Schedulers anticipated this Game would be one of the best matchups of the year and the teams haven’t disappointed. Alabama and LSU both enter this Game coming off a bye with a combined 14-1 record. The winner of this one will surely have the inside track to winning the SEC West. Playing at home, the Crimson Tide opened are currently a -6.5 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
Alabama’s remaining Schedule looks a bit easier than it did coming into the season. After this Game, the Tide’s only two SEC Games left are at Mississippi State and Auburn and both look more than winnable. Even with that early loss to Ole Miss, they could finish above the Rebels if everything works out for them.
LSU may be undefeated, but still has a long way to go in addition to this Game. Their three remaining Games come against Arkansas, at Ole Miss, and against Texas A&M. None of those are overwhelmingly hard, but in three straight weeks, they could be a problem, especially a road trip to Mississippi.
The Tide have won Four straight meetings between these schools, covering in three of those, and there’s no reason to think they’ll lose this Game.
The one noticeable trend that hasn’t been great for the Crimson Tide this year is that they’re struggling at home. They have not covered in five straight Games in Tuscaloosa, which is a bit worrisome. They already fell to Ole Miss, struggled to overcome Arkansas and most recently Tennessee. But it would be surprising if Nick Saban’s team put in a lackluster effort against a Les Miles team.
The Tigers haven’t had too tough of road challenges yet, outside of one at Mississippi State back in September, and they barely escaped there. Their defense has surprisingly been an issue, mainly in covering Games. LSU has allowed at least 19 points in all of its Games this year, which is more than previous squads, but an improved offense has helped.
The Crimson Tide know what to do coming into this Game, but will that matter? Leonard Fournette is the Heisman favorite right now for a reason, as he has carved through every defense so far, rushing for 1,352 yards and 15 TDs on the year. In fact, Fournette hasn’t rushed for less than 150 yards yet. That’s pretty incredible. The Tide have a good run defense, allowing just 78.5 yards per Game, third-best in the nation to go with only Four touchdowns. Assuming they’ll stack the box, LSU quarterback Brandon Harris will have to be on his Game.
Harris has 12 total touchdowns and zero interceptions on the year, but having Fournette on the offense has led to most of those numbers. That could be the case in this Game.
On the other end, LSU also has a great run defense, Fourth-best in the nation. That could come into play here, but Derrick Henry has been almost as good as Fournette lately. In Henry’s last Four Games, when Alabama started force-feeding him, he has 622 yards and six touchdowns.
This Game could easily come down to whatever team has the best quarterback. Jake Coker has shined at times for Bama, but more often than not, he struggles. Still, with a better running Game, Coker is completing more than 70% of his passes over the last Four Games.
Alabama gets the edge with a better defense and playing at home, but if the spread closes at more than a touchdown, it’d be hard to take the Tide here.
The favorite is 9-4-1 ATS in the last 14 meetings between these schools, while the under is 5-1 in the last six matchups. And as said before, the Crimson Tide have disappointed at home this year, failing to cover in their last five.
Our Pick – Alabama -6.5