Pick "No. 2" Bama to Roll Past Rival LSU

Alabama Crimson Tide player celebrating

Rainman M.

Thursday, November 2, 2017 4:48 PM GMT

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 4:48 PM GMT

No. 2 Alabama (8-0) hosts No. 19 LSU (6-2) Saturday at 8 PM ET. The Tide are favored by 21 points and it definitely no surprise. Join expert capper for a complete betting preview and get your college football picks ready.

Free NCAAF Pick: Alabama -21Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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LSU Tigers vs Alabama Crimson Tide  

LSU Coach Ed Orgeron revealed LSU's recruiting focus for 2018, "We need to get more linemen."

The offensive and defensive lines have suffered from dismissals, transfers and time away from the program. These events have decimated the hope placed in prior recruiting classes  Recurring injuries have led to player shuffling on both lines, which has interrupted chemistry. The experienced depth is thin. NFL-caliber talent is lacking.

The Tigers are a run-first team, with nearly twice as many carries as pass attempts. Problematically, leading rusher Derrius Guice has reached 100 rushing yards only once since September 9th vs Chattanooga. The poor run-blocking also forces Guice to deal with nagging injuries.

Against Alabama, LSU's left tackle will be injured, meaning that two freshmen will block for LSU against Bama's top-ranked run defense, which averages 2.4 yards per carry allowed.  The betting significance of LSU's rush attack is that the Tigers are 1-4 ATS this season when rushing for fewer than 250 yards. 

The fundamental significance of LSU's struggle with run blocking is that the defensive line is central to Alabama's 3-4 scheme.

With his massive strength and experienced play recognition, veteran defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne typically occupies multiple blockers but nevertheless causes disruption by neutralizing offensive linemen or bulldozing into the backfield.

Da'Shawn Hand may return at defensive end and bring his combination of strength, athleticism and speed off the edge. If not, Isaiah Buggs, an explosive force off the snap despite his size at 6'5 and 293 pounds, can continue to replace Hand. 

Alabama's defensive line boasts the most depth of strength and athletic ability. In dominating the interior against LSU, they will devour Guice in the backfield or force him horizontally until support arrives.

Shaun Dion Hamilton leads Bama linebackers with 37 tackles. His ability to penetrate gaps and shed blockers, his downhill explosiveness and supreme tackling efficiency allow him to instantaneously halt the opposing running back. 

Quarterback Danny Etling lacks the mobility and arm to threaten Bama. Etling's accuracy is inconsistent. He has failed to reach 60% completion against any top-90 pass defense this season. Etling's best option will be the deep pass to his inexperienced but physically talented receiver D.J. Chark. But long passing plays take time to develop and LSU ranks outside the top 100 in sack percentage allowed. Without Etling being able to stretch Alabama's defense vertically, the Tide, who rank 25th in team sack percentage and whose veteran secondary ranks 6th in QB rating allowed, will subdue LSU offensively.

The Tide's rushing attack boasts four capable starters, three of whom average over 5.5 yards per carry. The decisive mismatch is Alabama's 4th ranked rush attack, with 6.3 YPC, against LSU's 76th-ranked rush defense, allowing 4.6 YPC. LSU is 0-2 ATS this season when allowing 200+ rush yards.

Damien Harris leads Bama's running backs with 8.6 YPC. His superior run blocking regularly gives him well-sized holes that he hits with momentum. He runs through contact due to his balance, strength and low center of gravity. Bama's running game can wear down LSU. The Tide rank 19th in accruing time of possession.

 

The Verdict

Bama has run over its SEC opponents and covered. They dominated trash-talking Vanderbilt 59-0, avenged Ole Miss's recent successes 66-3, made up for its one letdown at A&M by covering vs Arkansas, then rival Tennessee. Extra motivated by being dropped to #2 in the rankings, expect Bama to roll vs rival LSU on our NCAAF Picks.

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