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ALABAMA AT LSU
3* Alabama -160 over LSU - Those of you that have followed us for any length of time know that we look for certain types of games to play. We generally like to eliminate the pointpsread from the equation. In other words, when backing dogs, the spread can only help you, it can't hurt you. When backing favs, you can be 100% correct in your analysis and yet still lose the wager, i.e. a back door cover.
Aside from looking to back good teams getting points, we also love it when we have some extra motivational material to back the play. That's big in college ball. Emotion, revenge, all good stuff that can help a play. When the team in question is also at home, hey, look out. Back up the brinks truck. Which is why this play, backing Alabama over LSU this week, may surprise some long time followers.
Certainly LSU has plenty of motivation and will be playing with plenty of emotion. There's the Saban returning to LSU for the first time since he left angle. With a house full of loud angry fans waiting to greet him and his team. There's the lower ranked team playing the #1 ranked team in the nation angle as well. Not to mention the SEC home dog in a huge game. Probably a half a dozen other angels we can come up with as well that would normally have us looking for a way to back LSU here.
But while all of that is good stuff, stuff that we often look for, it still has to come down to the x's and o's and the overall talent of the two teams. In this case, it's our opinion that Alabama is a much better football team. We have had our eyes on them going back to before Saban got there. We watched Alabama field some teams with some pretty good defenses but teams that were often unable to move the ball. That changed with Saban. We watched Alabama closely last year and pegged them as a team to watch before the season started this year. So far they haven't disappointed.
When you look at the body of work of both of these teams, there's very little to be impressed with when looking at LSU. They were thrown around like rag dolls against Georgia and Florida. They had trouble dealing with an Auburn team still finding itself early in the year. There's just nothing in watching LSU this year that makes you say wow. They are also 95th out of 118 teams in turnover margin. Sloppy comes to mind.
Alabama on the other hand is getting it done. Sure, there are some cupcakes on their dance card but who could forget them going into Georgia and destroying the Bulldogs? The same Bulldogs that ran up and down the field at LSU. Again, that Bama win is particularly impressive because it was on the road at Georgia. Alabama is #1 in the SEC in both rushing, and stopping the run. Think about that for a minute. Most "experts" agree that the running game will be the key to this game. Heck, the key to just about any football game outside the WAC, is the running game. Alabama - #1 against the run. #1 Rushing. That may be a bit much for LSU to overcome this week. There are plenty of holes in the LSU defense. Thank Florida and Georgia for exposing those. There aren't any such holes on the Bama side. Some point to a suspect pass defense, but let's not forget that lots of the passing yards Alabama has given up have come after games were in hand and opponents were left with little choice but to throw on every down.
LSU went into Alabama last year and knocked off the Crimson Tide 41-34. Last year's LSU team was much better than this years. Last years Bama team was not as good as this years. Yet Bama led 34-27 in the 4th quarter with 7 minutes remaining. LSU scored twice in the final 2:49 to win the game. So while LSU has some motivational factors as mentioned above, Bama has some of their own in the form of revenge. Oh, and as far as the Saban angle for LSU, that's more for the fans. Not a single player on the field could care less where Saban used to coach. They weren't around for it.
Alabama has the advantage at QB. LSU starts a freshman. They have the better offensive and defensive lines. The trenches and the QB......that's where games are won and it's all Alabama. We're simply backing the better football team here. We're playing the money line so as not to let the number beat us. If Bama needs a field goal with seconds left to clinch a 2 point win, we don't want to have our tail between our legs with a 1 point loss.
We'll essentially risk 3*'s to win 2*'s here. So a win goes down as a 2* win. A loss will be graded as a 3* loss. i.e. at -160, and at $100 per star, we risk $320 to win 200.
Alabama -160 over LSU - Shop around. There's some -155 out there and we're likely to see this number drop a bit before kick off.
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