The Alabama Crimson Tide has two more really significant tests within the context of the 12-game regular season. This Saturday’s game against the LSU
Tigers certainly rates as one of those two tests. Alabama tries to move closer to a third straight national championship in college football while taking another small step toward a second straight SEC West Division title.
LSU Tigers @ Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, November 9th – 8:00 PM ET
Bryant-Denney Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL
Odds: Alabama -12.5
Why The Tigers Can Cover The Spread:
Their passing game could very realistically do a lot of damage to Alabama’s secondary and create a shootout, the kind of game the Tigers would be equipped to win. Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri has been knocked out of the lineup for the rest of the season due to an injury suffered last month. The Crimson Tide will need to find adequate replacements in the back line of their defense. If they can’t, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger – who has been a lot better this season than he was in 2012 – could repeatedly hit long passes and enjoy a big night for the Tigers. LSU’s offense, specifically its passing game, was solid against Alabama last season, but it wasn’t good enough or polished enough to hit the big play very often. LSU used short passes against Alabama a year ago, but this time, the Tigers could use the deep ball with much more success. If LSU’s passing game does max out, Alabama’s offense just hasn’t been as strong as it was in past seasons. The Crimson Tide looked very ordinary against Colorado State, Ole Miss and Virginia Tech. Quarterback A.J. McCarron is dependable, but he generally isn’t forced to win shootouts. If LSU can strike the first few blows in this game, Alabama and McCarron might have a very difficult time responding. The Tigers have a chance to control Saturday night’s big SEC game if they can win the first quarter – not just in terms of playing well, but in terms of getting a lead of at least seven points if not more.
Why The Crimson Tide Can Cover The Spread:
They have the better and more consistent team. Alabama just doesn’t beat itself. The Crimson Tide rarely makes huge mistakes, and everyone on the coaching staff gets players to perform whenever and wherever they are needed. Head coach Nick Saban has taught his players in ways that generate consistent motivation and relentless focus. Saban-coached teams are experienced at blocking out distractions and playing in the face of limitations such as the one mentioned above to Vinnie Sunseri in the secondary. Alabama’s defensive line can protect its secondary by rushing the passer and making Zach Mettenberger uncomfortable. If Mettenberger can’t feel safe in the pocket, he will not be able to break down the Crimson Tide’s back layer on defense. Alabama can create a slower tempo and play this game the way it wants to. That’s why they’re the bet here.
This game comes down to the matchup between LSU’s passing game and Alabama’s defense. LSU and Mettenberger will land some blows, enough to keep the game close. Alabama’s defense will gain strength in the fourth quarter and win the game outright, but LSU will cover the spread.
Pick: LSU +12.5