Alabama vs. Texas A&M Pick 10/12/19
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday October 12th, 2019. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Kyle Field College Station, T.X.
Point Spread:ALA -17/A&M +17 (Bovada)
Over/Under Total: 61
Before Alabama’s last game, I encourage readers to take the points with Ole Miss in a match-up where the Crimson Tide were listed as enormous 38 point favorites. I explicitly stated the Rebels should have success moving the football, and they were able to score 31 points against Alabama, marking the most points allowed for Nick Saban’s team in 2019. This week the Crimson Tide returns from an off week for a heavily anticipated battle with the no. 24 Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. The Aggies have suffered two defeats this year at the hands of top 10 ranked opponents (Clemson and Auburn) and just narrowly avoided another loss in their most recent road trip against Arkansas.
The Aggies are improving on both sides of the football in year number 2 of the Jimbo Fisher era, and it is apparent this program is gaining momentum. However, the Aggies are still searching for that program changing victory that will provide a catalyst to the program’s ascension. The Aggies will get that opportunity this week in a heavily anticipated showdown with top-ranked Alabama at home inside the confines of Kyle Field. While Aggies fans are hoping this is the breakout week of the Fisher era, I am here to tell everyone why it is time to jump back on the betting bandwagon with the Crimson Tide who are poised to trounce this 17 point betting line.
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Alabama will have opportunistic match-ups against Aggies
Breaking down college football lines mainly comes down to the match-ups, and each week the match-ups change, which exactly why you should avoid performance observations from week to week. The glaring differential this week is the Aggies pass defense that will be inferior to the likes of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and an outstanding Crimson Tide passing attack. Typically Nick Saban’s championship offenses have been grounded by power rushing attacks that helped control the tempo and allowed their defense to thrive in limited possessions. In recent years, that paradigm has shifted and largely thanks to Heisman Trophy hopeful Tagovailoa. Alabama’s star quarterback has produced incredible numbers this season, hitting 76% passing for 1,700 yards with 23 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Not only has Tagovailoa been flawless, but Alabama has one of the most threatening receiving corps in college football led by Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, and Henry Ruggs III. The Alabama receivers provide significant plays potential and tremendous speed that will cause serious trouble in every match-up in the passing game.
The reason I believe this is troublesome for Texas A&M is straightforward; I don’t think their secondary can win these match-ups in the passing game. If you look on paper, the Aggies pass defense does not look too bad. Statistically, the Aggies have only allowed 190 yards per game through the air. However, keep in mind that statistics are just statistics. The Aggies have yet to play any prolific passing offense. Even Clemson’s prolific aerial attack has struggled significantly this year, and Auburn’s offense entirely revolves around the run. Needless to say, the Aggies defense will be under full attack in this game, and I think that is the biggest cause for concern. Even in the win against Arkansas, the Aggies allowed 2 different inferior quarterbacks to carve up 300 yards of passing. Having watched Texas A&M several times this year, they do not appear to have the talent in the back 7 to compete with this explosive Alabama passing offense, and I assure you that will be the difference in this game.
Texas A&M offense must score against Alabama
By now, the secret to competing with Alabama or even competing for a cover relies on opponent’s ability to produce scoring opportunities. In Alabama’s two prior outings against SEC opponents this year (South Carolina and Ole Miss), both teams were able to combine for 54 points, which results in Alabama losses against the spread. The same concept is in play this week for the Aggies. To keep things close, they will have to be creative on offense and find ways to score. The problem is that Texas A&M’s offense is not very explosive nor always consistent. This offense is designed to run the football with quarterback Kellen Mond along with running backs, Isaiah Spiller and Jashaun Corbin. From there, the Aggies like to run RPO’s and hit high percentage mid-ranged passing plays for a somewhat balanced approach between the pass and the run.
The good news for Texas A&M is they don’t have many three and outs on offense. The bad news is that their drives often stall without touchdowns. To compete this Saturday, they will need touchdowns, and they will need them often. Alabama has shown some vulnerability against the run, so it is not entirely out of the question that the Aggies compete in this game, especially in the early stages. However, I don’t believe they will be able to score enough to keep Alabama at bay for 60 minutes. In the Aggies last two games against top 10 ranked teams pertaining to Clemson and Auburn, they were held to just 30 points combined in both games. If that trend continues on Saturday, Alabama will cruise to not only victory but a cover!