Les Miles and LSU are underdogs on the road Saturday at Auburn.
Who’s the best dual-threat quarterback in college football? It very well could be Auburn’s Cameron Newton.
Newton and the fifth-ranked Tigers face a huge test as they host No. 6 LSU Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (PT).
Both teams are 7-0 as they battle for first place in the SEC Western Division. The winner will be the lone unbeaten SEC school. LSU last opened 7-0 in 1973.
Auburn is a six-point favorite with the college football betting total at 52. LSU is 4-2 ATS under Les Miles when taking points on the road. The Tigers are 13-5-1 ATS as a ‘dog of between 3 ½ and 10 points. Auburn is 2-6 ATS when favored in the 3 ½-to-10-point range.
LSU has won the last three in the series, including 31-10 last year as 7 ½-point home favorites. The combined 41 points went ‘under’ the 49 ½-point total.
Auburn has a great offense ranking sixth in the nation in scoring and ninth in total offense.
LSU’s strength is defense where the Tigers rate No. 1 in the SEC in total defense and No. 2 in scoring defense giving up 14.4 points per game.
Nationally, the Tigers are third in total defense and 11th in scoring defense. The Tigers are holding foes to an average of only 2.4 yards per carry on the ground. LSU may have the best cornerback in college in Patrick Peterson.
LSU, though, hasn’t gone against a quarterback the caliber of Newton, who not only tops the SEC in rushing with 860 yards but also is No. 1 in the conference in passing efficiency.
Newton has accounted for 25 touchdowns rushing and passing. Thanks to Newton and his experienced offensive line, Auburn is No. 1 in the SEC in total offense (481.1 yards per game) and scoring (40.7 points per contest). Darvin Adams is Auburn’s leading receiver with 23 receptions for 419 yards.
Newton accounted for four touchdowns while rushing for 188 yards and throwing for another 140 in the Tigers’ 65-43 victory last Saturday against Arkansas as 3 1/2 –point home favorites. The combined 108 points flew ‘over’ the 59 ½-point total.
Auburn set a school mark for points in a conference game, yet was outgained by Arkansas, 566-470. Auburn is 1-6 ATS after covering the spread in its previous game.
LSU had only two touchdowns and led by just six last week against McNeese State, a non-‘board’ team, before breaking out late in the third quarter to win, 32-10, as 41 ½-point home favorites. The combined 42 points went ‘under’ the 55-point total.
LSU, which alternates Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee at quarterback, ranks 92nd in the country in total offense. The Tigers are 70th in scoring averaging 26.7 points per contest. Jefferson and Lee have each thrown two touchdown passes, while having a combined eight throws picked off.
Jefferson threw for a career-high 242 yards and accounted for three touchdowns in last year’s win over Auburn. The Tigers scored their only touchdown with only three seconds left to make the final slightly more respectable.
Steven Ridley leads LSU in rushing running for 687 yards and scoring six touchdowns.
Auburn ranks 63rd in total defense. The Tigers are yielding an average of 24 points per game, 66 percent completions and have given up 13 touchdown passes.
The ‘under’ has cashed in five of Auburn’s last six games. The ‘under’ also has cashed in eight of the past 10 meetings between LSU and Auburn.
The home team is 9-1 in the series, 6-3-1 ATS.
The early weather forecast is for clear skies with temperatures in the 70s and a slight wind.