LSU is a massive favorite as Rice comes to Tiger Stadium

Joe Burrow throws a pass under pressure in the first half against Arkansas at Razorback Stadium on November 10, 2018 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Sports bettors are expecting LSU to be a big winner in 2019, and most of that bullishness comes from confidence that the new Tigers offense will take a big step forward this season.

Most over/under predictions for LSU's win total this season are at 9, and if the 12 regular-season games were played today, it would be probable that the Tigers would be favored in all but one: Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 9.

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It's a stark difference from last season, when most oddsmakers predicted LSU would lose as many as five games in what ended up being a 10-3 season with a Fiesta Bowl victory.

"The market is much more confident in LSU coming into this season compared to last year," said Michael Riordan, a business partner at Right Angle Sports, a handicapping service.

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Riordan analyzes LSU's team using an analytics tool, S&P+, which can split between offensive and defensive rankings. LSU's offense is predicted to jump to 15th in the nation in S&P+ after finishing 30th last season.

First-year passing game coordinator Joe Brady has already told viewers to "get their popcorn ready" when it comes to LSU's new no-huddle, run-pass option spread offense, and quarterback Joe Burrow said the Tigers could score 40, 50, 60 points in a game.

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The market has adjusted accordingly, expecting more points, with LSU set as a minus-25.5 favorite over Georgia Southern in its season-opener at Tiger Stadium on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

"LSU may change its offense to include more tempo and passing which could lengthen games and add more plays to allow for the favorite to extend its lead more in games like Georgia Southern," Riordan said.

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But Georgia Southern's shotgun triple-option attack can drain the clock too. The Eagles ranked 27th nationally in 2018 in total time of possession.

So betting that LSU wins by four touchdowns may be more of a bet against the clock than a bet against Georgia Southern's defense, especially if the Eagles offense scores a few times itself.

"Option teams are typically worth consideration as an underdog due to their ability to shorten the game as well as ability to shorten the talent gap between themselves and more talented opponents," Riordan said.

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Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.