LSU-Washington Odds

Seattle, WA - A disappointing 2008 season has LSU primed for a bounce-back year, and coach Les Miles' team is feeling optimistic behind a confident quarterback and new defensive coordinator.

Bet College Football Week 1

There is also a hopeful feeling in Seattle, where the 11th-ranked Tigers open their season Saturday against Washington as the Huskies try for their first win in 21 months in Steve Sarkisian's debut.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL have made LSU -17.5 point spread road favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 88% of bets for this game have been placed on LSU -17.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

Coming off a BCS championship the previous year, the Tigers (8-5) couldn't even meet the .500 mark in SEC play last season, thanks in part to instability at quarterback and a defense that often struggled.

Jarrett Lee took most of the snaps last season and threw more interceptions (16) than touchdowns (14). Jordan Jefferson took over late and allowed LSU to regain its dominant form in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, completing 11 of his first 12 passes as LSU beat Georgia Tech 38-3.

"People talk about ( Florida's Tim) Tebow and people talk about ( Mississippi's Jevan) Snead in our conference, but people are going to look at Jordan," offensive lineman Ciron Black said. "They're going to know what type of quarterback he is before it's all over, said and done."

Jefferson, who also has scrambling ability, will anchor what should be an exciting Tigers offense, especially with freshman Russell Shepard involved.

The versatile Shepard, technically the backup quarterback, will take some of Jefferson's snaps as LSU employs a wildcat formation at times. He could also appear in other spots on offense.

"We'll play him at quarterback. We'll play him at wide receiver and possibly running back," Miles said. "What he does with his feet certainly makes him special. He has great ball skills. He can catch it. He can throw it. We give him a limited menu with throws, but he'll have the opportunity to do those things.''

The top priority for LSU may be improving on defense. The Tigers allowed more than 30 points five times last season, giving up more than 50 each time in losses to Florida and Georgia.

The team hopes it has addressed that problem with the addition of defensive coordinator John Chavis, who had held the same position at Tennessee since 1995.

"I think the enthusiasm, the attention to detail and the want to get to the ball (has changed)," Miles said. "To me, I think our players had an existing culture and got used to playing dominant football on defense, and I think John Chavis instills that in them with how he coaches. What kind of difference? Hopefully extreme."

Sarkisian, the former offensive coordinator for Pete Carroll at USC, will be trying to implement extreme changes for the Huskies (0-12) after their dismal final season under Ty Willingham.

Washington has lost 14 straight games since a 37-23 win over California on Nov. 17, 2007.

"It hasn't been all about the physical nature of play," Sarkisian said of his initial months with the program. "It's been about changing the mindset, the culture, the way we think, the way we act, the way we talk, the way we walk. And it's been fun to watch this progression happen."

The Huskies may have extra motivation against the Tigers and Miles, although the LSU coach chose not to revisit his comments from 2007, when he jokingly referred to Washington, Stanford and UCLA as "real juggernauts" in the process of criticizing USC's Pac-10 schedule.

" Washington has not had success last year, but that was last year," Miles said this week. "Really, the truth is they have talent. They had a great recruiting class. Their quarterback (Jake Locker) is back healthy, and the likelihood is they will be a much-improved Pac-10 team. And we will have to play well and execute to do what we want to do on the West Coast."

A healthy Locker will be crucial as Washington tries to begin the improvement process. The junior had 14 passing touchdowns and rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 13 more scores as a freshman in 2007, but broke his thumb Sept. 27 against Stanford and missed most of last season.

"One of the things coach has told us, is the past is the past, and you can't do anything about it," Locker said. "I don't know if it's up to us to prove that we are not last year's team, but to show we are a new team, that there is a new attitude and a new way we do things around here."

Locker likely won't run as much as he has in the past in Sarkisian's offense, but the coach gives Washington's offense instant credibility after he worked with Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC.

To turn the program around, the Huskies will also have to improve their defense. Washington opponents averaged 38.6 points last year, fourth-worst in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

This will be the farthest LSU has traveled to play a game in the history of the program, but the Tigers have had success in non-conference play lately, winning all 19 games outside of the SEC since Miles took over in 2005.

The teams' only previous meeting was a 40-14 LSU home win in 1983.

Betting Trends:
LSU is 5-14 ATS (-10.4 Units) when playing on a Saturday over the last 3 seasons.

LSU: 8-2 Over 1st 2 weeks of season

WASHINGTON is 1-11 ATS (-11.1 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.

WASHINGTON is 1-11 ATS (-11.1 Units) in all lined games over the last 2 seasons.

WASHINGTON is 1-9 ATS (-8.9 Units) as an underdog over the last 2 seasons.

WASHINGTON is 9-22 ATS (-15.2 Units) in a home game where the total is between 49.5 and 56 since 1992.

WASHINGTON is 5-15 ATS (-11.5 Units) in a home game where the total is between 52.5 and 56 since 1992.

WASHINGTON is 1-11 ATS (-11.1 Units) when playing on a Saturday over the last 2 seasons.

WASHINGTON is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) in games played on turf over the last 2 seasons.

WASHINGTON: 1-11 ATS last season
Key Player Injuries:
LSU

No significant injuries.

WASHINGTON

No significant injuries.

Bet College Football Week 1

Posted: 9/1/09 9:59PM ET

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