No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. No. 22 Arkansas Razorbacks (4-2 SU, 2-4 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Saturday October 15th, 2016. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Razorback Stadium Fayetteville, A.R.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MISS -7.5/ARK +7.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
After a week off, the no. 12 Ole Miss Rebels return to action this Saturday when they go on the road to faceoff with the no. 22 Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville. After suffering two early season losses to top 5 opponents, the Rebels rebounded to score solid wins over both Georgia and Memphis before their week vacation. Currently, the Rebels are the highest ranked two loss team in the country and rightfully so. However the SEC West is the most competitive division in college football and the Rebels face the daunting task of going on the road to Arkansas this Saturday night.
The Razorbacks suffered their 2nd loss of the season last Saturday at the hands of no. 1 Alabama. The loss was the 2nd straight conference defeat for the Razorbacks as they also suffered a loss to Texas A&M who just happens to be the only other unbeaten team in the SEC. Even with last week’s loss, there were some impressive moments for the Razorbacks. Historically Arkansas has been a run first team under Head Coach Bret Bielema. In fact, Bielem’s offenses have run the ball at more than a 60% clip over the last 3 seasons. However, this year the team has been more evenly balanced behind the arm of quarterback Austin Allen
In last week’s loss to Alabama, Allen attempted 48 passes as the Arkansas offense relied heavily on their passing game. Arkansas had a pretty good game plan against Alabama as they attacked the Crimson Tide secondary. Allen completed 25 of 48 passing for 400 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 picks. It was the first time in ages that Arkansas aired the ball out for nearly all 4 quarters of play and they did a very good job of doing so. In fact, if Arkansas could have just avoided the turnovers they could have potentially upset the Crimson Tide but they turned the ball over on 5 separate occasions.
For this week’s game, Arkansas may likely turn to Allen again to lead this offense. This Saturday’s matchup features two of the best quarterbacks in the SEC with Allen and Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly. The Rebels, like the Crimson Tide, have some vulnerability in their defensive secondary. Ole Miss is very athletic and physical upfront against the run but they have some concerns against the pass. Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams has been very good in the run game with 605 yards and 5 scores in the first 5 contest. However, I think that Arkansas will have to move the ball through the air before holes open up in the run game.
It’s the play of the Rebels defense and the outstanding play of Chad Kelly that makes Ole Miss so dangerous. In fact, those two reasons combined is the main contributor to the fact that Ole Miss is a touchdown favorite on the road at Arkansas. Otherwise, these two teams are pretty evenly matched. Kelly has been great this season hitting 66% of his passes for 1,596 yards with 13 touchdowns and just 4 picks through 5 football games. Ole Miss does not quite have the big playmakers on the outside that they have had in recent years. In fact, senior tight end Evan Engram actually leads the team with 479 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns on the season. Still, Kelly has the decision making and arm power to spread the ball around to find the open receiver. Therefore, it will be very interesting to see how this Arkansas defense defends against the pass and if they can get any pressure on Kelly to disrupt this Ole Miss offense.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Last year this game produced one of the most exciting games of the 2015 season that turned into an overtime thriller. While I am not sure if this year’s game can repeat the craziness of last year’s game, I do think there will be plenty of scoring in this game once again. Both offenses are hitting their stride right now and I expect plenty of touchdowns from both teams. Consider a play on the over once it’s released. Also consider a small play on Arkansas +7.5 for the side.
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