Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Arkansas vs LSU Preview: LSU to win and cover

I've done previews for several other big games, and LSU hosting Arkansas calls for another so here goes.

Everyone should know what is riding on this game.  If LSU wins, they are off to the SEC title game and if they win will be an undisputed #1 and likely a big favorite in the BCS title game.  Even if LSU loses they could still get to the BCS title game based on the strength of their entire season.  If Arkansas wins, then all confusion breaks loose as trying to figure out who goes to the SEC title game let alone the BCS title game becomes confusing.

For those wanting less confusion, LSU is favored, most, my computer included, believing they are the better team, and they are at home to boot.  My computer has LSU #1 with 93.979 ratings points vs Arkansas at #6 with 84.288 points.  But let's look at details starting as always with the performance charts.

LSU has been more consistent as can be seen by their green dots being closer to their current rating, and has done so against stiffer competition (70.977 vs 68.821).  However, Arkansas has played 3 teams rated 78 or higher while LSU has only played 2.

Arkansas is rated lower due to an easier schedule plus not dominating the competition like LSU has.  However, their 10 point home win against a 3-7 Troy is the bad result that is part of the reason they are #6 and not higher.  But my computer doesn't put too much weight in that result (small size of the green dot) and instead the Ole Miss and Vanderbilt games are what are hurting them.  The 5 point win over a 2-9 Ole Miss was not impressive nor was a 3 point win over a 5-6 Vanderbilt.  Simply winning these games with a 10 point larger margin would move Arkansas up to #4 in my computer right behind Oklahoma State.

Their common opponents are:
  • Alabama - Arkansas lost 38-14 on the road and LSU won 9-6 at home.
  • Auburn - Arkansas won 38-14 at home LSU won 45-10 at home.
  • Mississippi - Arkansas won 29-24 on the road and LSU won 52-3 on the road.
  • Tennessee - Arkansas won 49-7 at home and LSU won 38-7 on the road.
  • Mississippi State - Arkansas won 44-17 at home and LSU won 19-6 on the road.
From these, LSU would seem to have a clear advantage, particularly since Arkansas will go on the road where they haven't done as well.

Factoring all the games in, the computer predicts an LSU win by 12.7 and is pretty confident in that pick putting it a 93%.

But what about the spread?  The spread as of now is LSU by 12 so Vegas agrees with the computer, but the computer likes LSU a bit more so the pick would be LSU giving the points.

Enjoy the game!