New Mexico at LSU (-31½), 6:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN+
Over/under: 45; Money line: n/a
This line has moved up from its opening number of LSU -29½, almost immediately jumping to the key number of 31 and now ticking up another half-point in the past day or so.
Handicapping a spread that big can be tricky under any circumstance, but it doesn’t help in this case that we have almost no trends to peruse.
This is the first time LSU and New Mexico have ever played, as you might have heard; it’s also just the second time the Tigers have ever played a school from the Mountain West Conference. The first was in 2019, when the Tigers covered as 27½-point favorites against Utah State. (LSU also played San Jose State in 1999 and Fresno State in 2006, when both were still in the Western Athletic Conference.)
The Tigers did manage to cover the closing 44½-point spread against Southern two weeks ago (though if you bet on the Tigers early at -49, Southern’s late field goal sunk you), which was their first cover against a spread of more than 30 points since 2014.
In any case, the oddsmakers don’t expect the Lobos to score much here. A 31½-point spread with a total of 45 gives us an implied score in the neighborhood of 38-7. In other words, if you’re gutsy enough to bet on this one, you’re putting your faith in the LSU defense.
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