Bookmaker – Mad Hatter Striking Back at LSU

Bookmaker handicappers must re-evaluate the LSU Tigers and once beleaguered head coach Les Miles, who has a much cooler seat these days at Baton Rouge.

Scary but Great Start
The LSU Tigers have leaped out of the gate with mark of 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread and have beaten Vanderbilt and an upstart Mississippi State team in Southeastern Conference play so far.

The opening game against North Carolina in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome was another matter however.  LSU entered the game as 7.5-point favorites as the North Carolina squad was decimated with suspensions and ineligibility issues.  The Tigers took a 30-10 lead in the 2nd quarter which they held into the 4th before nearly blowing the game as they needed a goal line stand at the gun to stop UNC on 4 downs and escape with a 30-24 win. 

Negative Preseason
Miles was the butt of jokes and a lot of criticism over the summer as many fans recalled bizarre losses to the online bookmaker last year including a catastrophe against Ole Miss in which Miles botched clock management at end of the game when LSU was in field goal range before time expired without getting off the attempt.  A loss to North Carolina may have done Miles in but LSU survived and now is thriving and ranked #12.

Saban’s Shadow
LSU won the 2007 BCS title with Miles but has struggled at Sbg since then as they have operated in the red for 3 consecutive seasons despite going to bowls each year.  In the eyes of LSU fans Miles pales in comparison to his predecessor Nick Saban, who now coaches at BCS champion Alabama and who has defeated Miles in their last 2 meetings.   Miles even gets criticized for his title because it is said to have been with Saban’s recruits.

A Big Winner
But Miles has won big at LSU despite all of the bookmaker criticism.  He also deserves credit for coming up brass in 2007 with several huge 4th down gambles that earned him the moniker of “The Mad Hatter.”  Miles is one of the most successful coaches in LSU history, where success is expected but is not guaranteed as many failed coaches there can attest too.

Stout Defense
LSU is impressing the online bookmaker with a defense that is ranked 6th in the country for points allowed.  But they do have miles to go before they can sleep in the ultra competitive SEC.