Bad news for NCAA Football betting lines fans out of fall camp at LSU, which is going to have to rely heavily on its defense this season with what looks to be very shaky quarterback play — even though the Tigers have one of the nation’s best running backs in Leonard Fournette.
How Much of a Loss To LSU’S NCAA Football Odds is Jalen Mills’ Injury
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) August 19, 2015
Tigers starting safety Jalen Mills is going to miss 4-6 weeks with a fractured fibula. Mills has been a mainstay of the Tigers’ defensive backfield since he was a freshman, starting at cornerback and nickel corner before moving to safety during his sophomore season. He has played in 39 games, starting every one, and was the team’s leading tackler last season. Mills was the team’s seventh-leading tackler with 62 stops last year and has 186 in his career. In his career, he has six interceptions, 13 passes broken up and three sacks.
LSU opens at home with McNeese State on Sept. 5 then plays at Mississippi State a week later before hosting Auburn at Tiger Stadium on Sept. 19. The best-case scenario would put Mills back in action the week of the Mississippi State game and in the worst case he would miss that game and the Auburn game, and return for LSU’s trip to Syracuse on Oct. 3.
LSU won’t have a problem beating McNeese State in Week 1, but the following week LSU plays Mississippi State on the road. Mississippi State hung 34 points on LSU in Baton Rouge last season (the Bulldogs’ first win at LSU since 1991), and that was with Mills.
From Going to the NFL Draft to the Injury List
Mills turned down an opportunity to enter the NFL draft last season, returning to join what’s expected to be the Tigers’ strongest unit. Junior Rickey Jefferson will likely step up to take Mills’ place in the lineup while junior Corey Thompson also should become part of the mix. Thompson missed all of last year and redshirted after surgery on his knee the year before.
Jefferson, the brother of former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, has played 20 games with one career start. He played in all 13 games last season and compiled 23 tackles, two interceptions and one pass breakup. LSU’s secondary may be the best of any position group. Jamal Adams, a preseason All-American, is set to start at the other safety spot. Tre’Davious White, a preseason All-SEC player, starts at cornerback. There is an ongoing battle at the other cornerback spot between Dwayne Thomas, freshman Kevin Toliver and sophomore Ed Paris.
Still, this is not ideal for new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. He replaces John Chavis, who left for Texas A&M. This setback in the backfield puts more pressure on the front seven to create a pass rush and stop the run against these dynamic offenses until Mills returns to action.
LSU has a wins total of 8.5 on NCAA football odds this season with the under a -120 favorite. The Tigers are +800 to win the SEC title and +2500 to win the national championship.