The No. 7 Alabama Crimson Tide host the No. 4 LSU Tigers on Saturday, November 7 in the most anticipated game in all of college football up to this point. The Crimson Tide have won four straight over the Tigers, including a thrilling 20-13 (OT) win in Baton Rouge last year.
Alabama (7-1, 4-1 SEC) has reeled off five straight wins since losing to Ole Miss at home. But the Crimson Tide had to survive a scare at home last time out against Tennessee in a 19-14 victory. They actually trailed 14-13 late before Derrick Henry came through with a game-winning 14-yard touchdown run with 2:24 to play.
LSU (7-0, 4-0 SEC) has taken care of business up to this point with a favorable home schedule, but it still has tough road trips to Alabama and Ole Miss. The Tigers are coming off a 48-20 home victory over Western Kentucky. Brandon Harris threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns, while Leonard Fournette rushed for 150 yards and a score in the win.
Kickoff inside Bryant-Denny Stadium is scheduled for 8:00 EST Saturday night with CBS providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the lines in Las Vegas, I find Alabama as a 6.5-point favorite over LSU with a total set of 50.5 points.
My Early Lean: Alabama -6.5
The LSU Tigers have been pretty fortunate to get through at 7-0 thanks to a very easy schedule. They haven’t played any of the big boys from the SEC West yet as they still have to play Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. They have also played five home games compared to just two road games. And their two worst performances of the season both came on the road.
Indeed, LSU only won 21-19 at Mississippi State as 3-point favorites in its first game of the season. It was outgained by 41 yards by the Bulldogs in that game as well. The Tigers also only won 34-24 as 23.5-point road favorites at Syracuse in their other road game. Now they will be facing by far their toughest road game of the season against Alabama.
I believe this line is lower than it should be because Alabama only beat Tennessee 19-14 at home last week. But that’s a Tennessee team that I’m very high on. The Vols are the best team in the country that has a record of .500 or worse right now. They could easily be 8-0 with a little better fortune in close games as they’ve blown leads in all four of their losses.
While Alabama has struggled with spread teams at times like Tennessee and Ole Miss, it has dominated physical running teams like LSU. I backed Alabama in both of its wins over Wisconsin and Georgia, which are similar teams to LSU that run the football. Alabama beat Wisconsin 35-17 and outgained the Badgers by 234 total yards. Alabama also beat Georgia 38-10 on the road.
The Crimson Tide may be the best team in the country at stopping the run. They only give up 78 rushing yards per game and 2.6 per carry against opponents that average 168 yards per game and 4.5 per carry.
The Crimson Tide may be the best team in the country at stopping the run. They only give up 78 rushing yards per game and 2.6 per carry against opponents that average 168 yards per game and 4.5 per carry. LSU does not throw the football very often as it averages just 11 completions on 19 attempts for 157 yards per game. I don’t believe Brandon Harris has what it takes to make plays against this Alabama defense, and he’s going to have to to keep it close.
Alabama does have the balance offensively that is going to make the difference in this game. It averages 188 rushing yards per game and 233 passing yards per contest. LSU’s defense is not as dominant as it has been in year’s past. In fact, the Tigers have allowed 19 or more points in all seven games this season. They gave up 28 points at home to a weak Florida offense. They also allowed 428 total yards to Western Kentucky in their last game.
Alabama has owned LSU in the last four meetings, going 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS. While the two games at LSU have been close, the other two ended in Crimson Tide blowouts. They won 21-0 in the 2011-12 National Championship Game. They also won 38-17 in their only game in Tuscaloosa during this stretch in 2013.
LSU is 0-6 ATS in road games after playing a home game over the last three seasons. The Tigers are 0-6 ATS in road games off one or more consecutive wins over the last three seasons. LSU is 5-15 ATS in its last 20 games off three or more consecutive ATS wins. The favorite is 9-4-1 ATS in the last 14 meetings.