There’s no other way for me to say it, but right now, I’m thinking the 2016 Citrus Bowl could turn out to be the most exciting bowl game on the entire 2016 docket. The 19th-ranked LSU Tigers and 16th-ranked Louisville Cardinals will both look to get a season-ending victory when they square off in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on December 31st.
The annual postseason contest will get underway on Saturday, Dec. 31, live from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida and will air live on ABC. Now, let’s find out if Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson can lead the Cardinals to the win as 3-point underdogs.
College Football 2016 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Tigers (7-4) At Cardinals (9-3)
When: Saturday, Dec. 31 at 11:00 AM ET
Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Live Stream: ABC Live Stream
NCAAF Odds: LSU -3 / Total: 59.5
The Cardinals are (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS) dropped their final two regular season games and come into the Citrus Bowl off a humbling 41-38 loss against mediocre Kentucky in their finale. This season, the Cardinals have beaten Wake Forest, Boston College, Virginia, Duke, NC State, Marshall, Florida State, Syracuse, and Charlotte.
Offensively, Louisville is averaging a stellar 45.3 points per game to rank first in scoring nationally as Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 57.6 percent of his passes for 3,390 yards with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Jackson also rushed for a team-high 1,538 yards and 21 touchdowns while running back Brandon Radcliff added 877 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Wide receiver James Quick hauled in 42 passes for a team-high 688 yards and six touchdowns. The Louisville defense is giving up 23.3 points per game to rank a respectable 34th in points allowed. Keith Kelsey has led the Cardinals defense with 81 tackles and one sack.
The Tigers (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS) alternated SU wins and losses over their final five games, but come into this contest off a statement-making 54-39 blowout of Texas A&M in their regular season finale. This season, the Tigers have recorded wins against Texas A&M, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Missouri, Mississippi State, and Jacksonville State.
Offensively, LSU offense is putting up 28.2 points per game to rank 67th in scoring nationally as quarterback Danny Etling has completed 60.0 percent of his passes for 1,906 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Running back Derrius Guice has rushed for a team-high 1,249 yards and 14 touchdowns while fellow back Leonard Fournette, who is questionable for this contest, has rushed for 843 yards and eight touchdowns.
Wide receiver Malachi Dupre caught 34 passes for a team-high 454 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, LSU has been phenomenal in limiting the opposition to just 16.4 points per game to rank a stellar sixth in points allowed. Kendell Beckwith has led the LSU defense with 91 tackles.
Expert ATS Pick & Final Score Prediction
I’m going to get right to the points with my pick on this intriguing matchup by saying that you should go along with the 62 percent of public bettors that like Louisville and unstoppable quarterback Lamar Jackson to cover the college football betting line.
LSU is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games, but just 1-4 ATS in their last five bowl games. Conversely, Louisville is 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral site games and 15-4 SU in their last 19 games overall. LSU has a ton of talent on its roster and plays in the toughest conference there is, but Louisville has an unstoppable player in Lamar Jackson and the Tigers often struggle to score the ball. I like the Cardinals to cover behind a fantastic effort from Lamar Jackson.