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How and what to watch for No. 1 Alabama vs. LSU

The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide travel to Baton Rouge for a matchup with the wounded and struggling LSU Tigers.

Alabama running back Najee Harris runs against Auburn at Bryant-Denny Stadium in the Iron Bowl.  Mickey Welsh-USA TODAY Sports

The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide’s march toward its inevitable College Football Playoff appearance takes it through Baton Rouge this week. There, Alabama will find the struggling but still feisty LSU Tigers.

Any discussion of Saturday’s matchup will focus on those not in attendance. For Alabama, head coach Nick Saban remains sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19 shortly before last Saturday’s Iron Bowl. While Saban told reporters this week that he expects to return to the team in the not-too-distant future, he appears likely to spend another game at home. In his stead, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will again serve as interim head coach.

Meanwhile, LSU has not yet decided which quarterback to start against Alabama. The position has remained in flux since starter Myles Brennan suffered a season-ending abdominal tear. With Brennan on the shelf, TJ Finley has seen most of the action but played largely uninspired football. The freshman tossed a pick-six a week ago, forcing the coaching staff to insert backup Max Johnson.

While LSU head coach Ed Orgeron has hesitated on declaring a starter for Saturday’s game, Alabama shouldn’t have too many issues with either. While far from the greatest Crimson Tide defense of the Saban era, the unit still ranks in the top 25 nationally in success rate.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch No. 1 Alabama versus LSU on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS, or you can stream it via the CBS Sports app with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Alabama (-29.5) vs. LSU
Point Total: 66
Money line: N/A

  • Since 2015, Alabama has a road record of 14-9-0 against the spread (13-9-0 as the road favorite).
  • Also during that period, the Crimson Tide have an over record of 13-10-0 on the road (13-9-0 as the road favorite).
  • LSU has a 17-17-1 home record against the spread since 2015 (2-2-0 as the home underdog).
  • Also since 2015, the Tigers has an over record of 17-15-3 at home (2-2-0 as the home underdog).

Betting splits

Alabama: (86% of handle, 78% percent of bets)
LSU: (14% of handle, 22% percent of bets)

The Best Bet

LSU’s quarterback issues, along with recent opt-outs, could make this game even more one-sided than it appeared a month ago. Alabama doesn’t need Saban to cover.

Pick: Alabama (-29.5)

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