The opening lines at most sportsbooks have LSU as a 7.5-point favorite in its Fiesta Bowl matchup with UCF, with one book favoring LSU by 10 points.
LSU is 6-6 against the spread this season, while UCF is 9-3 against the spread.
UCF hasn’t been the favorite in postseason games over the past five years.
UCF was a 15-point underdog against Auburn in the Peach Bowl last year, but won 34-27. UCF was a 3.5-point favorite in the 2016 Cure Bowl against Arkansas State, and lost 31-13. UCF was a 16.5-point underdog against Baylor in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl, but won 52-42.
The last time UCF was favored in a postseason game was in the 2014 St. Petersburg Bowl against North Carolina State. The Knights were a 2-point favorite, but the Wolfpack won, 34-27.
LSU’s bowl history over the past five years suggests that the favored team ends up winning.
LSU was a 1-point underdog in last year’s Citrus Bowl to Notre Dame and the Fighting Irish won 21-17. In LSU’s Citrus Bowl against Louisville, the Tigers were 3-point favorites. LSU beat the Cardinals, 29-9.
In the 2015 Texas Bowl, LSU was favored by 7 against Texas Tech and won 56-27. LSU was an 8-point favorite over Iowa in the 2013 Outback Bowl, and won 21-14.
The one game going against that trend was the 2014 Music City Bowl. LSU was favored by 8.5 over Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish won, 31-28.
LSU games from 2008-12 were a crapshoot, though.
LSU was a 6.5-point favorite in 2012 over Clemson, but the Bayou Bengals came up short, 25-24. The 2012 national title game had the Crimson Tide favored by 2.5, and LSU lost 21-0.
In 2011, LSU was a 1.5-point favorite over Texas A&M and won, 41-24. The 2008 Peach Bowl against Georgia Tech had the Yellowjackets 4-point favorites. LSU won 38-3.
The New Year’s Day Citrus Bowl in 2010 was spot on, as Penn State was a 2-point favorite and beat LSU, 19-17.
LSU kicks off against UCF in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 at noon CT.