On Saturday night, LSU and Arkansas will square off in Baton Rouge in the battle for the Golden Boot. LSU is coming off a hard-fought loss to Alabama while Arkansas has gotten their season back on track after an October slump.
How to watch Arkansas vs. LSU
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Watch Online: ESPN App
(via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Spread: Arkansas -3 | LSU +3
Moneyline: Arkansas -145 | LSU +125
Picks and Preview
At the end of September, Arkansas was sitting pretty. They were 4-0 and had just beaten Texas A&M in a rather convincing fashion. Then October came. Georgia hammered Arkansas, lost a shootout to Ole Miss, and came out flat against Auburn.
The last two weeks have been better for the Razorbacks. They took care of business against their FCS opponent before squeaking out a win against a ranked Mississippi State team.
LSU...well...you probably know how their season is going. Ed Orgeron is a lame-duck coach, there is a quarterback controversy, and their injury report could fill a chapter or two of a book.
Can Arkansas Start Hot?
As is the case with most teams, Arkansas has been at their best when they get off to a good start. In their signature win against Texas A&M, they made it 17-0 just a couple of minutes into the second quarter. A&M outscored them from that point on, but it wasn’t enough.
Against Auburn, the Razorbacks found themselves down 11 in the first half. A hole they were not able to dig out of.
For most of the year, LSU has not been effective on either side of the ball when they’re in instances where they have to be predictable. Arkansas getting out to a quick lead would force the Tigers into those situations.
LSU simply doesn’t have the personnel right now to lineup and beat teams. They kept the game close to Alabama by being unpredictable and showing some new things, especially on defense.
In a game controlled by Arkansas, LSU would not have the opportunity to do that.
What Will LSU do at QB?
Max Johnson has started every game for LSU dating back to their win at Florida last December. Last week in Tuscaloosa may have been the worst of those starts for Johnson.
The defense and running game put LSU in a position to pull off the upset if Johnson was able to hold up his end of the bargain, something he was not able to do.
Earlier this week, Ed Orgeron said LSU would be giving more time to freshman QB Garrett Nussmeier.
This will likely be the first time Nussmeier sees action in a competitive conference game. He came in in the second half against Ole Miss, but the game was already out of hand by that point.
The Arkansas defense hasn’t been perfect this year and has been susceptible to some big passing plays. LSU’s wide receivers are young, but they are talented. They need to find a way to make some plays and make things easier on the young QB.
Can Arkansas Make Some Big Plays?
Arkansas’s offense this year has been good. They rank in the Top 25 in YPC and YPA and have scored over 30 per game.
Few QB’s in the conference have been better than KJ Jefferson at pushing the ball down the field. He’s got a 122.5 NFL passer rating on throws of more than 20 yards.
The LSU secondary is depleted and reinforcements aren’t coming any time this season. Depending on the health of Dwight McGlothern and Cordale Flott, LSU may still be able to trot out a solid CB duo. But even if they play, they are a little banged up.
If Arkansas can take advantage of that they should be in a position to win this game.
LSU looked good last week. If they play like that again, they’ll win. That being said, I have a hard time believing they’re going to replicate that. Especially because the new wrinkles they showed last week won’t surprise anyone. It’s hard to pick LSU right now given their injuries and QB situation. I like Arkansas, 30-24.