Alabama owns Arkansas as of late, winning the last nine meetings outright, but the Razorbacks have covered the spread the last two meetings and given the Crimson Tide good games as underdogs. Arkansas hopes to do more than give Alabama a good game when the teams meet for the 25th season in a row Saturday in Fayetteville.
Point spread: The Crimson Tide opened as 13-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 44.8-27.8 Crimson Tide (College football picks on every game)
Why the Alabama Crimson Tide can cover the spread
The defending national champs still reign as the top-ranked team in the country after brushing off Kentucky last week, 34-6. The Tide spotted the Wildcats an early field goal but took the lead for good early in the second quarter on a short Joshua Jacobs run and pulled away from there, although they couldn’t quite cover as 37-point favorites.
Alabama outgained Kentucky 488-161, as freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns, against zero interceptions, hooking up with wide receiver Calvin Ridley 11 times for 175 of those yards and both of those scores. The Tide also outrushed the Wildcats 173-72, as freshman Jacobs, starting in place of an ailing Damien Harris, ran 16 times for 100 yards and that one score.
The Tide have now outrushed every opponent this season by at least 100 yards, and that’s usually a good way to win games and cover spreads.
Why the Arkansas Razorbacks can cover the spread
The Hogs bounced back from their loss at Texas A&M two weeks ago to beat Alcorn State last week, 52-10. Arkansas scored on its first four possession to take a 24-0 lead after the first quarter, and while the Braves tried to make things interesting a couple of times after that, the Arkansas defense came up with a couple of turnovers to repel them. Like Alabama, though, the Razorbacks couldn’t quite cover a huge spread (-50).
Arkansas outgained Alcorn State 559-313, and most of the Braves’ yardage came after the outcome had been pretty much determined. The Hogs also ran the ball for 353 yards, as both freshman Devwah Whaley and sophomore Rawleigh Williams III hit the century mark. Also, quarterback Austin Allen threw three touchdown passes and now owns a 10-0 touchdown/interception ratio over his last four games.
Last year Arkansas led Alabama at the half in Tuscaloosa 7-3 and only trailed by a field goal through three quarters, then eventually lost 27-14 but covered as 16-point dogs.
The Razorbacks have played two quality opponents this season and got outgained by 169 and 100 yards by TCU and Texas A&M, respectively. Meanwhile, Alabama has held four of five opponents to 10 points or fewer. And playing on the road means the spread is more amenable. The smart money here rides the Tide.
Alabama is 9-0 SU in its last nine games against Arkansas.
The visiting team is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games in this matchup.
Arkansas is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games against teams with winning records.
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Source: Bleacher Report -SEC Football