Alabama (9-0), -3.5, O/U at LSU (6-2) Death Valley, Baton Rouge, L.A., 3:30PM Eastern, Saturday
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Alabama grabbed the number 1 ranking in the nation last week and they will have a tough battle to maintain that top ranking this weekend. The Crimson Tide is undefeated this season but they go on the road in the SEC to square off against an aggressive LSU team in a hostile environment. Anyone who follows the SEC knows how hard it is to win on the road in this conference and Alabama will be faced with a big test this Saturday.
LSU is the defending national champions of college football. While they will not repeat as Champions, they could definitely spoil Alabamas chances of winning a championship. The Tigers come in off a 35-10 win over Tulane a week ago. LSU is at their lowest ranking they have seen since October 2006 at number 15 in the nation. The Tigers have been superb at home over the years going 23-2 SU in Death Valley in their last 25 home games. LSU will be ready to deliver their best shot to the Crimson Tide this Saturday.
Alabama is led by one of the best defenses in the nation. The Crimson Tide defense is ranked no. 4 in the nation in total yards holding teams to 251 yards per game and no.2 in rush defense only allowing 65 yards per game on the ground. Alabama will try to take advantage of an LSU offense who has struggled at times this year. The Crimson Tide has a very balanced offense that can beat you by running or passing. This could very well be the biggest game left for Alabama in the regular season and they need be at their best to win.
LSU has averaged 32 points per game this season and a little over 400 yards of total offense every time out. Those numbers are ranked in the top 35 of the nations best. The Tigers have found a lot of support from tailback Charles Scott. Scott is a junior who is averaging 6.7 yards per carry tallying up 889 yards on the season. Scott is averaging 111 yards per game and has put together 11 touchdowns so far this season. The ability for LSU to be affective rushing the ball has made it much easier for the entire offense. QB Jarrett Lee has had a fairly solid season throwing for 1427 yards with 12 TDs. However, Lee inexperience has shown throwing 10 picks this season as the sophomore continues to mature as a college quarterback. The strong rush offense of LSU will be ultimately challenged by one of the best rush defenses in football. The effectiveness of the LSU offensive line will play a huge roll against the defensive front from Alabama.
Alabama QB John Parker Wilson had led the Tide this season. While Wilson has not had to throw the ball a bunch, he has been very effective in key situations this season. Wilson has completed 60% of his passes this season for 1400 yards and 8TDs. Wilson is a senior who shows great leadership to the offense and he is big part of the Alabama success. Another big reason for the Crimson Tide success is the tremendous rushing attack. Tailback Glen Coffee has racked up 894 yards this season along with 7 TDs while backup Mark Ingram has seen plenty of carries for 533 yards and 8 TDs. Alabama is effective running the ball no matter who is in the backfield and as a team they are averaging 205 yards per game on the ground. The big part of the Alabama success is they have been able to establish the running game all season and also be very affective through the air once defenses come up to play the run.
Sportsbook.ag has opened the line favoring the no. 1 team by 3.5 points. The over/under for the contest has been set at 47.5 points. Moneyline numbers have Alabama posted at -165 and LSU at +145. A note to keep your eye on when considering the over/under in this game is in the last 6 seasons the LSU vs. Alabama matchup has only went over 42 points once.
The big objective for Alabama in this game will be shutting down the LSU offense early. Alabama will find ways to score but the defense has to be sound as it has been all season. The quicker the Tide can get on top of the Tigers the quicker they can take the home crowd out of the ball game. Alabama could be in position to have a great game defensively if LSU QB Jarrett Lee continues to throw interceptions.
LSU on the other hand must control the football. They need to absolutely minimize turnovers and find away to move the ball through the air as it will be very difficult to establish the run first. If the Tigers can complete some passes early, the rushing game will open up. LSU defense must be solid and hold strong. This defense has been good all year long with the exception of the Florida game and if they play well they will have a chance to win.
Betting trends - Alabama is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games. The total has gone on the under in 4 of the last 5 for the Crimson Tide. LSU is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games and as previously mention 23-2 in their last 25 in Death Valley. LSU has gone on the over total in 4 of their last 6 games. Alabama is also 6-1 ATS in their last 7 trips to LSU.
Jays Pick - Something is telling me to stay away from this game this week, so Im going to pass on a pick.