NCAA Football: Central Michigan Chippewas vs. LSU Tigers Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 18, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 7:30 p.m. ET, Sept. 18, 2021
Venue: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
Where to watch: SEC Network (SECN)

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: LSU -19; O/U 61; Moneyline -- LSU -1125, CMU +700
BetMGM: LSU -19.5; O/U 61; LSU -1250, CMU +750
Caesars: LSU -19; O/U 61; LSU -1100, CMU +700

Season record
Central Michigan: 1-1
LSU: 1-1

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Central Michigan - LSU preview and analysis


Recent form
Central Michigan: won 45-0 vs. Robert Morris on Sept. 11
LSU: won 34-7 vs.McNeese on Sept. 11

Clearly nothing has changed for the LSU Tigers since last season. The ghost of Joe Burrow will forever haunt everyone involved.

Which is a shame, because the Tigers should be one of the best teams in the country; not losing to the UCLA Bruins in what has since been deemed the biggest win of the Chip Kelly era in Los Angeles.

One can’t call a win of McNeese an improvement, seeing how the Tigers didn’t even cover, but no one can say a win over the Central Michigan Chippewas on Saturday in Death Valley would even be considered a victory unless LSU covered.

Right now, those within the betting circle are hoping that happens because LSU should not be this inferior. An offense that recently was one of the best in college football should be able to continue that trend, but that has yet to happen. LSU is 0-2 against the spread through two games and enters Saturday’s game favored by almost three touchdowns.

The talent discrepancy is clearly far and wide when comparing an SEC powerhouse, not too far removed from a national championship, and a MAC program that is still finding its way.

But if there’s one person that can claim the familiarity of knowing how to play LSU, it’s Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain. He was 2-1 against the Tigers when he was coaching the Florida Gators.

It’s not meant to be a knock against the Central Michigan players, but their rankings offensively and defensively don’t come close to LSU. And maybe after one game, that could all change. But there’s no reason why LSU quarterback Max Johnson should be struggling against a middle-of-the-run Chippewa defense. But even Herm Edwards said last week against UNLV, they play college football games too and get scholarships. Anything can happen when teams get on the field.

It’s almost like your watch telling you it’s proud of you for standing after a long time of sitting. The only better form of serotonin is winning on the road in a major upset. We’re not likely getting that but it’s fun to dream.

Prediction


LSU is going to win, but the Tigers will not cover. When you have a team you just don’t believe in, take advantage of that as much as you can in the books. LSU will likely pull away in the final moments, but Central Michigan should cover with the points given to them and will put up a fight in Louisiana. LSU by 14

Betting trends


Central Michigan is 15-6 (2-0 this season) against the spread in its last 21 games. As a road underdog, the Chippewas are 4-2 ATS.

LSU is 9-1 straight up in its last 10 games as a home favorite, but only 5-4 ATS.

Players to watch


Central Michigan: The Chips have a talented receiving group at its disposal, but could use a big game from JaCorey Sullivan to play in part to Dallas Dixon. Sullivan has three touchdown this season while averaging 13.6 yards per catch.

LSU: While Kayshon Boutte is having a strong start to the season, the Tigers could use more from Trey Palmer. He’s been a good short-yardage receiver (10 catches, 77 yards), but has only one touchdown.

Statistical leaders


Central Michigan:
Passing: Jacob Sirmon -- 405 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Lew Nichols III -- 214 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Dallas Dixon -- 156 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Troy Brown -- 12 tackles

LSU:
Passing: Max Johnson -- 491 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tyrion Davis-Price -- 68 yards
Receiving: Kayshon Boutte -- 179 yards, 5 TD
Defense: Andre Anthony -- 3.5 sacks

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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