The first Saturday in November is always circled on the college football calendar because it means LSU versus Alabama. The SEC West rivals meet Saturday in Tuscaloosa with the No. 2 Crimson Tide listed as huge favorites.
It must seem like 2019 was 20 years ago for LSU fans. Of course, coach Ed Orgeron led the Tigers to a massive win at Alabama that season on the way to the SEC and national championship behind a record-setting offense led by Heisman Trophy-winner Joe Burrow.
Alas, since Burrow left, things have gone downhill to the point that Orgeron is on his way out and the Tigers are probably going to finish with a non-winning record for a second straight year. And here we thought Coach O had brought LSU to Alabama's level for the long term.
Here are my picks and predictions for the college football Week 10 matchup between LSU and Alabama (Odds via DraftKings; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
LSU vs. Alabama Game Info
Date/Time: Saturday, November 6, 7 p.m. ETTV: ESPNLocation: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, ALWeather: clear, high of 65
LSU vs. Alabama Odds Analysis
The spread has not moved off 28.5 points yet and might not with nearly 50-50 action. The spread is just above a magic number of 28 and no bettors want to give LSU 30 points in a game in which the Tigers can throw caution to the wind. The only time in recent history that LSU was a +28.5 underdog was last year when the Tigers lost 55-17 at home to the Tide. Bama is 7-3 against the spread in its past 10 as at least a 28.5-point favorite.
The total opened at 65 and has risen to 66 with about a 5-percent lean on the Over. The Over has hit in the past two meetings but the total wasn't this high (64 and 65.5).
Alabama leads the all-time series 54-26-5 and is 13-8 in Tuscaloosa. The road team is 5-0 ATS in the past five.
LSU vs. Alabama Betting Picks
LSU +28.5 (-110) ???Over 65 points (-110) ???
SEE ALSO: Navy vs. Notre Dame Week 10 Picks
LSU vs. Alabama Predictions
LSU +28.5 (-110) ???
That this game is not being televised on CBS for the first time in several years - CBS preferred No. 13 Auburn vs. No. 14 Texas A&M - tells you all you need to know about how far LSU has fallen.
Though I don't think LSU can win this game, I'd probably take the Tigers all the way down to +27.5 as a lot of models out there have the Tide winning by 27. Nick Saban could pull his starters in the second half to keep them healthy for the final three games, especially quarterback Bryce Young as he competes for the Heisman Trophy.
Young is completing 74.6 percent of his third-down pass attempts (53-for-71) for 860 yards and eight touchdowns. He has converted first downs on 42 of those 71 third-down tries.
This is Orgeron's last signature game at LSU, so also expect trick plays, fake punts, and more. The 4-4 Tigers truly have nothing to lose. This will be their fifth straight game against a ranked team. In the previous four, their worst defeat was by 21. Granted, none of those four were against a team the caliber of Alabama.
Alabama is 66-11 at home in SEC games under Saban and outscores teams by an average of about 22 points. Ole Miss hung within 21 points on Oct. 2 and, two weeks ago, Tennessee managed to stay within 28.
LSU is 5-0 ATS in its past five after a bye.
Over 65 points (-110) ???
Let's just assume Alabama will score at least 30 points, something the Tide have done in an FBS-record 34 straight games. Bama has scored at least 40 points in 37 of its past 49. Defensively, the Tigers are allowing 28.8 points and 408.5 total yards per game.
LSU will be missing seven injured defensive starters, led by All-American defensive backs Derek Stingley and Eli Ricks. In fact, the Tigers are so banged up and have lost so many players to the transfer portal that they didn't have enough bodies to hold a practice one day during the bye week.
If the Tigers do get deep into Bama territory, LSU is 22-of-23 in the red zone this year (16 touchdowns, five field goals) and ranks No. 2 in the SEC and No. 5 in the nation in red-zone offense, scoring 95.7 percent of the time. LSU is averaging 30.5 points and 382 total yards per game (112.1 rushing, 269.9 passing).
Tigers quarterback Max Johnson has thrown at least three touchdown passes in seven of 10 career starts. He did lose star wideout Kayshon Boutte to a season-ending injury earlier this year.
The Over is 5-1 in LSU's past six as an underdog and 5-2 in Alabama's past seven overall.
Picks made 11/02/2021 at 7:16 p.m. ET