LSU at AlabamaSaturday, 5 pm PT - CBSCRIS Opener:
Alabama -20 O/U 50CRIS Current:
Alabama -21 O/U 48.5Recommendation:
LSU has had its fair share of issues this season. The passing game, Ed Orgeron sticking his nose in where it doesn't belong, Danny Etling, Matt Canada's new offense...the list goes on. But when they Tigers have really struggled, all of those things take a back seat to offensive line play. With a handful of young and inexperienced players, LSU's o-line has had an extremely difficult time both pass and run blocking. The run game is still averaging over 200 ypg but more by attrition (42.6 attempts per game) than ability. Compared to last season, the Tigers are down a full yard per carry (5.07). This weekend's matchup has the potential to expose this unit in a big way.
Alabama's strength of schedule thus far doesn't look all that impressive in large part because a majority of their opponents have vastly underachieved. But the ability to dominate no matter who the foe is obviously still there. The Crimson Tide have outscored their five SEC opponents by 200 points. And while LSU marks arguably their toughest foe to-date, LSU's body of work really isn't all that impressive. There's the blowout loss to Mississippi State, a lackluster performance vs. Syracuse, a home loss to Troy, a fortunate win over Florida, and another fortunate win over Auburn in which War Eagle basically handed LSU the game. And two weeks ago, a solid win and cover over lower-tier Ole Miss. Last season, LSU was +1.62 ypp better than SEC foes
and still failed to score a point in a 10-0 loss to the Crimson Tide. This year's edition is a far more modest +0.46. Note that in that loss to Alabama, behind a far better offensive line, LSU managed only 33 rushing yards and 125 total yards.
I'm not sure how Alabama will play it: load the box and blitz Etling till he gets knocked out of the game, or rush three or four and force LSU's non-existent big play passing game to beat them. Either way, the line of scrimmage matchup is lopsided enough where I feel comfortable laying the three touchdown spread.