No. 4 LSU Tigers (7-0 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. No. 7 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1 SU, 3-5 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday November 7th, 8:00PM EST
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LSU +6/ALA -6
Over/Under Total: 50.5
The biggest game of the weekend will take place in Tuscaloosa this Saturday night when the no. 4 LSU Tigers collide with the no. 7 Alabama Crimson Tide inside Bryant-Denny Stadium in a battle for SEC supremacy. The visiting Tigers are in the thick of the National Championship discussion and are the only undefeated team remaining in the SEC. A Tigers victory would put Les Miles team in the drivers seat with just 3 games to close out the season. However, the Crimson Tide have had their back against the wall ever since their loss to Ole Miss at the beginning of the year. The Crimson Tide have responded with 5 straight impressive victories and they could climb right back into the thick of the National and SEC Championship discussions with a victory at home this Saturday.
These LSU vs. Alabama games have been great matchups over the last several years. Alabama has had the upper hand winning the last 4 but they have all been tough hard fought games by both teams. Considering the implications, this Saturdays game may be the biggest meeting in recent memory. LSU is riding on the coattails of superstar running back Leonard Fournette who is clearly on his way towards a Heisman Trophy barring any significant changes. Fournette has amassed 1,352 yards with 15 touchdowns through his first 7 games which is on pace for more than 2,000 yards and close to 30 touchdowns. The sophomores rushing numbers have been astronomical behind an LSU offense that focuses heavily on the ground game.
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This Saturday LSUs offense will face their biggest challenge of the season against an Alabama defense that ranks 3rd in college football against the run. The tough Crimson Tide defense has given up just 78 yards per game. Obviously LSU is not going to back off of their game plan that consist of running the football with Fournette. However, it will be interesting to see if the Crimson Tide defense has the ability to bottle up Fournette since no other defense has been able to accomplish that feat this season. If that happens, LSU quarterback Brandon Harris may be called on a bit more in this must-win situation for both teams. Harris has thrown 9 touchdowns without a single interception this year but LSU has never had to rely on his throwing ability. Rather Harris has benefitted from teams targeting Fournette and the run game. If Alabama has success stopping the run, it will be interesting to see how Harris responds when those roles are reversed.
Interestingly Alabamas offense is designed with a heavy focus on the run. The Crimson Tide have an outstanding running back in Derrick Henry who has already eclipsed the 1,000 yard barrier and has 14 touchdowns on the season. Since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, he has put an enormous amount of effort towards recruiting excellent offensive lineman and talented running backs to build his offenses. Alabama still has that same pedigree of offensive talent that yields one of the best rushing offenses in the country. In fact, LSUs style of play is very similar in approach which is another reason these LSU vs. Alabama match-ups are usually so good. These teams share identities with great tailbacks, big offensive lines, and outstanding play on the defensive side of the ball.
I think Alabama has the advantage in terms of flexibility on offense. Quarterback Jake Coker has developed into a good passing quarterback this season and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has opened the playbook up quite a bit since the start of the season. If these game goes back and forth in favor of the defenses, I like Alabamas ability to draw up isolation passing situations and simply call shots down the field. A few big plays could easily decide the outcome of this game and Alabama appears to be the team most suitable to pull off the big plays with their ability to throw the football down the field. Of course LSU will only need to throw the football in the instance Alabama is able to stop Fournette on the ground and that is the biggest question leading to this Saturday nights contest.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Safe play here will be the under 50.5. I think this game has the makings of a 23-17 type outcome. I lean towards LSU and the points on the side. However, I still think the best play is the under. Take the under 50.5!
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