The Crimson Tide have a chip on their collective shoulder after South Carolina ruined their perfect season and oddsmakers expect them to take it out on LSU, favoring Alabama by 6.5 points on the road this weekend.
Considering how bad LSU’s offense is, that number doesn’t seem all that crazy. The Tigers rank outside the national top 100 in offensive yards per game, which is insane considering their record. The problem is quarterbacking; Jordan Jefferson has been terrible, throwing two touchdown passes versus eight interceptions.
It’s amazing that Les Miles hasn’t tried giving the ball to Jarrett Lee entirely instead of mixing in both pivots. [View Alabama vs LSU Odds and Matchup Stats]
Given LSU’s struggles to score, it’s not a safe bet to beat the 6.5-point spread at home. This game also may fall UNDER the 44 points, as LSU is just as good defensively if not better than Alabama. Six of LSU’s last seven games have gone under the total. The Crimson Tide have beaten the spread six times in their last seven visits to LSU.
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With respect to the defending national champs, maybe Alabama’s game isn’t the biggest this week. What about undefeated, fourth-ranked TCU visiting undefeated, sixth-ranked Utah in a Mountain West war? The visiting Horned Frogs are five-point favorites. The spread largely reflects their amazing defense, which allows the fewest points (8.7) and yards (217.3) per game in the country.
Given that Utah’s offense stalled somewhat against Air Force’s lesser defense last week, totalling 327 yards, it could be in trouble against TCU. Picking the UNDER on the 51 points makes sense – especially since four of the last five meetings between these two teams have gone under the total. Another factor that should push TCU to victory: the running game. Air Force ran for 210 yards last week and the Horned Frogs could duplicate that effort with Ed Wesley in the backfield.
In another battle of 7-1 teams, Stanford hosts Arizona as a 9.5-point home favorite. Some bettors will hesitate to pick Stanford since the Wildcats have the 10th-ranked defense in the country. However, Arizona is only just starting to face the Pac-10’s top-notch offenses now. It gets Stanford, USC, and Oregon in consecutive weeks.
Look for Andrew Luck to expose the Wildcats and help Stanford cover the 9.5 points. Arizona is just 2-5 against the spread in its last seven meetings with Stanford. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this game go OVER the common sportsbook total of 56 points as well. Stanford’s last seven home games have gone over the total.
Averaging 42.4 points and 466.9 yards per game, the Cardinal could be poised to give Arizona a rude awakening this weekend.