#8 Tennessee (4-0) faces #25 LSU (4-1) in a duel between ranked SEC squads. The rejuvenated Volunteers utilized their bye last week to heal minor injuries, practice fundamentals, and prepare for this matchup.
LSU, on the other hand, narrowly defeated unranked Auburn 21-17 after being down 17-14 at halftime. QB Jayden Daniels only managed 80 passing yards on 8 completions; those numbers must significantly improve to keep pace with Tennessee.
Will LSU defend their stadium and extinguish Tennessee’s undefeated season? Their odds to do so are found below, as well as picks and predictions.
Tennessee vs. LSU Odds
The Tigers enter this game as underdogs with the spread currently sitting at +3 LSU. It will be worth monitoring whether it settles at +2.5 or +3.5 LSU. The over under is substantial at 65 total points – one of the larger marks this week. Both teams have a viable moneyline, as LSU can be had at +125, while Tennessee resides at -145.
Tennessee vs. LSU Prediction & Pick
The best bet in this matchup is taking Tennessee to cover the spread. Their bye week allowed them ample time to prepare, and they will be far fresher than an LSU squad coming off an extremely physical game against Auburn.
Through their up-tempo offense, Tennessee is averaging 365 passing yards and 559 total yards per game – both marks lead the nation. Dual-threat QB Hendon Hooker is a big, physical player who can take off running and force missed tackles or fight through contact. LSU linebackers must spy him all game to ensure he doesn’t pick up first downs with his legs.
However, Hooker’s arm is the biggest concern for LSU. In his 22 20+ yard attempts, Hooker has produced 446 yards, 4 touchdowns, 7 big time throws, and 0 turnover worthy plays (per PFF). His connection with WR Jalin Hyatt (23 rec, 325 yds, 3 td) will test LSU’s secondary all game, and it’s only a matter of time before Hooker finds him for a huge gain.
Although WR Cedric Tillman is doubtful, the Volunteers still wield Bru McCoy (3rd ranked receiver in 2019 recruiting class) and former four-star Ramel Keyton. LSU possesses a stingy secondary, but it will be difficult for the Tigers to seriously limit Tennessee’s passing offense. Plus, they must handle Tennessee’s one-two punch of RB Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small.
On the defensive end, Tennessee’s strength is defending the run. They are allowing 98 rush yards per game on 2.9 yards per rush and rank 29th in PFF’s run defense. This doesn’t bode well for an LSU team that heavily utilizes their rushing attack to drive down the field.
The Tigers rank 104th in PFF’s passing offense, and QB Jayden Daniels averages a mere 183 passing yards per game. They face a feeble Tennessee secondary, but LSU cannot be thrilled about having to match Tennessee’s offense by throwing the ball. Overall, despite the clear defensive advantage, it’s probable that LSU fails to go drive for drive with Hendon Hooker and Tennessee. It will be a one score game entering the 4th quarter, and I expect the Volunteers to take this game by 6-10 points.
Tennessee vs. LSU Key Matchups
LSU Linebackers vs. QB Hendon Hooker
For LSU to limit Tennessee’s explosive offense, it’s imperative that they turn Hooker into a one-dimensional quarterback. LSU’s secondary will be fighting for their lives every play, so allowing Hooker to scramble for easy yards significantly increases their burden. Given Hooker’s frame, LSU linebackers also must wrap up and effectively tackle without assistance. If Hooker routinely breaks free for even six yards, it may be too much for LSU’s defense to overcome.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) September 24, 2022
Tennessee Secondary vs. LSU Receivers
PFF grades Tennessee’s coverage as 118th of 131 in the nation, and they recently allowed Florida to throw for 453 yards. Their linebackers have been constantly exploited, and receivers have burned their cornerbacks. They now face an LSU receiver core that contains a plethora of athleticism, speed, and ability to separate. If Tennessee’s coverage can be even average in this matchup, then it’s unlikely LSU keeps this game within 10 points.
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 18, 2022
- Washington St vs USC Prediction
- Purdue vs Maryland Prediction
- Louisville vs Virginia Prediction
- Ohio St vs Michigan St Prediction
- Auburn vs Georgia Prediction
- Iowa vs Illinois Prediction
- Texas vs Oklahoma Prediction
- North Carolina vs Miami Prediction
- Texas A&M vs Alabama Prediction
- Tennessee vs LSU Prediction
- Washington vs Arizona St Prediction
- TCU vs Kansas Prediction
- BYU vs Notre Dame Prediction
- Michigan vs Indiana Prediction
- Oregon vs Arizona Prediction
- Utah vs UCLA Prediction
- Nebraska vs Rutgers Prediction
- Houston vs Memphis Prediction
- Texas Tech vs Oklahoma St Prediction
- Florida St vs NC State Prediction
- Clemson vs Boston College Prediction