LSU at Alabama Pick – Week 11 Game Analysis
No. 1 LSU Tigers (8-0 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0 SU, 4-4 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday November 9th, 2019. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
Point Spread:LSU +6/ALA -6 (SportBet)
Over/Under Total: 65
The game that everybody has been waiting for will take place this Saturday when top-ranked LSU travels into Tuscaloosa for a showdown with the no. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide in a battle of the unbeaten. No. 1 vs. No. 2, SEC powerhouse vs. SEC powerhouse, the Saban dynasty vs. the sleeping giant, with SEC and College Football Playoffs implications on the line. Does it get much bigger than this? Not only is this Saturday’s meeting between LSU and Alabama the game of the week, but it may also be the most anticipated game in years with weeks of build-up leading to an inevitable showdown between the top two teams in college football.
The Tigers and Crimson Tide have been on a collision course for weeks. LSU has knocked off 3 top 10 opponents en route to their undefeated 8-0 record and leapfrogged Alabama in the rankings during that stretch. Meanwhile, Alabama has not faced the same level of competition but has been thoroughly dominating blowing out every opponent by a minimum of 18 points. Many still feel like Alabama is the no. 1 team in the country, and perhaps the debate will be settled this weekend. The Crimson Tide have long ruled the SEC under Nick Saban and have represented the SEC West in 4 of the last 5 SEC Championships. The Crimson Tide are currently 6 point favorites to continue that dominance on Saturday, but that historic run may be in jeopardy.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa Injury Update
The biggest storyline heading into this Saturday’s colossal showdown includes the health of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Largely considered the top quarterback in college football, Tagovailoa suffered a high ankle sprain three weeks ago in a 35-13 victory over Tennessee. Tagovailoa missed Alabama’s dominating win over an inferior Arkansas team after undergoing a tightrope surgery to expedite the recovery timeline. While Alabama did not need Tagovailoa against the Razorbacks, they definitely need their star quarterback against the likes of LSU in this highly touted contest.
Unfortunately, Tagovailoa’s status will not be known until potentially minutes before the kick-off as Head Coach Nick Saban has listed his star quarterback as a game-time decision. Tagovailoa has shared snaps in practice this week with backup Mac Jones meaning the Crimson Tide will be prepared with either quarterback. However, Mac Jones does not have the same type of elite-level talent when compared to Tagovailoa. Therefore if Tagovailoa does sit, which would personally be surprising, Alabama’s chances of winning drop significantly. As a result, the injury watch should be given some critical focus as the week progresses because it could have a significant impact on how this game unfolds.
LSU vs. Alabama breakdown
On paper, this match-up is incredibly even. Alabama averages 506 yards of total offense (338 pass/168 rush) while LSU averages 535 total yards (377 pass/158 rush). Both defenses are compiled of NFL talent. The Crimson Tide have been better holding opponents to 15.3 points per game, but LSU has faced the tougher competition yielding just 20 points per game. I personally believe LSU’s secondary matches up well against the speedy receivers from Alabama that consist of DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs III. It is always challenging to stop Alabama’s passing attack, and that is why the Crimson Tide have dominated nearly every opponent.
However, the Tigers have the best talent to match-up against Alabama’s offense. If Mac Jones ends up being the quarterback, I highly doubt Alabama can sustain their production through the air. If Tagovailoa indeed plays, you have to wonder if he will be 100% and can keep plays alive with his feet like we are used to seeing. I just don’t like the odds of things working out for the Crimson Tide in this offensive match-up. I am more confident with LSU maintaining their rushing attack with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and then putting the ball into the hands of red-hot quarterback Joe Burrow who is completing nearly 80% passing with 30 touchdowns and just four picks. Alabama has yet to face a really good quarterback this year, and I believe they are going to have trouble in this match-up. I feel like LSU is a little better on both sides of the ball and expect their offense to continue to make plays down the field against this Alabama secondary on Saturday.
LSU vs. Alabama betting trends
LSU has been one of the top betting teams in the country going back to the end of 2018. The Tigers are 7-2-1 ATS in the last ten games and have an even better road mark covering the spread in 8 out of the previous ten road games. LSU is also 13-4-1 ATS in their last 18 games against SEC opponents. Meanwhile, Alabama has been more balanced going 4-4 ATS on the season and has hit the over in 5 of the previous 7 games against SEC opponents. Alabama is also 4-1-1 ATS against LSU over the last six meetings.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I know the uncertainty of Tagovailoa provides a convoluted narrative, but I really believe LSU is the better team either way. I am expecting the Tigers to pull an outright victory. The points are just extra. Take LSU +6
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