LSU at Alabama
November 8, 2013
By Brian Edwards
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Matchup: LSU Tigers (7-2 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) at Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0 SU, 5-3 ATS)
Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Grass)
Date: Saturday, Nov. 8, 2013
Time/TV: 8:00 pm. ET - CBS
Line: Alabama -12 ½, Over/Under 55
Last Meeting: 2012, Alabama (-7) 21 at LSU 7
Alabama’s quest to win a third consecutive national title will continue Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium where the Crimson Tide will host LSU. This will be the first significant test for Nick Saban’s team since September.
As of late Friday afternoon, most betting shops had Alabama (straight up, against the spread) listed as a 12.5-point home favorite with a total of 55 for ‘over/under’ wagers. The Tigers are +425 on the money line (risk $100 to win $425). For first-half wagers, ‘Bama is favored by seven with a total of 27.5.
Alabama hasn’t faced a team with a winning record since beating Ole Miss 26-0 at home on Sep. 28. Since winning 49-42 at Texas A&M in Week 3, the Tide has allowed only 26 points in six games. The ‘Bama defense is ranked fifth nationally in total defense and is tops in scoring defense, giving up only 9.8 points per game despite surrendering 42 to the Aggies.
Both schools had an open date to prep for this SEC showdown. In its last outing, Saban’s bunch smashed Tennessee 45-10 as a 28.5-point home favorite. A.J. McCarron threw for 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns without an interception, while T.J. Yeldon had three rushing scores.
For the season, McCarron has a 16/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has a deep set of wide receivers and has spread his TD passes around to nine different teammates.
Yeldon is the Tide’s leading rusher with 729 yards and 10 TDs. The true sophomore, who scored the game-winning TD on a screen pass from McCarron at LSU last season, averages 6.3 yards per carry.
LSU (7-2 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) has seven wins by double-digit margins and its two defeats came by a field goal. The Tigers’ best scalps came in home wins over Auburn and Florida. They are coming off a 48-16 non-covering home win over Furman.
Senior QB Zach Mettenberger got off to a great start in the first seven games, throwing 15 TD passes compared to only two interceptions. However, he threw three picks in a 27-24 loss at Ole Miss and was also intercepted twice by the Paladins.
Mettenberger has two of the SEC’s best WRs at his disposal. Odell Beckham Jr. has 48 receptions for 1,009 yards and eight TDs, while Jarvis Landry has 58 catches for 882 yards and eight TDs. Les Miles has a four-deep backfield led by sophomore Jeremy Hill, who has rushed for 922 yards and 12 TDs while averaging 7.2 YPC. Back-up RBs Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard have combined for 11 rushing scores.
I think LSU goes into this game with a nothing-to-lose attitude. The Tigers are double-digit ‘dogs and out of the national-title hunt, and that’s make them very dangerous. Miles loves to take chances and ‘The Hat’ will pull out stops to get a victory, so don’t be shocked by trick plays, special-teams fakes or going for it on fourth down in low-percentage situations.
As a road underdog during Miles’s nine-year tenure, LSU owns a 5-6-1 spread record. Meanwhile, Alabama has compiled a 21-22 ATS mark under Saban.
The ‘over’ is 4-3-1 overall for ‘Bama, but the ‘under’ is 3-2 in its home games. The Tide’s games have averaged a combined score of 51 points per game.
The ‘over’ is 7-2 overall for LSU, 3-1 in its road assignments. The Tigers’ games have averaged a combined score of 62.1 PPG.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Illinois is 1-6 ATS as a road underdog during Tim Beckman’s tenure. The Illini is a nine-point ‘dog Saturday at Indiana.
--Sportsbook.ag has Alabama listed as a three-point favorite vs. FSU in a potential BCS Championship Game matchup.
--ULM senior QB Kolton Browning has nine TD passes without an interception in the two games he’s played since returning from a torn quad injury.
--Iowa is 3-0 ATS on the road this year. The Hawkeyes are favored by 14.5 at Purdue.
--Since 2010, SMU is 4-10 ATS as a road underdog. The Mustangs are catching nine points at Cincinnati.
--Penn St. is 0-3 ATS on the road this season. The Nittany Lions are 2.5-point underdogs at Minnesota.
--Eastern Michigan is an abysmal 1-8 both SU and ATS this season. Those results cost Ron English his job when he was fired on Friday. Not sure why the school didn’t take this action on Monday, seeing how the Eagles host Western Michigan as a 2.5-point underdog Saturday.
--The SI Jinx never fails. This week’s victim was Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.
--UCLA RB Jordon James (ankle) is ‘out’ at Arizona along with three starters on the offensive line. This is why Brett Hundley hasn’t played to his potential over the last month.
--Although he briefly left the team earlier this week to be with his family after his mother lost her battle with colon cancer, Mississippi St. QB Dak Prescott will start at Texas A&M.
--As of late Friday afternoon, there was still no word on whether or not Missouri QB James Franklin would start at Kentucky. I don’t think bettors should spend much time worry about this because back-up Maty Mauk has been sharp, throwing three TDs without an interception in last week’s 31-3 win over Tennessee.