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Pick - Analysis
This game isn't getting the kind of press that it has received in recent years, but that doesn't mean it's irrelevant. LSU is still looking for a season-defining win already with two conference losses on the road, while Alabama just keeps on winning, as usual. In the biggest spread between these teams since 2006, the Crimson Tide are currently -12.5 point favorites at 5 dimes sportsbook.
Alabama only has one win over a ranked team and that was against Texas A&M and their seeping defense early in the season. Outside of that, it's been a bunch of blowouts without any other team coming within 25 points of them.
LSU already has two road losses this year at Georgia and Ole Miss. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has played well in his senior year, but the defense hasn't quite dominated as we've seen in years past. The Tigers get the Aggies in their next game, so four losses are a possibility for this team.
The Crimson Tide have been favorites in seven straight matchups now between these teams, but have only won four of the last six. In last year's game, LSU did everything right to win. Despite being down 14-3 at halftime, they were the better team in the second half and looked prime to walk away with a win. Mettenberger was great, throwing for 298 yards and a TD and Jeremy Hill was solid on the ground with 107 yards and a TD. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as AJ McCarron commandeered a game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes. McCarron threw for 72 yards on that final drive. He only had 93 yards before that.
McCarron will likely end up playing an important part in this game, but it's the Crimson Tide running game that will make the difference. As long as they can run the ball behind T.J. Yeldon (729 yards, 10 TDs) and Kenyan Drake (491 yards, seven TDs), they will have the advantage. Alabama rushed for 166 yards total in last year's game. And then if needed, McCarron will start to air it out to guys like Kevin Norwood and Amari Cooper. McCarron doesn't have amazing numbers, but everyone knows he can get it done when needed.
The Tigers have had trouble on defense this year so it'll be important for them to keep this game within reach for Mettenberger. And also like the Crimson Tide, they'll need to get some kind of ground game going. Jeremy Hill (922 yards, 12 TDs) is having a great season and will be the main factor here. Without a running game, it will be tough for Mettenberger to keep this close. There's basically only two guys 'Bama has to worry about in the receiving game as Odell Beckham (48 receptions, 1,009 yards, eight TDs) and Jarvis Landry (58 receptions, 882 yards, eight TDs) are the only receivers on LSU with double-digit catches. Will that be enough or will someone else step up on the bigger stage?
The Tigers have covered in four straight following a bye week, but are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss. The Crimson Tide have covered in four straight conference games, but are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 following a bye week. The Tigers are 6-1-1 ATS in the last eight meetings between these teams in Alabama and the road team is 13-4-1 ATS in their last 18 meetings overall.
According to the betting trends at sportsbook.com, Alabama has received 81% of the action as of Tuesday.
Still considering this game as a key release, so no pick here for now.
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