Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Alabama Crimson Tide at LSU Tigers Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 11/6/2014
Alabama Crimson Tide at LSU Tigers, Saturday Nov. 8, 8 p.m. ET
On Oct. 4 it seemed like this game was doomed to mean nothing - or at least far less than these matchups typically have during the Nick Saban era. On that day Alabama lost at Ole Miss, and LSU was absolutely crushed by Auburn for their second loss of the season. Both teams were knocked out of the playoff picture - LSU permanently, and Alabama at least for the moment. With time, though, things have stabilized and this game again matters.
Alabama has looked like their old selves the last couple of weeks and now sits in fifth in the CFP rankings - just one spot outside of a coveted spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff. With games against Mississippi State and Auburn - two of the four teams currently inside of the playoff - looming Alabama controls their own destiny. They just need to keep winning. For LSU, this is the last game of any substance - only Arkansas and Texas A&M remain. They aren't going to win their division in all likelihood, but they have a grand chance to play spoiler here - and to send their fans into a frenzy as a result.
Alabama at LSU Betting Storylines
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the ground game is going to be key in this one. A true battle. Les Miles is 45-4 at LSU when he has a running back go over 100 yards in a game. He has, as per usual, a ridiculous stable of running backs to draw on here. Alabama does not get run on, though - their 77.6 rushing yards against per game ranks as the second lowest in the entire country. LSU will have to focus on establishing the run early - mostly because their passing game has been shades of inept all season. If they are successful then they are going to be able to dictate the pace of play, and keep the hands away from what has become a surprisingly potent Alabama offense under Lane Kiffin. If they can't run, though, then it's hard to imagine them scoring - or competing. By far LSU's worst performance of the year was that 41-7 loss to Auburn. In that game they really struggled to run - 3.8 yards per carry just isn't good enough. Auburn could load up against the run because they didn't fear the pass, LSU had no counter measures, and things got really, really ugly. LSU didn't convert a single third down in 13 attempts - against an Auburn defense that isn't nearly as effective as Alabama's has been.
Since LSU can't seemingly compete head to head on offense, they are going to have to have a very good day defensively. Can we trust that to happen? It depends on which team shows up. The LSU team that played Auburn and Florida on the road would have struggled to keep the southwest Omaha peewee girl's team out of the endzone. They were just plain lousy. Things turned around completely after that, though. To close out the month they allowed just three points against Kentucky, and held Ole Miss to a touchdown while completely and utterly frustrating the Rebels. You can sum it up as they have potential that isn't always realized. Alabama's offense is closest to Auburn's of those four, though, so it is tough to be too optimistic here - especially if the Tigers can't find ways to move the ball and the defense finds themselves on the field a lot.
Alabama Crimson Tide at LSU Tigers Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Alabama favored by six points, and that has since climbed widely to 6.5 points. About two-thirds of all bets have come in on the Tide, so it would not be surprising to see the line hit the key number of seven - though it is far from certain that it will. If you like Alabama, you'll want to keep a close eye on things and jump on them below seven if a move seems imminent. The total opened at 45.5 and has shown insignificant movement up to 46.
Alabama is 0-5 ATS in their last five road games and 0-6 ATS in their last six road games against teams with winning home records. The Tigers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games. Four of the last five meetings between these teams have gone "under" the total.
Alabama Crimson Tide at LSU Tigers Expert Predictions and Picks
Alabama has not been strong on the road - at least not for bettors - but I feel like I have no choice but to take them here. I don't respect the LSU offense at all, and it is going to be much tougher for them to shut down the Alabama offense than it was to contain Ole Miss last week. The spread is about as high as I could comfortably accept it, but at this price there is value to be had on Alabama - by far the better overall team.
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