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LSU Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Point Spread - Pick

LSU Tigers (6-2 SU, 3-4-1 ATS) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0 SU, 4-4 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 8PM EDT
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TV: CBS

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: LSU +21/ALA -21
Over/Under Total: 49.5

The LSU Tigers come to Bryant-Denny Stadium to face the Alabama Crimson Tide in a big SEC matchup in week ten. Both teams had last week off and that extra rest should come in handy for what figures to be a heavyweight SEC matchup in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. LSU has managed to lift themselves up with three straight wins, which has them ranked again. This would be a huge win this week. Alabama caught a breather after a fairly trouble-free 8-0 start to the season and now looks to pounce. Who can get it done this week?

These games can be pretty competitive between these two teams. Last season, Alabama beat LSU, 10-0. Alabama has won each meeting since 2011 when the Tigers won 9-6, but there have been some major sweats along the way for Nick Saban and his squad. LSU was written off by many after a humbling 24-21 loss to Troy. But they bounced back with two straight conference wins over ranked teams, upending Florida and then top-ten team Auburn. In their last game, they beat Ole Miss on the road, 40-24. Head coach Ed Orgeron, under fire after the Troy embarrassment, has now tapped into something and has the Tigers on the right track.

Louisiana State quarterback Danny Etling has been running this offense pretty smoothly and has been a key part of the team revival over the past month. He has thrown only one pick this season and is making an increased connection with ball-catchers like DJ Chark, RB Darrel Williams, and Foster Moreau. The best part of the offense is the running-game, with Derrius Guice coming off a huge 276 yards rushing against Ole Miss. Williams is also a solid contributor with nearly 500 yards and 5 rushing scores. There are a lot of the same faces from last season that put up a big donut against 'Bama in a shutout loss and they will be looking for better in this season's matchup.

The LSU defense is typically the best part of the team and this season is no different. They won't be the only defense on the field with a gaggle of future NFL players. Their secondary is really top-notch and deep. They really get after it and make a lot of plays, while also being stout in allowing just 173 yards per game. The front-seven is also an impactful part of the team. At linebacker, they get good play from Arden Key and Corey Thompson, who both get after quarterbacks. Up-front, Christian LaCouture and Greg Gilmore have been getting the job done. The one outstanding issue for the purposes of breaking down this matchup is their overall stoutness against the run. They're not terrible in that regard, but even over this latest surge, they haven't been very good at keeping opposing backs in check and that could really materialize in a bad way this week.

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Again, Alabama has had things pretty much their own way, with even their closest-looking scores in games that weren't that close. They are only 4-4 against the spread, but they seem to be growing more-dominant over the course of the season. In four of their last five games, only Texas A&M was able to surpass 9 points of scoring, as Alabama is putting up scores in the 40's, 50's, and even 60's. It's hard to scrutinize dominance, but Alabama is heading into a part of the season where they are facing teams like LSU who are hardened from overcoming adversity, while Alabama hasn't really needed to work that muscle so far this season. What happens when they find themselves in a dogfight against teams that know how to handle that? Again, that could be called a good problem to have.

The Tide offense is averaging 43 points a game. A big part of that is the rushing attack, which averages nearly 300 yards per game. And it's not just the high octane of the run-game, but also the variety of it that keeps opposing defenses looking for answers. QB Jalen Hurts has 9 passing touchdowns against one pick, as the 'Bama offense rarely turns over the ball. Hurts is a monster in the run-game, having run for nearly 600 yards and 6 touchdowns. We've been seeing more of a featured role for RB Damien Harris, who has nearly 700 yards and 10 touchdowns, including some really big performances in recent weeks. Add Bo Scarborough, Najee Harris, and Joshua Jacobs (questionable) to the mix, and that's a lot of different ways this run-game can get you. And the aerial attack is more than mere window dressing, with Hurts able to make the big throws to difference-makers like Calvin Ridley and guys like Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, III., and Cam Sims.

It's hard to say much disparaging about the Alabama defense, as they rank near the top in all pertinent categories. There are a lot of monsters on this "D" and it shows as they give up an average of under 10 points a game. And whereas they were giving up scores earlier in the season, they have become even more-stingy over the past month-plus. They give up fewer than 170 yards per game through the air and are even better against the run, as they are ranked first in the nation in that category. Beyond being stout, they also make a lot of big plays. In the secondary, Levi Wallace has gotten after it, as has S Ronnie Harrison. In the middle, they get big plays from LB Mack Wilson. As far as getting to the QB, Raekwon Davis has excelled, along with Rashaan Evans. Add in blue-chippers like Da'Shawn Hand (questionable), Minkah Fitzpatrick, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Isaiah Buggs, and others and it's clear to see how they're such a dominant unit.

Seeing LSU turn things around paints this in a different light than if this game had been a month ago. The Tigers seem to have happened upon a good formula for success. They still face a lot of issues, namely with an offense that got absolutely nowhere with this Alabama "D" last season. And it's not like the Alabama defense looks like it has ebbed, as they're playing their best football of the season. But a closer look of Alabama's first eight games shows a lot of opponents who were either outmanned or just not in great form at the time they faced 'Bama. I see LSU hanging in there capably enough to get the cover.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the LSU Tigers plus 21 points.Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the LSU vs. 'Bama game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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