The game of the week for 10 of the 2012 college football season from the standpoint of the BCS Standings and National Championship Game is a Saturday night (8:00pm ET) affair pitting two fierce SEC rivals against each other in one of the most hostile environments in the nation. The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) travel to Death Valley, Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA to take on the 5th ranked LSU Tigers (7-1) in primetime. The Crimson Tide is 5-3 ATS this season, winners of three straight games against the line coming into this one including a 38-7 dismantling of Mississippi St. last week to cover a 22 point line. LSU is 3-5 ATS this season, having dropped four straight against the spread before covering a 3.5 point line in their last game at Texas A&M on October 20, a 24-19 win over the Aggies.
The Alabama offense has been much more explosive than they were in their National Championship season last year, quarterback A.J. McCarron (1,684 yards passing, 18 TDs, 0 INTs) simply does not turn the ball over and has been one of the nation’s most efficient passers with a 68.9% completion rate. The Tide have averaged 40.6 points per game to rank 11th among FBS teams, and 436.4 yards per game of total offense to rank 41st in the nation in that category. The Alabama defense once again is the number one unit in the country virtually across the board, ranking 1st in scoring defense with 8.1 PPG allowed, 1st in total defense with 203.1 YPG allowed, and 1st in rushing defense with a miniscule 57.2 YPG allowed.
LSU has struggled on offense this season to put it mildly, the Tigers rank 51st in scoring offense with 31 PPG and 73rd in total offense with 385.8 YPG. Their passing game with quarterback Zach Mettenberger has been a major weakness, ranking 109th in the nation with 177.4 YPG. The Tigers’ defense has once again been strong, ranking 9th in scoring defense with 14.6 PPG and 3rd in total defense with 243.4 YPG allowed.
Alabama vs. LSU Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Alabama Crimson Tide -8
@ LSU Tigers +8
Over 41 (-110)
Under 41 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Alabama vs. LSU Pick:
Alabama has gone 6-1 ATS in their last 7 SEC games, 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall and 37-18 ATS in their last 55 road games. LSU is 6-13 ATS in their last 19 November games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 SEC games. The over is 4-1 in Alabama’s last 5 road games and 3-1-1 in their last 5 SEC gams. The under is 4-1 in LUS’s last 5 games against winning teams and 4-1 in their last 5 SEC games. In head-to-head play, the Crimson Tide is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games at LSU, and the road team is 13-3-1 ATS in the last 17 meetings between the two teams.
The Crimson Tide now have an offense that can win games on their own without having to rely on their superior athletes on defense to carry them game in and game out. That is a scary thought for opponents considering this team won the National Title last season with McCarron functioning as essentially a game manager. LSU was outmanned in their re-match with Alabama in the BCS Championship Game last year, in a game that was played in their home state. The Crimson Tide has fared well against the line in this series, and in Death Valley in particular. They are a team that will not be intimidated by LSU coach Les Miles’ sterling 36-1 home record, and with their ability to shut down a weak LSU offense and an offense that will be able to score against the Tigers’ fierce defense, Alabama is the pick to cover here. The trends and their play this season make Alabama a strong favorite in this game.
PICK = Alabama -8