Guess who's heavily favored now?
After busting betting lines as the underdog against Miami and Auburn, LSU is now getting respect from bettors. The No. 6 Tigers are a consensus minus-20.5 point favorite over Louisiana Tech going into Saturday's game at Tiger Stadium.
"If LSU had played Louisiana Tech in the season opener, the Tigers likely would have been favored by about 17 points," said Michael Riordan, a business partner at Right Angle Sports, a handicapping service. "The fact that they're now minus-20.5 — despite this being somewhat of a flat spot since it's wedged in between SEC games — speaks highly of LSU's on-field performance to this point."
LSU's market perception has clearly improved relative to what it was in the preseason, Riordan said, now that the team has quelled some of the concerns about its offense — especially at quarterback.
Miami was a -3.5-point favorite in the season opener, which LSU won 33-17 after jumping out to a 33-3 lead. Then, Auburn was a minus-10.5 point favorite. LSU, which won 22-21, would have covered whether or not Cole Tracy made his game-winning kick.
"LSU massively outperformed expectations in both games and suddenly seems like a better team than originally thought," Riordan said.
But what about the respect for Louisiana Tech?
The Bulldogs are 2-0 and belong to Conference USA, which includes a North Texas team that beat Arkansas 44-17 last week.
"Louisiana Tech is a team we still don't know much about," Riordan said. "They beat a mediocre South Alabama team and then FCS Southern. Those wins don't really tell us anything, and the fact that they're undefeated is irrelevant to the equation. Teams are rated based on their perceived skill level, not on won-loss record or conference affiliation. So, the fact that North Texas beat Arkansas doesn't really change our thinking of Louisiana Tech."
Clearly, perceived skill level is fluid. And for now, it favors LSU. But some die-hard LSU bettors might be a little disappointed their lines are now inflated.
It's a whole different sort of bandwagoner — one that hopes it's on its way to the bank.