Ole Miss vs. LSU Prediction, Pick Against the Spread, and Latest Odds

Ole Miss vs. LSU prediction, betting pick, and odds breakdown from college football expert Matt Hayes. Can LSU surprise Ole Miss and cash two upsets in a row? What's the best bet for this SEC matchup? Find out below.
Matt Hayes
Mon, October 18, 9:34 AM EDT

Ole Miss vs. LSU Prediction, Pick Against the Spread, and Latest Odds

Spread: Ole Miss -10.5

Total: 75.5

Game Time: Saturday, October 23, 3:30 p.m ET

Where to Watch: CBS

Ole Miss vs. LSU Odds

Ole Miss Rebels vs. LSU Tigers - Out of the Tunnel

The storylines are delicious, each impacted by what happens on the field this weekend in Oxford:

  1. Lane Kiffin’s future.
  2. Ed Orgeron’s future, post-LSU.
  3. Matt Corral’s Heisman Trophy candidacy.

Orgeron was fired as coach at LSU on Sunday but was allowed to finish the season. He says he wants to sit out a year and, among other things, “eat a hamburger” -- but added that “you never know.”

Leading the Tigers to a couple of upsets – including this game against Ole Miss – might change his mind if another Power 5 school with deep pockets is interested in a former national championship coach.

Kiffin has resurrected his coaching career over the last five seasons at FAU and Ole Miss. More specifically, the previous two years by reshaping an Ole Miss program in the meatgrinder SEC after just 16 games. The next step: a signature win.

Although LSU isn’t the same SEC power of years past, this is an opportunity for Kiffin to show his coaching chops – with LSU athletic director Scott Woodward in attendance. Kiffin is a likely candidate for the LSU job, and another Heisman performance from his quarterback (Corral) and a big win might be the perfect moment to leave in Woodward’s mind as he leaves Oxford.

As much as Kiffin loves Ole Miss, he can’t turn down an opportunity to coach one of the top five jobs in college football – if it’s offered.

When LSU Has the Ball

One of the reasons Orgeron was fired: LSU had lost its way offensively. Before last week’s upset of Florida, the Tigers were 127th out of 130 FBS teams in rushing.

Then it all clicked against Florida. Tailback Tyrion Davis-Price had 288 yards in five previous games. He had 287 yards and three touchdowns against the Gators.  

The offense played with better rhythm and tempo, and the passing game benefited from Florida desperately attempting to stop the run. It all translated to 49 points – despite LSU missing the nation’s best wide receiver, Kayshon Boutte, who sustained a season-ending injury a week earlier.      

This offense isn’t exactly the run-pass option Orgeron envisioned when he hired offensive coordinator Jake Peetz (on recommendation from former LSU offensive coordinator and current NFL OC Joe Brady). LSU works some RPO plays into the scheme, but QB Max Johnson isn’t as efficient as former LSU star Joe Burrow in Brady’s offense. Then again, who could be?       

The offensive line has dealt with numerous injuries and was a reshuffled mess against the Gators – and still played its best game. So maybe the offense has simply figured it out, or perhaps they’re all motivated by playing for Orgeron.     

Either way, they’ll play a shaky Ole Miss defense that hasn’t really stopped anyone in the SEC in Kiffin’s tenure – until last week. The Rebels’ defense slowed down Tennessee’s fastball offense and held it to 26 points. The Vols had scored 107 points in their previous two SEC games.

When Ole Miss Has the Ball

Corral is making a legitimate push in the Heisman race, with impressive performances and highlight-reel plays.       

The offense not only runs through his arm (1,728 yards, 14 TD, 1 INT) but more so of late, his legs with the zone-read option and scramble plays. Corral leads Ole Miss in rushing (487 yards, 8 TD), and last week against Tennessee, he threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 195 yards on 30 carries.      

Ole Miss ran 100 plays against the Vols, and Corral touched the ball 68 times. In 7 out of 10 plays, Corral either threw the ball or ran it. That’s what LSU can expect this weekend – or a souped-up version of what it saw from Florida when the Gators had 42 points and 488 yards despite three turnovers.       

If Tail-Backs Henry Parrish Jr. and Snoop Conner are healthy, Ole Miss can take some pressure off Corral to be a one-man show. However, the more he has run over the last two games, the more his completion percentage has dropped.       

Ole Miss won both games (Arkansas, Tennessee), but the passing game hasn’t been as effective. Ole Miss’ ability to drive the ball downfield in the passing game has been hurt by the loss of No.1 receiver Jonathan Mingo, who broke a bone in his foot three weeks ago and is out indefinitely.       

Braylon Sanders has deep speed but has to be more consistent. He’s averaging 23.8 yards per catch but has all of five catches in the last three games. He must become a legitimate, consistent option for the passing game – this week, against an injury-depleted LSU secondary down two cornerbacks and two safeties -- to return to the way it worked in the first month of the season.

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Ole Miss vs. LSU Prediction - The Bottom Line

The great question: how much longer can LSU continue to play for Orgeron and ride that emotion? Typically, it doesn’t last long – and it ends ugly.  

But Orgeron has been through a similar situation, though not as a lame-duck coach. He took over at USC when Kiffin was fired five games into the 2013 season and led the Trojans to six wins in eight games.      

Ole Miss will stress the LSU defense much like Florida did, and the Tigers’ only recourse is running the ball and dictating tempo – and hoping for a couple of stops on defense (or a turnover).

The Score: Ole Miss 38-35

Ole Miss vs. LSU Pick: LSU +10.5 (-110)

 

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