Back LSU as Large Home Dog vs. 'Bama in Marquee Matchup

Jason Lake

Monday, October 29, 2018 9:17 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 29, 2018 9:17 PM UTC

The Alabama Crimson Tide are one of the best football teams you’ll ever see, but the college football odds are handing the LSU Tigers a gift for Saturday’s SEC matchup.

Jason’s 2018-19 NCAAF picks record through Week 9:
11-11 ATS; 0-1 ML (minus-1.00 units), 0-2 Totals

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Louisiana StateSaturday, 8 p.m. ET (CBS)Free NCAAF Pick: LSU ATSBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Just when you thought it was safe to fade the Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0 SU, 5-3 ATS), they go and win back-to-back games ATS as massive favorites. Actually, the Tide have laid at least three touchdowns in each of their eight games thus far; that deluge of chalk appeared to catch up to Alabama when they dropped the cash in three straight games, but they covered against Missouri (+28 away) and Tennessee (+29.5 at home) to get back in the black for 2018.

This time, ‘Bama supporters have definitely gone too far. The top-ranked Tide opened as 14-point road faves on the NCAAF odds board for Saturday’s big SEC showdown with the No. 4 LSU Tigers (7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS). There’s been a slight lean towards LSU in early betting, knocking them down to +13.5, but that’s still the most points the Tigers have gotten at home since 2001, when they lost 44-15 to Florida State as 14-point puppies. Surely we have to take LSU in this matchup.

Put a Tiger in Your Tank

There’s a time to lay wood on double-digit faves, but Saturday’s game is not one of those occasions. FiveThirtyEight projects the Tide to win this contest 71 percent of the time, using their Elo-based formula; the mighty SBR Odds Converter says that’s the vig-free equivalent of Alabama -245 for a moneyline, and Wizard of Odds says that’s about the same as Alabama -7.5 for a point spread.

Which seems reasonable against the No. 4-ranked team in the nation. Not that the Tigers have performed particularly well in Baton Rouge – ESPN’s Brad Edwards and Seth Walder crunched the numbers last year and pegged LSU at minus-0.46 Points Above Expectation playing at home. But they lost to ‘Bama by 10, seven (in overtime) and four points in their last three meetings at Tiger Stadium. And LSU is still widely available at +14 as we go to press. That’s a very important half-point onto a key magic number. Only 3, 7 and 10 show up more often as the final margin of victory in college football, and 10 happens almost exactly as often as 14.

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#LSU HC Ed Orgeron and #Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa probably talking spam and gumbo at the game tonight. @TrussTribune @TribSportsLive pic.twitter.com/Eehdqeihjh

— Justin Nails (@justinnails) October 27, 2018
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If you really want to go for the gusto, you could even put the Tigers in your college football picks at +425 on the moneyline. We took a flier on Louisville at +1400 for their season opener against Alabama; it was worth a shot, even if the Tide were very likely to win straight-up – which they did, 51-14. LSU is a much better team than Louisville. However, getting the Tigers at +14 should deliver more betting value. Now let’s see if they can slow down the rolling Tide.

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