No. 13 LSU Tigers (7-2 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0 SU, 5-3 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date and Time: Saturday November 9th, 2013. 8:30PM Eastern
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LSU +11.5/ALA -11.5
Over/Under Total: 45.5
Illustrious SEC rivals collide in another pivotal showdown this Saturday when Les Miles takes the no.13 LSU Tigers into Tuscaloosa to battle the no. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Typically this annual Louisiana St. and Bbama meeting carries National Championship implications yet the Tigers have already suffered two losses this season which has evaporated any championship hopes. Still, Coach Miles' ball club has a chance to shake up the SEC West and possibly end Alabama's run at a historic making 3rd straight National Championship with an upset this Saturday night.
Interestingly the odds seem to be stacked against the Tigers. Not only is LSU about to embark into hostile territory against the top team in the country but odds makers currently have the Tigers listed as 11.5 point underdogs as well. Not only is the point spread the largest margin Louisiana State has faced since 2006, but Alabama has now been favored in 7 straight games against LSU in this heated rivalry. The Crimson Tide has been the thorn in Les Miles' side over the year and have had the upper hand winning the last 3 games against the Tigers dating back to the 2012 BCS National Championship Game.
To make matters worse, Nick Saban's Crimson Tide football team appears to be playing their best football. Since their 49-42 win over Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide defense has not given up more than 10 points in a single game. On the contrary, the offense has scored at least 45 points in each of their last 4 games giving Bama an average victory of 42.5 points over the last 4 games. Obviously those numbers have been against bottom tier SEC talent but still impressive nevertheless.
The Crimson Tide offense remains a run heavy unit behind tailbacks T.J Yeldon and Kenyan Drake. Yeldon has been the workhorse averaging 6.3 yards per carry but both tailbacks have racked up more than 1,200 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. As a team, Alabama averages 210 yards per game on the ground (26th in FBS). The Tigers have been very unimpressive on the defensive side of the football and it will be interesting to see if they have anything to stop the powerful Alabama rushing attack.
LSU, who typically has one of the best defenses in all of college football, has been just mediocre ranking 50th against the run allowing 148 yards per game. Luckily the Tigers offense has been much better this season with the emergence of quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The LSU quarterback has been solid completing 65.4% of his passes for 2,492 yards with 19 touchdowns and just 7 picks. The emergence of LSU's passing offense has made the Tigers a balanced attack with the talented threat of running back Jeremy Hill in the backfield. Hill has already posted 922 yards with 12 touchdowns this season and is averaging an impressive 7.2 yards per touch. Obviously this LSU offense will face the best defense they have seen this season, but they now have the weapons to trade punches with Alabama which is something they have not possessed in the last couple meetings.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I believe LSU's defense is the missing link heading into this Saturday night's game. The Tigers gave up big point totals to Georgia, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. Not to mention LSU gave up 16 points in the first half in their most recent outing against Furman two weeks ago. I believe Alabama will have another big offensive outing and put another big number up against the LSU defense. Alabama -11.5 is the play in this game and I also like the 'over' once the total is released for similar reasons. Expect the Crimson Tide to score early and often which will force LSU into a desperate offensive pace. As a result, do not expect any 9-6 type scores that you may be accustomed to from these LSU vs. Alabama games in the past.
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