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Oklahoma Sooners vs. LSU Tigers Point Spread - Pick

Oklahoma Sooners (12-1 SU, 5-8 ATS) vs. LSU Tigers (13-0 SU, 8-4-1 ATS)
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl – College Football Playoff Semifinal
Date/Time: Saturday, December 28, 2019 at 4PM EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: OKLA -13/LSU +13
Over/Under Total: 75.5

The Oklahoma Sooners battle the number-one ranked LSU Tigers in the Peach Bowl, which is also the CFP Semifinal. In the offing is a spot in the championship game, which would be gigantic for either team. LSU played their last game in this very building, stomping Georgia, 37-10, in the SEC title game to put a cap on a dominant unbeaten season. At 13-0, they now face an Oklahoma team that has won five straight since their only loss of the season, with two wins over a good Baylor team highlighting their run to this spot. In their last game, an overtime win over a scary Bears team, they won the Big 12 title and punched their ticket to the show. Who can deliver the cover in this one?

The Sooners bring a lot to the table and no opponent is really all that safe. Heisman finalist Jalen Hurts has big-game experience and can deliver on this kind of stage. With over 43 points a game, the offense is a whirlwind and can put the hurt on anyone. At the same time, there appears to be some separation from the top three unbeaten teams in the country with Clemson, Ohio State, LSU, and then the Sooners. Those other teams have had close calls, as well, but in losing to Kansas State, along with one-score wins over Baylor (twice), Texas, Iowa State, and TCU, the Sooners weren't that dominant in the second half of the season. Notching just two covers since September attests to where they stand in relation to the other teams in the CFP.

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The offense is where most of the Oklahoma upside can be found for their chances to prevail in this format. Hurts commandeers a stocked offense and he himself has thrown for 3634 yards and 36 TDs, while running for 1255 yards and 18 TDs. He fit into Lincoln Riley's offense better than anyone could have imagined. Some good backs help fill out a powerful run-game, with CeeDee Lamb being one of the best big-game receivers in the country. If looking hard for some criticism, we have seen their point-totals plummet in recent weeks, with their 43-point season average being a total not met in their last six games. And having RB Kennedy Brooks listed as questionable for this game is a concern. Still, it's a balanced unit with a lot of juice in both the run-game and aerially.

Backers of LSU would point to a Oklahoma defense as main cause for their optimism. That's not to say it's a bad defense because it's not. The front-seven is an attacking group, with pass-rushing menace from any number of different sources. And considering the teams they've played this season, they have done fairly well against the pass. That part of their team will certainly be tested in this game. The secondary doesn't make a ton of plays, but they're more robust than the front, which has been exploited by some of the better backs they've faced this season.

It's not going to be easy to point out many weaknesses with LSU after a 13-0 run that had some impressive nuggets on it. Their last game, facing an accomplished and high-ranked Georgia team, they were utterly dominant. A late-season road win over Alabama just confirmed what a lot of people knew—this is a special Louisiana State bunch. At 47.8 points and a nation-leading 554 yards per game, their offense has delivered at a very high level all season, bolstered by a strong playmaking defense that has been clutch late in games. Only Alabama and Auburn so much as managed to be within one score of LSU all season. Only once has this team managed less than 36 points, as consistency has been a big part of the winning recipe for the top-ranked team in the country.

The LSU offense has all the bells and whistles, led by Heisman frontrunner Joe Burrow. On the season, Burrow has thrown for an immense 48 TDs, a staggering 13-game total. Clyde Edwards-Helaire averages 6.5 yards a gallop on 1290 yards and 16 scores. The receiving trip of Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, and Terrance Marshall have combined for over 3200 yards and 42 TDs on the season. Galvanized by big-time beef up front, this group hasn't been easy to stop and it's unlikely that the Oklahoma defense will be able to dial up the recipe that no other teams were able to this season.

There have been some high point allowances this season for the LSU defense, as will be the case when playing in the SEC. Among their lowlights on the season were giving up 38 to both Texas and Vandy, while giving up 37 to Ole Miss and 41 to 'Bama. Allowing a total of 17 points in their last two games against Georgia and Texas A&M shows them to be in fine form heading into this game. Making plays is their strength, especially among the secondary. They have the team sack-leader in safety JaCoby Stevens, who also has three picks, along with Derrick Stingley, Jr. and his six interceptions. I see their beef up-front and an active linebacking corps being major factors against the Oklahoma run-game. But we'll see how well the secondary holds up against Hurts and the Sooner aerial game. Some better offenses have put up yards against this group.

Perhaps the first impression of many when they saw this spread was surprise that it was so big in LSU's favor. A similar spread in the NFL, for example, would only occur with a playoff-bound team against a suffering squad and Oklahoma is far from that. At the same time, it's an understandable spread with how much more-reliable LSU would appear to be in this realm. I see Oklahoma struggling to keep pace with the Tigers in the second half, as LSU covers the big number in Atlanta.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the LSU Tigers minus 13 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Oklahoma-LSU game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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