Lovers of high-scoring games and haters of the SEC won’t like it, but the BCS National Championship Game is a rematch between the top ranked LSU Tigers and the second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, as this marks the first time in BCS history that two teams from the same conference are meeting for the championship.
The two defenses dominated in the regular season meeting in Tuscaloosa, as LSU won it 9-6 in overtime in a battle of field goals.
These teams are perceived so evenly that the line on this game is a Pick, with the total set at 40.
1. Why LSU will cover the spread: LSU will cover the spread if it contains Alabama running back Trent Richardson as well as it did in the first meeting. Richardson ran for 89 yards, but he averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry and obviously could not find the end zone, and this is someone who averaged 6.0 yards over the entire season with 20 touchdowns.
Another key to LSU covering is running the ball effectively, and they did succeed vs. the great Alabama defense the first go-around, rushing for 148 yards. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson rushed for 43 of them, and he figures to be effective again in the option.
2. Why Alabama will cover the spread: Alabama will cover this spread if quarterback A.J. McCarron has some passing success early in the game. In fact, it may be a great strategy to have McCarron come out throwing on the first drive, if for no other reason, to loosen up the LSU defense in order for Richardson to find some holes later that were not there in the regular season meeting.
Another key to an Alabama cover is to get LSU into third-and-long situations when the Tide are on defense. This is especially true when Jefferson is in the game, as he is more prone to committing turnovers in pressure situations than the other LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee, who is a better game manager. That being said, Lee did throw two interceptions on only seven pass attempts in the first meeting.
3. Total Talk: We were shocked when the regular season meeting between these teams had a total of 41, and we are just as shocked at this total of 40 in the rematch in light of the first result. No, we did not expect 9-6 the first time, but we did expect the two best defenses in the country to dominate the game, and nothing has happened to change that opinion for this game.
Just about the only risk we see to this ‘under’ is if Alabama Coach Nick Saban heeds our advice and allows McCarron to cut loose early, but history tells us that Saban will remain stubborn and continue to force-feed his horse the pigskin no matter how many times LSU stuffs him.
4. Betting Trends for the game: LSU has earned its top spot by going 8-1 ATS in its last nine games vs. teams with winning records. Also, the ‘under’ is 14-3 in the last 17 Alabama games on artificial turf, as well as in the last 13 LSU games after allowing less than 100 rushing yards last game.
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