LSU checked in at around No. 25 in most of the preseason polls but here they are, as the fourth-ranked team in the nation, going toe-to-toe with Alabama this weekend in what could prove to be their ticket to the College Football Playoff.
Of course, the winning can’t stop there for the Tigers as they would have to defeat their three remaining opponents, with the toughest out being Texas A&M in their last game of the regular season. Then, by virtue of their win over Alabama, the Tigers would represent the West Division in the SEC title game that would most likely pit them against Georgia. However, a win over the Crimson Tide on Saturday would set the wheels in motion for what could be a stunning run for the national championship.
There is also another angle at play. If LSU does beat Alabama and remains undefeated the rest of the way, and the Tide do the same, it would quite possibly result in both teams securing two of the four seeds in the tournament. The dominoes would all have to fall just right for it to happen, just like last year with Alabama and Georgia, but if they did, few could argue that both teams don’t deserve their seats at the big boy table. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at this marquee matchup as well as the corresponding odds illustrated at Sportsbook Review, a site devoted to all things sports gambling, where readers can see all the latest odds at the best online sportsbooks.
Alabama invades Tiger Stadium with an 8-0 record (5-3 ATS) and is currently 14½-point road favorites against one of the preeminent college football teams in the nation. If that doesn’t speak volumes about Nick Saban’s juggernaut then nothing will. LSU hasn’t been this large of a home underdog since 1997 when then No. 1 Florida came to Baton Rouge as 16½-point favorites and the Tigers pulled the 28-21 upset.
The Crimson Tide are coming off another dominating performance after their 58-21 road victory over Tennessee. Bama’s quarterback and the Heisman front-runner, Tua Tagovailoa, connected on 19-of-29 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns. Last season’s starter Jalen Hurts took over in the third quarter when the game was out of hand and delivered a 21-yard scamper into the end zone to cap the 58-point assault, the most ever scored by an opposing team in the 97-year history of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium.
It’s hard to compete with that stellar performance, but LSU flexed their defensive muscles en route to a solid 19-3 win over No. 22 Mississippi State as 6½ point home chalk. However, the victory was not without its casualties as starting linebacker Devin White was tossed in the fourth quarter for targeting. The partisan crowd was not happy and neither was head coach Ed Orgeron who is now calling for a change in the NCAA’s targeting rule. The violation not only caused White to be banished for the remainder of the game against the Bulldogs but he is also ineligible to play for the first half against Alabama.
Alabama has won nine of the last 13 meetings against LSU and is 10-3 against the spread in those contests. Last season, the Tide drew away to a 24-10 win over the Tigers in Tuscaloosa but did not cover the 21-point impost that the oddsmakers were dealing. As we look ahead to Saturday’s game, the spread seems outrageous at first glance, considering the underdog boasts a 7-1 record and is the seventh-ranked team in the nation in defense, allowing just 15.1 points per game. However, Alabama is so formidable this season that it’s hard not to see the value in backing the top-ranked offense, averaging 54.1 points per game, complemented by a defense that surrenders only 15.9 PPG.
Regardless where your allegiances lie, the best place to turn for all the latest, breaking news and handicapping write-ups is Sportsbook Review, where you can also compare point spreads, money lines, and totals from all the best online sportsbooks on this or any other college and professional sporting event.