No. 1 Alabama at LSU Betting Preview

Saturday, December 5, 2020, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 7 p.m. ET

Crimson Tide at Tigers Betting Preview: Crimson Tide (-28.5), Tigers (+28.5)

Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Preview

No. 1 Alabama expects to have coach Nick Saban back on the sideline when it plays at LSU.

The Crimson Tide (8-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) is a four-touchdown favorite as Saban is set to return from a one-game absence after testing positive for COVID-19 to face the program he coached from 2000-2004. 

He began this week coaching from home as he awaited an evaluation from the university medical staff. 

“I don’t anticipate any problems in being able to coach the game this week,” Saban said.

Alabama didn’t miss a beat with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian filling in for Saban. The Tide routed Auburn 42-13 in the Iron Bowl last week.

Tide quarterback Mac Jones remains among the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy. He is having a season comparable to the historic one last year’s Heisman winner — LSU quarterback Joe Burrow — had for the undefeated national champion Tigers. Jones has completed 76.2 percent of his passes for an average of 341 yards a game with 23 touchdowns and only three interceptions. 

Burrow led the visiting Tigers to a 46-41 victory that ended an eight-game losing streak against the Tide last season.

The Tide might only have that for motivation but another memory from last year as well.

Several Tigers ran to the end zone stands and encouraged high-school recruits in attendance to spurn the Tide for their program, and LSU coach Ed Orgeron was caught chanting a disrespectful version of “Roll Tide” in the post-game locker room.

“That is something we definitely remember,” Tide wide receiver John Metchie said. “But I feel like our coaches say all the time — to play with emotion and not be emotional. I think that’s how we’re looking at this game.”

LSU Tigers Betting Preview

The Tigers (3-4, 3-5 SEC) are looking at this game as an opportunity to show improvement in what has been a disappointing season. But they will do so without one of their key contributors, receiver Terrace Marshall Jr.

Marshall has been the Tigers’ most productive player this season and has decided to opt out and focus on the NFL Draft. He made the announcement less than 24 hours after a 20-7 loss at No. 5 Texas A&M last week.

“He did a lot of things for us,” Orgeron said. “He just thought this was the time to opt out. We’re going to respect his decision. He’ll always be a great Tiger.”

Marshall’s departure follows that of reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Ja’Marr Chase during preseason camp.

The depleted wide-receiver corps makes things even more difficult for freshman quarterbacks TJ Finley and Max Johnson as they fill in for injured starter Myles Brennan.

The offense didn’t score against Texas A&M until the final minute of the game, spoiling what Orgeron called the defense’s best performance of the season.

Despite the improvement against the Aggies, the Tigers still rank No. 13 in the SEC in pass defense in yielding just over 302 yards a game through the air. Alabama has the No. 2 passing offense with its 358 yards a game average.

This game was scheduled to be played Nov.14, but was postponed because LSU had a shortage of players due to COVID issues.

“Playing Alabama is a great rivalry for us, a great game over the years for us, a tremendous challenge,” Orgeron said. “They’re the No. 1 team in the country coming to Tiger Stadium.

“This is about us getting our team ready to play a great game, doing the best that we possibly can.”

Crimson Tide at Tigers Betting Pick for December 5, 2020

The Tigers won last year’s meeting 46-41 on their way to the 2019 national title, but the Tide have dominated the series 53-26-5. Before last season’s loss, the Tide had an eight-game winning streak in the series, including a 29-0 win in 2018 in the last meeting in Baton Rouge. 

Crimson Tide at Tigers Betting Pick:

Crimson Tide 45, Tigers 10

Crimson Tide at Tigers Best Bet for December 5, 2020

The Tide have upped their defensive performance since a 63-48 victory over Ole Miss back on October 10. They gave up 24 points their next outing against Georgia and 17 to Tennessee the next week but have allowed only 16 points in their last three games. The Tigers’ last three games include a 27-24 win at Arkansas, a 48-11 loss at Auburn and a 20-7 loss at Texas A&M.

Crimson Tide at Tigers Best Bet: UNDER 67.5.