LSU The regular season college football ‘Super Bowl’ takes place on Saturday as SEC powerhouses Alabama and LSU face off in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Obviously this is a huge game for the mainstream fans and will go a long way in determining the eventual BCS champion, but will it be a good betting proposition?

LSU AT ALABAMA NOVEMBER 5, 2011 5:00 PM PACIFIC

It doesn’t get any better than this–#1 vs. #2 with all of the buildup you’d expect from such a titanic battle. Both teams are coming off bye weeks and have been slaughtering the opposition all year both SU and ATS. Alabama is 8-0 SU/7-1 ATS with their only non-cover against lowly North Texas (won by 41 as a -47 favorite). LSU is 8-0 SU/6-2 ATS with their only non covers coming in their opening game against Northwestern State (won by 46 as -50 point favorites) and against Kentucky (won by 28 as -29′ point favorites). Both teams have tough defenses, potent offenses and first rate head coaches. So how do we differentiate between the two sides?

The public perception and most power ratings suggest that Alabama is qualitatively superior and to be sure the Crimson Tide is excellent. I’m not sure that LSU hasn’t been underrated all year due more to mainstream sports media narratives than anything they’ve done (or haven’t done) on the field. The Bayou Bengals have dealt with suspensions and some trepidation about quarterback Jarrett Lee. There’s been some sense that Lee has ‘overachieved’ but you can’t argue with the numbers he’s been putting up. Alabama, meanwhile, was expected to be this good and they’ve delivered. That fact—as well as the Tuscaloosa venue—has them favored in this game.

Anyone who is familiar with SEC football knows that ‘bama and LSU get after it every time they play and that the huge implications of this #1 vs. #2 matchup is secondary to the fact that these programs just don’t like each other. There’s plenty of people suggesting that this will be a ‘close game’ but I’ve heard very few suggest that LSU has a chance to win this contest. This is even how I’ve equivocated on this contest all week—I think it’ll be a close game but I think Alabama will win. ‘Upon further review’, however, I’m going to change that position—LSU is fully capable of winning this game.

The Bayou Bengals won at home last season 24-21 and what was most impressive about their performance is how they were the more physical team on offense—LSU put up over 400 yards of total offense against ‘bama’s vaunted defense almost evenly split between rushing and passing. In my view, LSU may have the more potent and creative offense and its hard to see them being shut down by Alabama. Alabama is not without offensive playmakers, but they’ve had the tendency to bog down at various points this year (like the first half of the Tennessee game). They were able to overwhelm UT in the second half but that was a function of their superior depth—it’s doubtful they can do the same thing to LSU.

This has been a series dominated by the road team—the visitor has covered 11 of the last 15 meetings between the teams (11-3-1 ATS) and LSU is 6-3 SU/5-2-2 ATS in their last 9 games at Alabama. I’m not of the opinion that Alabama is overrated—they’re as good as billed—but LSU may be somewhat underrated. The Bayou Bengals are in this one throughout and could pull off the outright win.

Bet LSU +5′ over Alabama

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