LSU (-4.5) (-110) over Missouri
Analysis: Despite being 14-3 on the season, Missouri continues to be overrated by the oddsmakers as the Tigers are 22-40 ATS in January road games, 1-9 ATS on the road following a conference win and 1-8 ATS versus teams with a winning record. LSU is an extremely well-balanced team that is averaging 75.7 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 71.7 points per game to a mediocre offensive squad. Overall, the Tigers are 4.0 points per game better than average offensively, although Johnny Jones’ squad is averaging 76.1 points per game at home this season.
LSU head coach Johnny Jones did a remarkable job in recruiting to bolster his team’s undersized roster. In fact, Jones’ recruiting efforts resulted in a consensus top 10 class that included five-star McDonald’s All-American Jarell Martin and consensus four-star recruit Jordan Mickey. Both forwards have been nothing short of spectacular in their freshman campaign as Mickey is averaging 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, while Martin is averaging 9.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Every scout agrees that Jones has transformed LSU from one of the smallest teams in the SEC to one of the tallest, longest and deepest.
LSU’s offense, however, revolves around NBA prospect Johnny O’Bryant, who averaged 13.6 points and 8.7 rebounds last year. O’Bryant was a force in conference play last season wherein he garnered 12 of his league-high 15 double-doubles and almost secured a triple-double against Mississippi State. This season, O’Bryant is leading the team with 14.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, and coach Jones’ deserves all the credit for convincing his star forward to remain in college for another year before bolting to the NBA. O’Bryant gives LSU a solid post presence, and the Tigers also possess a veteran backcourt with senior Andre Stringer (12.0 points per game) and junior Anthony Hickey (8.5 points per game).
LSU’s strength remains its defense as the Tigers are allowing just 68.1 points per game to teams that would combine to average 73.9 points per game. More importantly, LSU is 7-2 at home this season where the Tigers are limiting opponents to a mere 62.6 points per game on 36.0% shooting from the field and 28.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Those defensive numbers are certainly good enough to limit a struggling Missouri offense that is shooting 40.8% from the floor and 30.0% from three-point territory over its last five games. Finally, the Tigers should dominate the glass tonight as they are averaging 45 rebounds per game at home this season, including 15 offensive boards. Lay the points with LSU and invest with confidence.