Citrus Bowl Odds: LSU vs. Notre Dame Betting Pick, Analysis

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2017

FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2017, file photo, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly walks on the field before an NCAA college football game against Miami in Miami Gardens, Fla. The game between No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 20 Stanford may not carry the pomp and circumstances of some previous meetings, but it does give Irish coach Brian Kelly his latest chance to complete an elusive mission: beat a ranked team on the road. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

It's almost hard to believe but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are just 4-12 over their last 16 bowl appearances, including a bad loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl two years ago. Notre Dame shoots for a better result when it takes on the LSU Tigers in the Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day in Orlando, Florida.

College football point spread: The Tigers opened as one-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 31.9-29.9 Tigers (College football picks on every game)

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Why the LSU Tigers can cover the spread

The Tigers only sat at 3-2 heading into October, following embarrassing losses at Mississippi State and at home to Troy. But LSU sucked it up and won six of its last seven games, including a victory over SEC divisional champion Auburn, with the only loss over that span coming against CFP qualifier Alabama.

So the Tigers are playing in a bowl for the 18th straight season.

LSU actually outgained Alabama that night 306-299. However, a Danny Etling interception, the only turnover of the game, led directly to one Tide touchdown, and a key dropped pass kept the Tigers from making things close near the end.

LSU outgained eight of its last nine opponents and outrushed each of its last five foes. It's also 6-0 ATS in its last six times out.

Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread

The Irish started 8-1 this season, with wins over Boston College, Michigan State, eventual Pac-12 champion USC and North Carolina State. Their only loss during that span came on a late field goal against College Football Playoff qualifier Georgia. Notre Dame then laid an egg in a bad loss at ACC divisional champion Miami, beat Navy, then finished the regular season with a 38-20 defeat at Pac-12 divisional champion Stanford.

So the Irish are back in a bowl after missing out last season.

Notre Dame actually led the Cardinal 20-17 going into the fourth quarter, but gave up the last 21 points of the game. On the evening, the Irish outgained Stanford 415-328, but lost the turnover battle 3-0, which basically resulted in a minus-17 points differential.

Notre Dame outgained seven of its last eight opponents and outrushed eight of its last 10 foes.

Smart pick

Notre Dame might own a short edge on offense, but LSU owns the edge on defense. In matchups like this, the better defense is usually the better bet. The smart money here takes the Tigers.

College football betting trends

The total has gone over in three of Notre Dame's last four games in the postseason.

Notre Dame is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games in January.

LSU is 6-0 ATS in its last six games.

All college football odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.