LSU vs. Alabama Odds & Picks
LSU Tigers (11-5 SU, 6-10 ATS) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (14-4 SU, 11-6-1 ATS)
When: Wednesday, February 3, 7 p.m.
Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Point Spread: LSU +8.5/ALA -8.5 (Get the best odds >>> Why bet games at -110 odds when you could be laying -105? Doesn’t make sense to not bet cheaper and save $$$!)
Last Time Out:
LSU lost 76-71 to Texas Tech; Alabama lost 66-61 to Oklahoma.
About the Matchup:
No, there’s nothing wrong with your calendar: there really is a basketball game in Tuscaloosa that’s worth watching and betting. It’s been a while since Alabama was worthy of national at-tention on the hardwood, but the Crimson Tide have been one of the hottest teams east of the Mississippi River, ripping through nine consecutive SEC opponents and having won 10 straight overall until they ran into an equally-hot Oklahoma squad.
Nobody’s talking about LSU in the same breath, but the Bayou Bengals have quietly moved themselves into a tie for second place in the SEC with a respectable 6-3 mark. However, LSU might be a bit of a paper tiger, as it’s mostly feasted on the bad teams in the conference with-out getting any good wins. The only team LSU’s beaten who might finish in the top half of the conference is Arkansas, and while the Bayou Bengals gave a credible effort at Florida, they also found a way to lose by double digits to Kentucky and took a 30-point loss to Alabama when the teams met in Baton Rouge. Can LSU prove it’s actually as good as its record suggests here?
Scouting the Tigers:
LSU nearly had the signature win it needed to make its profile impressive to the selection com-mittee, as it had No. 13 Texas Tech down seven points with just a minute to play over the week-end. Somehow, the Red Raiders, one of the slowest teams in the nation, scored 12 points in the final 60 seconds to turn a sure win into a devastating loss.
Instead of a wave of momentum, the Tigers come in with questions about whether they can replicate what they did for 39 good minutes against Texas Tech. Namely, the big difference be-tween what they did against the Red Raiders and what they did against Alabama in their first meeting was get a big game out of Javonte Smart. Against the Red Raiders, Smart was dyna-mite, hitting 12-for-18 and scoring 29 points. Against Alabama, Smart managed just 12 points, and while running mate Cameron Thomas hit for 21 points, he also turned the ball over five times.
LSU doesn’t have the defense needed to slow down Alabama, so the best thing the Bayou Ben-gals can do is not waste their own possessions with turnovers and missed shots. Twelve turno-vers aren’t terrible, but the Tigers can’t get away with shooting anywhere close to 38 percent again if they want to keep this close.
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Scouting the Crimson Tide:
Nate Oats should have a more focused team on his bench in this game after Alabama put itself in an early hole and never got out of it against Oklahoma. The Tide had absolutely no business losing to the Sooners with Oklahoma down two starters. Still, Alabama opened the game with five turnovers and allowed the Sooners to build their mindset into thinking they could win with-out their best players.
Of course, with the way John Petty Jr. and Joshua Primo shot against the Sooners, the turnovers were far from Alabama’s only problem. The Tide didn’t play as fast as they wanted in Norman, only getting off 54 shots for the game, and when they did shoot it, Petty and Primo were a combined 4-for-14 from the field. Alabama’s game is built on putting up points and doing it quickly, and when a team gets the Tide out of its comfort zone, it’s tough for them to adjust. However, the tempo shouldn’t be a problem against LSU as these are two of the top 80 teams in the nation in terms of speed.
Mentality. Where is LSU’s mentality after the way the Tigers lost the game to Texas Tech? Winning that game could have been a huge boost to their mindset as well as their profile, but instead, they managed to blow the game in about the worst way possible. After a game like that, it can be difficult to impossible to get yourself ready to play another top-quality team, as there’s a real chance that the ending of that game could have broken LSU’s spirits.
Alabama, on the other hand, comes in after its own setback, but the Tide are more likely to be angry than upset after the way they started the game against the Sooners. There might have been a worry about complacency if Alabama had won against Oklahoma, given that the Tide won this matchup by 30 in Baton Rouge, but after losing that game because they came out flat, there’s little chance that Alabama doesn’t take this game seriously.
LSU will Cover If:
The Tigers can actually hit their shots. Alabama is one of the only teams in the nation that can both run and defend (Gonzaga is the only other team in the country to rank in the top 20 in both defense and tempo), so even though LSU will get plenty of shots, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be good looks. It would behoove LSU to slow the game down a bit and make sure that they’re getting good looks because taking 74 questionable looks at the basket as they did in the first meeting is just playing into Alabama’s hands.
Alabama will Cover If:
The Tide can take care of the basketball. LSU’s defense is somewhat suspect, but with how fast Alabama plays, there’s always the worry that the Tide might stop themselves by trying to push the tempo a little too hard and turning the ball over. As long as Alabama is ending its posses-sions with shots and not turnovers, the Tide shouldn’t have too many problems here.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
I’m not impressed with LSU and its record right now. There’s a reason that the Tigers are barely on the right side of the bubble despite being 11-5, and it’s because their only good win of the season was at home over Arkansas. They’ve only won twice away from home and beating Mis-sissippi, and Texas A&M is nowhere near the same league as beating Alabama.
Any team that can go up to Lexington and lose by double digits to what John Calipari has put on the court this year is in major peril trying to go into Tuscaloosa and win — and that’s before you throw in that Alabama should be in a foul mood after giving away what would have been a glittering road win over the weekend. I don’t see the Tide having any problems here. Bet your college hoops pick FREE this week by taking advantage of a 100% real cash signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $1000 at BetNow! Ginormous bankroll booster!