Alabama visits LSU on Saturday, and that's always one of the most-anticipated game to bet on of the season. As usual, It has very important SEC title and national championship implications.
Offensive Mismatch, but Defensively ....
I previewed this game here at SBR on Monday when Alabama was a 6.5-point favorite on NCAA football odds. I am slightly surprised that line hasn't budged as it appears that action is fairly even on that number. I liked Alabama at anything under 7.5 points and still do. NCAA football totals for Saturday games aren't released until Tuesday so I projected that on Monday. My guess was mid-to-high 40s. So 45.5 was dead on.
Both teams come in off a bye week so no advantage there. One side might argue that the offenses would have an advantage having two weeks to prepare, while the other could say that defenses will know the offenses in detail with so much preparation and will shut the offenses down.
Let's be clear here: the LSU offense isn't as good as Alabama's. The Tide are better at quarterback with senior Blake Sims over Tigers sophomore Anthony Jennings. Alabama has perhaps the best collection of running back talent in college football, led by T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry. Yeldon, a two-year starter who leads the team with 618 yards rushing this season, is expected to play after sustaining a foot injury Alabama's win at Tennessee on Oct. 25. In addition, starting left tackle Cam Robinson also should play after suffering his own injury. Alabama has the nation's best receiver in Amari Cooper, who probably will be a Heisman finalist and the first receiver taken in next year's NFL draft. Cooper leads the SEC and is No. 2 in the nation in both receiving yards with 1,132 (on 71 catches for nine touchdowns) and receiving yards per game with 141.5.
Keep in mind when forming your Week 11 College Football pick that defensively, the teams are much closer. Both LSU and Alabama annually have the best defensive units in the nation and that's no different in 2014. The Tide rank No. 2 in the nation in scoring defense at 14.0 ppg and have allowed just 12 touchdowns, which is tops in the country. In the past three games, the Tide have held Arkansas, Texas A&M and Tennessee to a combined 33 points while totaling 12 sacks and 24 tackles for loss. The Tide shut out the Aggies for the first time in the Kevin Sumlin era. Alabama ranks No. 4 in total defense (277.3 yards per game), No. 2 against the rush (78.1 ypg) and No. 28 against the pass (199.1 ypg). The most points Alabama has allowed is 23 (West Virginia and Ole Miss).
Two key players on the LSU defense are linebackers Kwon Alexander and Kendell Beckwith, both of whom opted to sign with the Tigers over the Tide -- Alexander, from Oxford, Ala., leads LSU with 57 tackles and is No. 2 with six tackles for loss. LSU ranks No. 4 in scoring defense (15.9 ppg), No. 15 in total defense (318.1 ypg), No. 63 against the rush (159.7 ypg) and No. 4 against the pass (158.4 ypg). That unit was a bit shaky in losses to Mississippi State and Auburn but has allowed a combined 10 points the past two games, wins over Kentucky and Ole Miss. If there's one worry it was that LSU did struggle against mobile quarterbacks in MSU's Dak Prescott and Auburn's Nick Marshall. Sims is Alabama's third-leading rusher.
College Football Pick
Under' 45.5 points at Pinnacle. Let's throw out last year's 38-17 Alabama win over LSU in Tuscaloosa. Here are the totals in the previous five matchups: 38 (Alabama 21-17 in 2012 regular season), 21 (Alabama 21-0 in 2012 BCS title game), 15 (LSU 9-6 in 2011 regular season), 45 (LSU 24-21 in 2010 regular season) and 39 (Alabama 24-15 in 2009 regular season).