No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1 SU, 2-5-1 ATS) vs. No. 19 LSU Tigers (7-2 SU, 7-2 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date and Time: Saturday November 8th, 2014. 8:00PM EST
Where: Tigers Stadium Baton Rouge, L.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ALA -6.5/LSU +6.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
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The 6th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are still in the thick of the SEC Championship and College Football Playoffs picture. The bad news is the Crimson Tide have the hardest schedule of any team in the country remaining with matchups against no. 1 Mississippi State and no. 3 Auburn in the Iron Bowl on the horizon. However before those games arrive, Alabama must survive an equally tough road trip this Saturday night as they go into Baton Rouge for a showdown with the no. 19 LSU Tigers.
Despite some early season struggles, the Tigers are still 7-2 SU and 7-2 ATS on the season. More importantly they are extremely tough when it comes to night games in Baton Rouge. Two weeks ago the Tigers knocked off no. 3 Ole Miss in a 10-7 slugfest under the lights Baton Rouge. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace had a terrible game and later stated this is the craziest place I have ever played in reference to the hostile atmosphere at Tiger Stadium. The win over Ole Miss improved coach Les Miles record at night inside Tigers Stadium to a jaw dropping 46-3 SU throughout his tenure in Baton Rouge.
Therefore Alabama has quite a challenge this week as they look to stay alive in the SEC West. If you compare both teams, the Crimson Tide obviously have the edge on both sides of the ball. The defense is giving up just 14.0 points per game which ranks 2nd in the FBS. The offense has statistically been one of the best groups ever under Coach Nick Saban averaging 36.5 points per game. In fact this years offense under offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, has been a lot more reliant in the passing attack than past Alabama football teams thanks in large part to quarterback Blake Sims.
Sims has been great behind center hitting 65% of his passes for 2,034 yards with 15 touchdowns and 3 picks. The Crimson Tide quarterback has also added 250 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. Of course Alabamas backfield is still extremely loaded with talented tailbacks T.J Yeldon and Derrick Henry who have combined 1,148 yards and 9 touchdowns. Still, it is the passing offense that has really propelled the offense this season. WR Amari Cooper is having a Heisman Trophy type of season with 71 catches equaling 1,132 yards and 9 touchdowns through the first 9 games of the year. LSUs defense has been pretty stout against the run this year but Alabamas passing attack could be the difference in this game if they can continue to make plays down the field.
LSUs defense has yielded just 15.9 points per game this season as the 4th best scoring defense in the country. It is the LSU offense that has struggled for the most part. The Tigers were held to just 7 points in the loss to Auburn and were dominated by Mississippi States defense for 3 quarters before a late 4th quarter rally closed the gap. Even if you go back to the Ole Miss victory, the offense only managed 10 points and most would agree they will need much more scoring to knock off Alabama this week.
Rest assured Les Miles recipe this Saturday night will feature the running attack which is nothing new out of the playbook. The Tigers wore down Ole Misss extremely talented defensive front and finally punched in a touchdown in the 4th quarter to get the victory over the Rebels. However it was the consistent running attack throughout the game that finally wore down the defense and that is something that LSU will attempt again this week against Alabama. The Tigers likely have the most talented running back stable in the country with Kenny Hilliard, Terrence Magee, and freshman Leonard Fournette. The 3 backs combined for 47 carries and 250 yards against the Rebels top ranked defense two weeks ago and that is how they will attack Alabama for 4 quarters of play this Saturday night.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like LSUs chances this Saturday night but would like to see the line get to +7 if possible. However the best play of this game will be on the under once the total is released. This has a 17-14 type of score written all over it. Take LSU +6.5 and consider a play on the under.