Alabama vs. LSU NCAAF Week 10: The Battle of the SEC West

john emery jr lsu tigers ncaa football
John Emery Jr. #4 of the LSU Tigers hurdles Rashad Torrence II #22 of the Florida Gators during the first half of a game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. James Gilbert/Getty Images/AFP

The Alabama Crimson Tide failed to beat Tennessee a few weeks ago, but things are still on track for them this season. They control their own destiny, but they enter a must-win situation against the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge.

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU Tigers

Saturday, November 5, 2022 – 07:00 PM EDT at Tiger Stadium

The winner of this game takes possession of first place in the SEC West, and that team can win out and make it to the SEC Championship. For Alabama, this means a chance to reach the College Football Playoffs. For LSU, this would put them in contention for a massive bowl game.

LSU had a soft start to the year, but things have turned around after a strong win against Ole Miss. After a bye week, the Tigers face one of their biggest rivals at night. Can they upset the Tide?

Here are some key details when betting on this game along with some picks at the end. Let’s start with the history of this rivalry.

Alabama vs. LSU Rivalry Facts

Alabama has won 10 of the last 11 meetings between these teams. The only loss during that span was when Joe Burrow and company came to Tuscaloosa with one of the best rosters in the history of college football.

The only time Alabama has lost in Baton Rouge during the Saban era was in 2010. This was the year after Alabama won the title, and LSU was on the rise. The Tigers were favored to win, and they did just that.

This rivalry also carries extra weight because Nick Saban won a national championship at LSU. After leaving for the NFL, he returned to Alabama to coach college ball. This adds to the bad blood between these schools, and the fact that Alabama has beaten LSU in a national championship game does not help matters.

The Value of a Night Game

Alabama was hoping to play this game in the traditional 02:30 CST slot, but that did not happen because of the game between Georgia and Tennessee. Now, Alabama has to travel to Baton Rouge and play at night.

Death Valley is one of the toughest places to play, and playing at night does not make things any better. This will be a true test for the Tide as they have struggled on the road this season.

This year specifically, Alabama has seen countless mental errors and pre-snap penalties. If that keeps up in a hostile environment, it will be even harder for the Tide to cover this spread.

However, Alabama has had some magical moments at night in this stadium. Alabama has won in overtime and created Heisman moments. DeVonta Smith made one-handed catches, and TJ Yeldon caught a screen to take the lead back. Everything seems to go well for Alabama despite the toughness of the situation.

Keys for Each Team

Alabama has to establish the run game in this one. LSU’s biggest weakness is its rushing defense, and Alabama has the backs to take care of business. Jahmyr Gibbs and Jase McClellan each need to make big plays to open things up for the receivers in the second half.

For LSU, you can’t let Bryce Young have all the time in the world to make plays in the pocket. He can distribute the ball better than almost anyone, so giving him time to make a play is not the way to go. You need to force quick decisions and hope his receivers make mistakes.

Jayden Daniels also needs to use his legs to extend drives. Hendon Hooker did this brilliantly against the Alabama defense a few weeks ago. With how much man coverage they run, there is a chance to scramble for first downs if you can get past the initial pass rush.

Time for Picks

Alabama is favored by 13 points, but the spread opened around 17. The fact that this is officially a night game plays a factor, and LSU looked its best the last time we saw the Tigers play. With this significant drop, is there still value for the Tigers to cover?

It won’t be easy, but I like LSU in this one since they are playing at home. The crowd will be electric, and Alabama has faltered in big moments. The team struggles against the spread on the road, and I expect a similar result.

I like this to be a low-scoring bout with Alabama winning while failing to cover the spread.

NCAAF Pick: LSU +13 (-110) at BetMGM

NCAAF Pick: Under 58.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook