There aren’t many things better in college football than a battle between top-five teams in Death Valley on a Saturday night, and that’s exactly what we’re going to get when the Alabama Crimson Tide come in as the undefeated number one team in the country against the number four LSU Tigers.
With control over the SEC West on the line, expect both teams to put everything they have into this game. Alabama comes into this top-five showdown as a whopping 14.5 point favorite against the Tigers at BetOnline.
Alabama is number one in the country in scoring at 54.1 points per game. For years, people have wondered how good the Alabama offense could be if Nick Saban had an elite quarterback to work with. The answer is this juggernaut of an offense that is putting up over 50 points per contest.
Through the air, Alabama is fifth in the nation in passing offense, averaging 347.4 yards per game. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is completing 70% of his passes, is averaging 13.6 yards per attempt, and has thrown 25 touchdown passes to zero interceptions on the season. His QBR, a number that goes from 0-100 in measuring quarterback effectiveness, is 97.3. He is a cheat code for a team that has no need for them given how much better they are than everyone as it is.
Alabama is good on the ground, too, sitting in 30th in rushing offense on the season with 216.9 yards per game. They have an Incredibly balanced ground attack, with four players carrying the ball 50 times or more on the season. With both Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts both capable of using their legs from the quarterback position, there really isn’t much this team can’t do offensively.
What is so scary about Alabama’s offensive numbers is that Tua Tagovailoa has yet to play a fourth quarter yet on the season. Their numbers could be much higher and even more impressive if he had to play late in games, or if Nick Saban wanted to really run up the score on their opponents, which would be insanely fun to watch.
Alabama is 10th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 15.9 points per game. When your offense can’t be stopped, it’s much easier to play defense, as you’re usually on the sidelines while the offense keeps the other team off the field.
Despite all of the superlatives, there is some pressure on Alabama in this game, as a loss would drop them behind LSU in the SEC West standings as LSU would have the tiebreaker over the Tide. Alabama has games against Mississippi State, The Citadel, and Auburn remaining on their schedule, so there won’t be any looking ahead by Nick Saban’s crew.
LSU Tigers Week 10 Analysis
LSU is seventh in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 15.1 points per game on the season. Of course, they have yet to play an offense like Alabama’s, so it will be interesting to see which team gets the better of this strength-on-strength matchup.
The Tigers are 61st in scoring offense at 30.4 points per game. Alabama has nearly put up that many points in single quarters this season, which is to say that the Tigers will either need to step up their offensive production or play great defense in this game to make sure that their offense can keep up.
They are 43rd in rushing offense, putting up 190.6 yards per game. LSU is very much a “three yards and cloud of dust” kind of football team, as they have given the ball to Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire a combined 256 times heading into this game. The team is averaging 4.3 yards per carry, against defenses that aren’t nearly as good as Alabama’s.
LSU is 102nd in passing at 193 yards per game. Joe Burrow has just six touchdown passes on the entire season, and is completing just under 54% of his passes in 2018. Those numbers are not going to be good enough to beat Alabama.
Ed Orgeron’s squad has already beaten four of the five ranked teams that they’ve faced this season. Perhaps the biggest advantage that LSU has in this game is the fact that they are battle-tested when compared to the Crimson Tide, who have played just one ranked opponent heading into this game. All of those games against ranked opponents have helped the Tigers sharpen their teeth this season, all so they can bite their rivals in this specific matchup.
LSU has games remaining against Arkansas, Rice, and a tricky Texas A&M team on the road to close out their regular season after this game, and could set themselves up nicely for a chance at a playoff appearance with a win.
Alabama vs LSU Trends
Heading into this game, the Crimson Tide are a perfect 8-0 straight up on the season and 5-3 against the spread. Generally speaking, road games are not a problem for Nick Saban’s team, as they are 15-7 against the spread in their last 22 road games. Not all of those road games have come in places as difficult to play as LSU, though.
LSU, meanwhile, is 7-1 straight up on the year and 5-3 against the spread. The Tigers are 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 games in SEC play. They are also 11-4 against the spread in their last 15 games and 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games at home. They’ll need every bit of that home field advantage against Alabama.
Despite everything being so great with Alabama right now, it’s hard to justify taking the Crimson Tide laying this many points on the road in Death Valley. The atmosphere for this game will be insane, and this game is historically close between the two teams. If LSU can stem the Tide, so to speak, with their defense, they could give themselves a real shot here.