The first NCAA football game of the season is just a few days away, and that means that it’s time for handicappers to dust off their crystal balls and update their early betting lines for the game. As always, we at OddsMaga are here to help, so let’s dive in and see what the odds movements for next week’s big game are pointing to.
LSU At +140
One of the first noticeable trends heading into next week’s LSU-Alabama matchup is the number of online sportsbooks offering sportsbooks with odds on the game. As you may know, the NCAA prohibits betting locations from taking wagers on college football games, but that hasn’t stopped some sites from setting up shop in states where it’s legal to do so. Thus far, most of those online sportsbooks have had LSU as the favorite, but the public’s perception of that school may be changing as the betting lines move in favor of Alabama. To better understand how and why the spread is shifting, let’s take a quick look at LSU’s and Alabama’s recent football history.
LSU Is 6-1 ATS In Its Last 7 Games While ATS On The Overall Series Is Just 4-4
Last year, LSU stunned the college football world by upsetting the traditional Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Since then, the Tigers have been nothing short of dominant, winning their first seven games of the season by a combined score of 282-42. During that stretch, LSU went 7-0 ATS, outscoring their opponents by an average of 35.9 points per game.
However, the team’s incredible start to the season didn’t continue, as they lost their next two games by a combined score of 74-40. Since then, the Tigers have gone on a five-game winning streak, during which they were surprisingly successful on the road, going 4-1 ATS. Even more surprisingly, LSU’s home games during that span were mostly low-scoring affairs. In four home games this year, the Tigers have only scored 14 or more points twice, giving them an average of 7.25 points per game. On the other hand, LSU is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games this year, outscoring their opponents by an average of 25.6 points per game.
That’s a major reason why the betting lines are moving in favor of Alabama. Although both teams are very good, the edge goes to the defending national champion and likely rematch from last year’s college football playoffs.
Alabama Is 9-0 ATS In Its Last 9 Games While ATS On The Overall Series Is Just 7-4-1
In contrast to LSU, Alabama’s 2018 season started and ended in disappointment. The Crimson Tide only won three games in regular season play, their bowl game appearance was their only bright spot. Since then, however, Alabama has gone on a nine-game winning streak, during which they were dominant, outscoring their opponents by an average of 49.2 points per game.
The streak ended with a last-minute loss to LSU in the SEC Championship Game, but the damage had already been done. Alabama finished the 2019 season as the No. 2 team in the country, one game behind LSU.
Since then, the team is determined to put last year’s loss behind them and get back to their winning ways. They accomplished that in dramatic fashion, winning their last four games by a combined score of 335-134. During that stretch, they went 9-0 ATS, outscoring their opponents by an average of 42.8 points per game. Most of those games were low-scoring affairs, with Alabama winning by 10 points or less four times and by seven points or less twice. That gave them an average of 7.3 points per game.
In their past nine games, Alabama is 9-0 ATS, scoring an average of 28.6 points per game while allowing their opponents to score 10.3 points per game. Those numbers would be even more impressive if not for the fact that they’ve played the third-toughest schedule in the country during that span.
In addition to looking at raw numbers, it’s also important to analyze trends and patterns. From a statistical standpoint, one of the most revealing points of comparison is how each team handles close games. With the exception of one frustrating loss to Auburn, Alabama has been victorious in every game decided by seven points or fewer. That makes them 7-0 ATS in such games, with their only loss coming in an 11-point win over Missouri in the season opener. LSU, however, is 4-4 ATS in close games, with four of their losses coming by seven points or fewer.
Looking at the two teams’ overall body of work, it’s clear that Alabama is the superior program when it comes to winning big games and closing out the deals, while LSU is the more consistent team when it comes to close games. In other words, the betting public’s perception of LSU is changing, and that’s probably a good thing for the defending national champion. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. If you liked LSU’s upset bid last year, you’ll love their comeback attempt in 2020. If you’re looking for an upset, your best bet is on Alabama.