven Big 12, and with Pachall and James returning this year the offense should be able to help carry the load this season.
While both offenses should be better in 2013 than they were last year, this Saturday's matchup will be all about defense. LSU was 7-5 on the UNDER last season and TCU was 8-4 on the UNDER. Both teams play a strong, physical defense and points should be hard to come by in this one.
With that in mind, the four points could come into play for TCU; Casey Pachall is good enough to make some big plays on offense, and the defense should be able to hold its own against LSU.
The Tigers may eventually grind out the SU win, but look for TCU to keep it close.
PICK: TCU +4.0 | Matchup report