Alabama at LSU
The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 SEC) travel to Baton Rouge to take on the No. 5 LSU Tigers (7-1, 3-1 SEC) Saturday in a rematch of last year’s National Championship. Oddsmakers have installed Alabama as a 9.5-point road favorite over LSU.
Why Alabama Covers
The Crimson Tide are, hands down, the best football team in the country. They keep on rolling despite massive expectations week in and week out. This team has actually been very profitable against the spread despite those expectations. They have gone 5-3 ATS in their eight games this season while outscoring opponents 40.6 to 8.1, or by an average of 32.5 points per game.
Alabama has won all eight of its games by 19 points or more. It hasn’t allowed more than 14 points in any contest behind the No. 1 defense in the country, allowing just 203.1 total yards per game. It doesn’t give up an inch on the ground or through the air. The Crimson Tide rank 1st against the run at 57.3 yards per game, and 2nd against the pass at 145.9 yards per game.
Alabama beat LSU 21-0 in the National Championship last season in one of the most dominant efforts you will ever see in a title game. It outgained the Tigers 384-92 while limiting them to a mere five first downs. Both teams return similar experience from last year’s teams, so the Crimson Tide have a good chance of coming close to repeating that performance.
The Crimson Tide are 8-0 against the spread in their last eight road games after two straight wins by 17 points or more. They are winning in this spot by an average of 31.7 points per game. Les Miles is 1-10 ATS in home games versus good rushing defenses that allow less than or equal to 3.25 rushing yards/carry as the coach of LSU. The road team is 13-3-1 ATS in the last 17 meetings in this series.
Why LSU Covers
The public perception of LSU is a bit down this season because of its 6-14 loss at Florida on September 6th. Almost everyone expected this team to be undefeated when it faced Alabama, but that is not the case. As a result, the Tigers could be coming into this game against the Crimson Tide undervalued and as a live underdog.
Following that loss to the Gators, the Tigers have rebounded nicely with a 23-21 home win over then-No. 3 South Carolina, and a 24-19 road win at then-No. 18 Texas A&M. There’s no question that the Tigers have played the tougher schedule up to this point. This will be by far Alabama’s toughest test of the season. The Crimson Tide have played two ranked teams in Michigan and Mississippi State, but as the season has gone on you can tell that both of those teams were overrated.
The Tigers want revenge from that loss in the national title game last season. They will certainly be the more motivated team coming in because of it. Plus, the Crimson Tide will have to overcome the nation’s longest home winning streak if they want to win this game, let alone cover the 9.5-point spread. LSU has won a school-record 22 home games in a row dating back to a loss to Florida on October 10, 2009.
LSU is coming off a bye week, which is a huge advantage as it has had two full weeks to prepare. The Tigers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a bye. Les Miles is 16-6 ATS after a game where they committed no turnovers as the coach of LSU. The Tigers are winning by 22.4 points per game in this spot.