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Alabama vs. LSU: Latest Spread Info, BCS Impact and Predictions

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Alabama vs. LSU: Latest Spread Info, BCS Impact and Predictions
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Regular-season college football games don't get much bigger than Alabama vs. LSU over the past few seasons. These two are among the elite college programs and both have a lot on the line.

In mid-September, this matchup looked like the definitive game of the season. Fans were expecting a battle between a pair of 8-0 teams to settle the SEC West title and place a team in the national champion game.

Both of those are likely still true—so long as Alabama wins. LSU is likely on the outside of the BCS National Championship Game, even with a win, unless two of the unbeaten schools ahead of it lose. 

LSU has a few distinct advantages in this game that could spur an upset. The Tigers had an extra week to prepare and the game is being played in Baton Rouge.

I don't think either edge will be enough to get the win, but it should be a competitive contest.

 

Who wins?

Submit Vote vote to see results

When: Saturday, November 3, 8 p.m. ET

Where: Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Watch: CBS

Stream: cbssports.com 

Listen: AM 790 in Tuscaloosa and the Crimson Tide Radio Network, WNXX 104.5 FM in Baton Rouge and the LSU Radio Network

 

Current Betting Lines (via Bovada, OddsShark)

Money Line: Alabama -310, LSU +255

Spread: Alabama -9

I performed my review of the game and constructed my score prediction prior to looking at the betting lines. This spread seems appropriate, as both teams boast a very good defense.

The factor in this game will be the LSU offense. If it has managed to correct some issues on that side of the ball, it can make a run at upsetting Alabama.

If it trots out the same offense we've seen over the last month, it will have trouble scoring more than 10 points. I'm taking Alabama in this one despite the two-score margin.

Those doing the same may want to wait a few more hours before placing their bets.

 

Over/Under: 41

I wouldn't get too crazy with the over/under in this game, but my score prediction came in at 40 points. If both teams bring their "A" defense, it will be difficult to hit 42 points.

The under would be the better value here for those compelled to take a stand.

This game could turn into a massive defensive struggle. The under could be a good hedge for those taking Alabama and surrendering the points.

If the Crimson Tide don't cover the spread, it will likely be the result of a low-scoring game.

 

Key Injuries (via USA Today)

Alabama

Player

 Pos.

Injury

Status

LaMichael Fanning

DL

Disciplinary

Questionable

Dee Hart

RB

Knee

Out for Season

DeAndrew White

WR

Knee

Out for Season

Chris Black

WR

Shoulder

Out for Season

LSU

Player

 Pos.

Injury

Status

Josh Williford

G

Concussion

Probable

Kwon Alexander

LB

Ankle

Out for Season

Alex Hurst

T

Personal

Out

Alfred Blue

RB

Knee

Out

 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

BCS Implications

The stakes don't get much higher than this contest.

Both teams control their destiny to earn a berth in the SEC championship game. LSU needs a win before hosting No. 15 Mississippi State next week. It finishes with Ole Miss and Arkansas.

Alabama also controls its fate to secure a trip to the BCS National Championship Game. The biggest statement against Alabama being the top-ranked school is it hasn't beaten anyone of note.

It did topple a previously unbeaten Mississippi State, but the Bulldogs haven't beaten a quality opponent, either.

LSU has consecutive wins over a pair of ranked SEC opponents. Beating Alabama would make it the top one-loss team and keep it in consideration for the title match.

The Tigers would still need to win out and hope that Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon stumble down the stretch. It seems unlikely that they could hop over any of those schools if they remain unbeaten.

 

Key to Alabama Victory: Offensive Line

Butch Dill/Getty Images
Alabama has kept a clean pocket. Can they do the same against LSU?

There is little doubt that Alabama's defense will come out firing. It is the top-ranked FBS school in points allowed, surrendering just over eight points a game.

Alabama's fate rests in its offense.

Thus far, the Tide's offensive line has been one of the best in the nation. It gives A.J. McCarron ample time to set up and survey the field while opening holes that allow either of their top runners to churn out yards.

But Alabama hasn't played a defense this good yet...except in practice. That in itself is part of why the offense plays so well on game day.

It is accustomed to elite competition.

If the Crimson Tide line can control the line of scrimmage like they've done thus far in 2012, it will be a long day for LSU.

 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Key to LSU Victory: Scoring

Sounds simple, doesn't it? You have to score to win, but that has been a difficult task for the Tigers at times this season.

LSU only managed six points in its loss to Florida and was held to 12 points against an Auburn team that hasn't held a lead at the end of regulation this season.

The Tigers offense has been better the last two weeks, but South Carolina has surrendered 79 points in the two games since LSU dropped 23 on the Gamecocks. 

Zach Mettenberger needs to have a big game if the Tigers are going to win.

Throwing for 200 yards and a touchdown isn't likely going to be enough. But both of those figures are above his season average and this is the toughest defense he'll face this season.

LSU's offensive line needs to play better to help the Tigers keep their third-down situations manageable. They must also find a way to sustain drives.

Field position will be important, as will avoiding three-and-outs. If the Tiger offense doesn't burn some clock and keep time of possession somewhat close, their defense will get worn down.

A defensive score could be what is needed to spark a win.

The school is looking at another way to help build some excitement.

 

Prediction

It will be surprising if this game isn't defined by great defensive play. The two units are very close on that side of the ball, but the pendulum swings to Alabama in almost every measurable offensive category.

The national perspective gives just a slight edge to Alabama.

LSU hasn't had much of a passing attack this season. Mettenberger is averaging just 177 yards per game and only has seven touchdown passes in eight games. He's failed to hit a 60 percent completion rate in his last five games.

It's possible the extra week off was enough to right some issues. Perhaps if it were facing a less-accomplished defense, it might be able to present an impressive aerial show.

But it is playing Alabama with offensive woes that seem more systemic than players just not quite being on the same page.

Some early predictions have this as a high-scoring game, but I don't see either team putting up big numbers.

Predicted Score: Alabama 27, LSU 13

 

Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and Seattle Seahawks.

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