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Alabama, LSU Square Off in Baton Rouge for SEC Supremacy

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LSU is an incredible 46-4 SU in home night games under head coach Les Miles, and I believe the Tigers have a legitimate chance to improve upon that success Saturday. The Tigers’ success is predicated upon an outstanding defense that is allowing 15.9 points per game at 4.9 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 27.6 points per game at 5.7 yards per play against a mediocre defensive squad.  LSU also possesses an outstanding secondary that is 1.5 yards per pass play better than average (5.5 yards per pass play to teams that would combine to average 7.0 yards per pass play).

I also like the fact that the Tigers are 5-1 SU and ATS at home this season where they are limiting opponents to mere 8.5 points per game and 279 total yards at 4.3 yards per play.  Overall, LSU is 0.1 yards per rush play, 1.5 yards per pass play and 0.8 yards per play better than average defensively this season, which is good enough to slow down a very good Alabama attack that is 1.4 yards per play better than average (6.9 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.5 yards per play).

The issue for Alabama investors is the fact that the Crimson Tide’s offense has been significantly less potent on the road where they are averaging just 5.9 yards per play, which is 1.0 yards per play below their season average.  Overall, Alabama possesses a 0.6 yards per play advantage offensively from the line of scrimmage, but that projection does not take into account the home/road dichotomy of both teams in 2014 (i.e. LSU better defensively at home; Alabama worse offensively on the road).

LSU takes the field with a decent offense that is 0.4 yards per play better than average (5.9 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.5 yards per play), but that is not good enough to have much success against a stout Alabama stop unit that is 1.2 yards per play better than average (4.4 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.6 yards per play).  However, the Tigers’ offense has been much more efficient at home where they are averaging 38.3 points per game at 5.1 yards per rush play, 9.6 yards per pass play, 6.4 yards per play and 12.1 yards per point.

My math model favors Alabama by 5.5-points so the line is fair, but the technical analysis strongly favors the Tigers. Game Nine conference favorites with rest are a money-burning 37-47-1 ATS since 1980, including 7-27-1 ATS on the road and 3-17-1 ATS when favored by less than thirteen points.  Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 11-16-1 ATS versus rested opponents in the regular season, including 1-8 ATS on the road versus .501 or greater opposition.

The Tide are also 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine games following a win, 3-9-1 ATS in November games, 0-6 ATS in their last six road games versus teams with a winning record and 0-5 ATS as SEC road favorites of less than ten points.  With LSU standing at 6-1 ATS in its last seven home games and 5-1 ATS in its last six games following a bye, grab the points with the Tigers and invest with confidence.

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