Arkansas Razorbacks (2-3 SU, 0-4-1 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0 SU, 3-3 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Saturday October 14th, 2017. 7:15PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARK +30.5/ALA -30.5
Over/Under Total: 55.5
The top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide survived their biggest challenge of the season last week with a road trip to College Station. Despite a 26 point spread, Alabama could only pull out a 27-19 victory. Though the game was never in doubt, the Aggies surprisingly kept things close. As a result, Alabama moved to 6-0 overall and 3-3 against the spread. This week Alabama will have the luxury of returning home to start a 3 game stretch at Bryant-Denny Stadium. On Saturday, Alabama kicks off their home stretch as 30.5 point favorites over the visiting Arkansas Razorbacks.
Arkansas is coming off an embarrassing loss to South Carolina on the road last week. Despite being favored by 3.5 points, the Razorbacks were thumped by the Gamecocks 48-22. By all stretches of the imagination, it was a nightmarish trip to Williams Brice Stadium. The Razorbacks offense gave up 3 touchdowns to South Carolina’s defense and never could sustain any type of momentum. It was a completely different offense than hung 43 in the loss to Texas A&M just two weeks prior. Now Arkansas currently sits at 2-3 SU and 0-4-1 ATS at the bottom of the SEC West. With each passing week, Head Coach Bret Bielema’s seat is getting warmer.
What Arkansas really needs is an impressive outing this week against Alabama to silence critics. By impressive outing, I don’t even mean that they need to score a miraculous upset but rather just prove they can be competitive with the SEC’s best. For that to happen, the turnovers have to stop immediately on offense. It’s hard to win any football games when you are turning over the rock but Alabama has been the best in the nation at capitalizing on turnovers. If you want to contend with the best team in the nation, objective number 1 has to be protecting the football. Right now Alabama ranks 1st in the FBS as they have allowed just 1 turnover while Arkansas ranks 65th allowing 9 turnovers.
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The good news for Arkansas’s chances to keep things competitive is that their defense has been pretty solid. I know it does not seem that way considering they gave up point totals of 50 to Texas A&M and 48 last week to South Carolina. In reality, the Razorbacks defense has not given up that many yards. They got into a shootout with the Aggies and turnovers have cost the defense in terms of scoring. We know Alabama is going to come straight forward at this Razorbacks defense by running the football with Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. If you add quarterback Jalen Hurts’ running ability into the mix, then you have a scary situation to defend. Overall, the Crimson Tide has rushed for 301 yards per game on average which is the 7th best mark in the FBS. While those numbers are impressive, I still believe Arkansas has the physical ability to play well defensively.
The deciding factor for this outcome will be the result of the Arkansas offense. If they turn the ball over, fail to move the football, and set this Alabama offense up on the short side of the field consistently, then things will get ugly. Arkansas has a veteran quarterback in Austin Allen and they will have to rely on him heavily. The Razorbacks rushing offense has not lived up to par this year which can be contributed to offensive line issues and youth in the backfield. Alabama is already very tough against the run which will not help matters so I really think Arkansas’s opportunity is for Allen to have a bounce back performance.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I believe this spread will be decided by the amount of points Alabama can score. I do not expect Arkansas to score much but they may not need to for a cover. Banking on the idea that Arkansas does not have another disastrous turnover scenario, I prefer a small play on Arkansas +30.5. Bet YOUR pick on this game using your credit card at an online sportsbook where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus up to $250 in FREE cash!