There is no question that the Alabama Crimson Tide are making a B-line to the college football playoff. They began the season with a 52-6 win over the USC Trojans and seem to be getting better as the season has progressed. They take their #1 national ranking into a rather dangerous place on Saturday night, as they take on the LSU Tigers in an SEC game that is set to begin at 8 PM ET. The site is Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, CBS televises it, and BetAnySports customers can place wagers, even after the opening kickoff, as they access the wonders of Live Betting Ultra, which allows for real time betting like you’ve never seen before.
Here is a team that scores almost as much on defense (nine TD’s) than some teams score on offense. And then there is the offense, which has come along quite well for head coach Nick Saban and coordinator Lane Kiffin. A lot of people see Kiffin in a rather monolithic way, because he comes off as immature and unpopular in a lot of places. But he is also someone with a football mind, and no one knows that better than his opponent here. Ed Orgeron began the season as the defensive line coach at LSU, but then when the Bayou Bengals lost to Auburn, school administration let Les Miles go and put Orgeron into the interim head coaching position.
Coach O, as he is called, has handled this kind of situation before, as he replaced Kiffin when he was unceremoniously fired at USC. Like he did with the Trojans, Orgeron (who has also been the head coach at Ole Miss) has injected some life into the situation in Baton Rouge. The Tigers have won three straight by double digits, and they beat the Rebels in one of those. Now they are 13th in the playoff rankings, 14th with the coaches poll and 15th in the Associated Press poll. Alabama, of course, is #1 everywhere.
In the college football betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Tide is laying some lumber on the road:
Alabama Crimson Tide -7.5 (-120)
LSU Tigers +7.5 (+100)
Over 45 points -110
Under 45 points -110
Kiffin is having some success with first-year quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is moving along very fast. We mean that in the literal sense of the word. Hurts gives the Tide a guy who can really run with the ball, and that is something Saban has not always gotten out of his QB’s. Hurts has 521 yards rushing with NINE touchdowns, and he is 63% accurate throwing the ball too. There is obviously a lot of talent in this receiving corps; Calvin Ridley (44 receptions, 497 yards) and ArDarius Stewart (28 catches, 472 yards) will someday be making sizable contributions in the NFL, while tight end OJ Howard might be the top tight end available for the draft.
The idea of a passing game at LSU is not something a lot of people were even talking about at the beginning of the season. That’s because, as BetAnySports patrons know, Brandon Harris wasn’t much good throwing the ball. But Purdue transfer Danny Etling (60.5%, just three INT’s in 147 attempts) have given opposing defensive coordinators something to think about. LSU’s wide receivers, Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural, are every bit as good as those of Alabama.
Of course, the Tigers are still going to run first. That means a heavy dose of Leonard Fournette, who has 670 yards on an 8.1-yard average, as well as Darrius Guice, an emerging sophomore with similar numbers (621 yards, 8 ypc). But Fournette had no success against ‘Bama last season, with only 31 yards, and the Tide is once again super-stingy against opposition ground attacks, allowing 70.1 yards per game and 2.18 yards per carry, both of which lead the nation. On an overall basis, Alabama is 4th in the nation in total defense, while LSU is 13th. A tight game? Maybe. But one of these Tiger running backs has to break loose.
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