Alabama and LSU are the top two teams in the nation. The Crimson Tide are No. 1 in the AP Top 25, while the Tigers are No. 1 in the Coaches Poll. They’re both No. 2 where not No. 1.
Come Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, the top two college football programs will settle the debate – at least temporarily – as to which team is truly the nation’s best.
The Westgate SuperBook opened Alabama as the favorite, spotting LSU a touchdown (over/under 64 points). The spread has since shortened slightly to 6.5 points. The Las Vegas consensus stands at 6.5 as of Monday afternoon. The game kicks off at 3:30 pm ET in Alabama.
Crimson Tide superstar quarterback Tua Tagovailoa remains questionable. He suffered a high ankle sprain October 20, and returned to practice 10 days later.
“If he can play in the game, it’ll be a game-time decision,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said today. The Heisman Trophy runner-up suffered the same injury a year ago on his opposite ankle.
Unlike in the NFL, which requires its teams to release injury reports, the NCAA doesn’t adhere to such a practice. That’s primarily due to collegiate athletes remaining “amateurs,” and therefore their health privacy is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).
In the NFL, players are considered employees, and therefore waive their right to keep their specific medical statuses private. In the wake of the expansion of legal sports betting markets in the US, college conference commissioners and NCAA officials have sought to require “player availability” reports to help protect game integrity.
Saban is saying more about Tua than he’s actually required.
He looked pretty good [in practice],” Jeudy said regarding his quarterback’s status. “He came out there after doing his rehab. He looked good and he looked comfortable.”
The biggest game of the 2019 NCAA season so far, Saturday’s winner in Tuscaloosa will greatly increase their chances at securing one of the four College Football Playoff spots.
College Football Futures
The ESPN Football Power Index matchup predictor – a computer program that simulates a game 10,000 times in order to forecast an outcome – gives Alabama a 71.9 percent shot at winning on Saturday.
And that’s why LSU – No. 2 in the AP and No. 1 in the Coaches Poll – is at +800 to win the National Championship. The Tigers’ odds are behind Clemson (+175), Alabama (+250), and Ohio State (+300). Georgia rounds out the top five at +1800.
As for the Heisman Trophy, Tua’s absence against Arkansas lengthened his odds a bit. He was the betting favorite at +105 prior to his injury, but is now +300.
LSU QB Joe Burrow has emerged as the frontrunner, his Heisman odds currently at +150. Oklahoma Sooners QB Jalen Hurts is next, with Tagovailoa at +300.
Oklahoma has been responsible for the last two Heisman winners: Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, who are both now starting in the NFL.