SEC Showdown in Baton Rouge: #1 Alabama Crimson Tide at #15 LSU Tigers

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide at #15 LSU Tigers
Saturday, November 5, 2016, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Tiger Stadium – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Opening Line: Alabama -7 1/2
Current Line: Alabama -7
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 45
Opening Money Line: Alabama -275 / LSU +235
Current Money Line: Alabama -325 / LSU +265

LSU looks to upset rival Alabama Saturday in Baton Rouge.
LSU looks to upset rival Alabama Saturday in Baton Rouge.

The 8-0 Alabama Crimson Tide complete a challenging four game gauntlet as they travel to the 5-2 LSU Tigers Saturday. Alabama is 5-0 in the SEC West and ranked #1 in the initial playoff  rankings released this week. LSU is 3-1 and behind 4-1 Texas A&M and Auburn as well. The Tigers have won three straight games since Les Miles was fired and replaced by interim coach Ed Orgeron.

Alabama leads the series 50-25-2 against LSU. The Crimson Tide have won five straight games in the series including 30-16 last year in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama is coached by Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide have a neutral site win over USC 52-6 in Arlington, Texas, home wins over Western Kentucky 38-10, Kent State 48-0, Kentucky 34-6 and Texas A&M 33-14 two weeks ago. Alabama also has  road wins at Ole Miss 48-43, Arkansas 49-30 and Tennessee 49-10.  Alabama was an 18 point favorite against Texas A&M and the total was 59. The Crimson Tide are 6-2 ATS and the total is 4-4 this season.

LSU has a neutral site loss to Wisconsin 16-14 in Green Bay and a loss at Auburn 18-13. The Tigers have home wins over Jacksonville State 34-13, Mississippi St 23-20, Missouri 42-7, Southern Miss 45-10, and Ole Miss 38-21 two weeks ago. LSU was an 8.5 point favorite against Ole Miss and the total was 59. The Tigers are 3-4 ATS and the total is 0-5-2.

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Alabama is outscoring teams 44-15 this season. Alabama is #8 in scoring and #4 in points allowed nationally.  The Crimson Tide average 498 yards per game on offense including 230 passing and 268 rushing yards. Alabama is in the top 17 nationally in total and rushing offense.  Alabama is allowing 275 yards per game on defense including 204 passing and 71 rushing. The Crimson Tide are #4 in total offense and #1 against the rush nationally. The Crimson Tide are +4 in turnovers with 16 takeaways. Alabama averages 50 penalty yards per game and opponents average 37 per game. The Crimson Tide is 59/119 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 42/139. Alabama has forced 32 sacks and allowed 15 this season. The Crimson Tide are 31/37 scoring in the red zone with 23 touchdowns, and opponents are 13/16 with six touchdowns. Alabama has 9 defensive touchdowns and 3 punt returns for touchdowns. The Crimson Tide have scored a non-offensive touchdown in 10 straight games.

True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has thrown for 1,578 yards with 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and has 95 carries  for 521 yards with 9 touchdowns. Blake Barnett took a few snaps and has thrown for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns. He left the program and transferred though. Cooper Bateman could also see a few snaps.

Running back Damien Harris has 86 carries for 700 yards and a touchdown and also has 8 catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. Joshua Jacobs has 54 catches for 378 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 7 catches for  96 yards. Bo Scarbrough has 51 carries for 305 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is questionable with an illness. B.J. Emmons has 35 carries for 173 yards and a touchdown. He is out indefinitely with a foot injury.

Receiver Calvin Ridley has 44 catches for 497 yards and 5 touchdowns plus a rushing touchdown. ArDarius Stewart has 28 catches for 472 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 4 carries for 58 rushing yards and a touchdown. Gehrig Dieter has 8 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown. Tight end O.J. Howard has 22 catches for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns.

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LSU is outscoring teams 30-15 this season. LSU is #5 in points allowed nationally.  The Tigers average 424 yards per game on offense including 184 passing and 240 rushing yards. LSU is #20 in rushing nationally.  LSU allows 314 yards per game on defense including 210 passing and 104 rushing yards per game. LSU is #13 or better in both total and rush defense. The Tigers are -1 in turnovers with 11 giveaways. LSU averages 47 penalty yards per game and opponents average 43 yards per game. LSU is 35/84 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 42/125. The Tigers have forced 20 sacks and allowed 11 this season. LSU is 16/20 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns and opponents are 18/20 with 6 touchdowns.

Quarterback Danny Etling, a transfer from Purdue took over for an ineffective Brandon Harris. Etling has thrown for 1,129 yards with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and also has 23 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown. Harris had 139 passing yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions.

Running back Leonard Fournette missed several games with an ankle injury. He has 83 carries for 670 yards and 5 touchdowns, and has 12 catches for 94 yards. Derrius Guice has 78 carries for 621 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus 5 catches for 66 yards. Darrel Williams has 31 carries for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 4 catches.

Receiver Malachi Dupre has 23 catches for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns. D.J. Chark has 16 catches for 269 yards and 3 touchdowns. Travin Dural has 24 catches for 246 yards and a touchdown.  DeSean Smith has 4 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Two offensive linemen and four defensive players are on the injury report for LSU.

Alabama is 5-0 ATS in November, 4-0 against teams with winning records, 6-1 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 5-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more, after gaining 350 yards or more and passing for less than 170 yards, 8-2 against teams with winning home records, in road games, and on grass, 4-1 after a straight up win, and overall, and 9-4 after allowing less than 20 points. The road team is 14-6-1 ATS in this series recently. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in this series recently. The Crimson Tide are 4-1 ATS against LSU and 8-3 in Baton Rouge recently.

LSU is 5-1 ATS after a cover, 4-1 against teams with winning road records, 7-3 after a bye week, 2-5 after accumulating 150 yards or more, and 3-9 in November. The under is 6-1 in this series recently including 4-0 in Baton Rouge.

LSU’s offense has improved drastically under Orgeron, but this will be a battle of two of the best defenses in the country. Orgeron took over as the interim coach at USC several years from then head coach Lane Kiffin, who is now Alabama’s offensive coordinator. This game will be close but Alabama simply has too much.

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