Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0 SU, 6-2 ATS) vs. LSU Tigers (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 8PM EST
Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: ALA -7/LSU +7
Over/Under Total: 47
The Alabama Crimson Tide come into Baton Rouge to face the LSU Tigers in key SEC action. Both teams were off in week nine and should be rested and ready for this big matchup. The defending champion Crimson Tide are 8-0 and have covered 6 spreads this season, as they look good and primed to defend their national title. LSU has been through some stormy passages this season, but have won three in a row and look for a season-defining win this week.
LSU has dealt with some major issues, including the midseason dismissal of coach Les Miles. Ed Orgeron has come in on an interim basis and like he did with USC a few years ago, he has found some success with this bunch. The offense has been better and they're getting some nice results, including a 38-21 win over Ole Miss in their last game. They are nice and dug in at home, having played their last road game back on September 24. This is their fourth straight home game and Tiger Stadium isn't an easy place to play. And at night, it turns into a real bog for opposing teams for some reason.
LSU is averaging over 40 points scoring a game in their last three games, following a period of offensive ineptitude. Leonard Fournette put up 284 yards against the Rebels in week eight and has been giving the Tigers a big boost. Maybe he can make something special happen against the Tide, as he's really been in fine form lately. QB Danny Etling hasn't been a ball of fire, but his performances have been improving, as he is complementing Fournette's production with some nice work in the aerial game. Malachi Dupre and Travis Dural have been seeing more work in the passing game and Louisiana State is turning the corner on this side of the ball.
In LSU's last 4 games, all against SEC opponents, they have given up a combined 56 points. It will be interesting to see how well the Alabama running game does against this group, as they've been pretty robust up-front. On the season, they are only allowing 15 points per game. Any issues they've faced are certainly not tied to the defense. They've been getting a steady pass rush with a cabaret approach, as Arden Key leads the way with 8 sacks. A lot of people had really high hopes for this LSU team heading into this season. A slow-starting offense was a culprit for a 3-2 start, but now they have the ball moving and Fournette is in full-flight, so maybe we need to adjust our perspective of the Tigers. And at home in the biggest game of their season, now would a great time for them to serve notice that people buried them prematurely. This team plays defense and can run the heck out of the ball. On top of that, they've found some good momentum. That's a dangerous package for Alabama.
Alabama had an extra week to focus on this, which could be bad news for LSU. There isn't much you can say bad about 'Bama, after a complete 33-14 week eight win over previously unbeaten Texas A&M. That followed a dominant road win over Tennessee. Other than a scare where they had to come from behind to beat Ole Miss, it's been smooth sailing for the top-ranked team in the nation.
'Bama Quarterback Jalen Hurts has a certain winning look to him. He can use his legs, while he has shown himself to be an efficient passer. At his disposal are aerial weapons ArDarius Stewart, Calvin Ridley, TE OJ Howard, and others. Some injuries in the backfield have led to having any number of backs that can now jump up and get you, with Damien Harris leading the way, along with Joshua Jacobs, Bo Scarbrough, and Hurts. This team averages 44 points a game. And there are different ways they can score.
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The Tide have gotten a big assist from special teams and defense, getting nearly a dozen scores from those sources. They have the most robust pass-rush in the nation. As if that weren't enough, they are also the nation's top defense against the run, giving up just over a scant 70 yards per game. None of that bodes well for the LSU offense. And when an offense makes a miscue, this defense has a way of making them pay dearly for it. The front is dangerous and pressuring, with the back seven very adept at making plays.
This game has a dangerous element to it. Alabama has seen things go pretty easy in recent weeks, as they've also been a good choice at the betting windows. And people may have written off LSU, not totally acknowledging the full scope of their worth. At night in Tiger Stadium is not a time or place where opposing offenses typically thrive. Combined with the stout LSU defense, it might be a bit difficult for 'Bama to cover the number is a tough spot as road favorite. Not that we want to start looking for reasons to go against Alabama, as that has proven to be a costly move this season. I just can't picture the LSU offense really getting untracked this weekend, as I picture Alabama pulling away late for the cover.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Alabama Crimson Tide minus 7 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Alabama vs. LSU game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!