Kent State vs. Texas A&M Point Spread & Pick
When: Saturday, September 4, 8 p.m.
Where: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
Point Spread: KENT +28.5/A&M -28.5
Total: O/U 67
This is expected to be the best team Jimbo Fisher has had since moving to College Station, but it might be a little bit slow going for the Aggies at first. Texas A&M breaks in a brand-new quarterback in freshman Haynes King, who isn’t really a freshman because of the free year the NCAA gave everyone in 2020 but has only thrown four passes in his college career. However, the non-conference part of the schedule hasn’t been much of a problem for A&M under Fisher: the Aggies are 9-2 outside the SEC under Fisher, and both losses have come to Clemson.
Fisher probably couldn’t have chosen a much better opponent for King to have for his first game as the starter, as Kent State has proven that defense is optional when it takes the field. The FlashFAST offense has taken the MAC by storm over the past two seasons, as Sean Lewis seems to have that side of the ball figured out. But while the Flashes were putting up 60+ points against the likes of Bowling Green and Akron, they were also giving up a ton of points. Their final two games of 2020 both topped 100 points, and they finished the year by giving up 70 points to Buffalo. If the Bulls could do that, it’s easy to see the Aggies putting up some huge numbers against a team that likes to play as quickly as possible.
How the Public is Betting the Kent State/Texas A&M Game
If you want the total, grab it now. The public knows that A&M needs to get its offense ready for the SEC, and Kent State will try to play as fast as possible because that’s the only way it knows how to play. The total has ticked up to 67 from 65.5 at BetOnline , and the spread has dropped from -29.5 to -28.5 at many sportsbooks.
Wide receiver Isaac Vance (leg) is out indefinitely.
Defensive lineman Michael Clemons, wide receiver Demond Demas, and defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson are suspended. Wide receiver Hezekiah Jones (shoulder) is out, wide receiver Caleb Chapman (knee) is questionable and tight end Baylor Cupp (leg) is probable.
When Kent State Has the Ball
The one thing that can stop the FlashFAST offense is injuries, and Kent State has dealt with a big one in putting Isaac Vance on the shelf. Losing Vance means only one of the Flashes’ top three pass catchers are back in 2021, which should allow the Aggies to key on stopping Ja’Shaun Poke.
Whether it’s effective depends on how well running back Marquez Cooper gets going and what Dustin Crum can do with the rest of his targets. Crum is now a fifth-year senior and should be in full control of this offense, although it might be an adjustment to facing an SEC defense after seeing nothing but MAC defenses in 2020. The last time Crum went up against a Power 5 defense was in 2019, and things didn’t go particularly well in that one, as Wisconsin shut out Kent State in a 48-0 destruction. The good news for the Flashes is that all five starters are back on the offensive line, which should mean a slightly better outcome on offense this time around.
When Texas A&M Has the Ball
The big question here is whether it’s more important for Jimbo Fisher to get Haynes King some real game experience or to get the line some real experience. If the line is more important, the Aggies will simply let Isaiah Spiller run wild against a run defense that couldn’t stop anyone last season. Buffalo’s ground offense was on another level last season (515 yards against the Flashes), but Kent State also let Akron and Bowling Green top 200 rushing yards against them. With Spiller coming off a 1,083-yard season, he should be able to do anything he wants if the Aggies allow it, and with five new starters in the trenches, the Aggies really could use the confidence boost.
But King has to connect with his receivers, as the Aggies return their top seven pass-catchers from a season ago. Two of them are banged up, but Ainias Smith and Jalen Wydermyer are both healthy and combined to top 1,000 receiving yards in 2020. Odds are, the Aggies will go for balance here to try to let both King and the line develop the confidence they need to prepare for the SEC.More Picks: Mike Mann’s Sunday ND at FSU Bet >>>
Bet against Jimbo Fisher in the non-conference at your peril. The Aggies are 13-3 ATS in their past 16 non-conference games and have gone 9-2 ATS in Fisher’s 11 non-conference games at A&M, only failing to cover against Oklahoma State in the 2019 Texas Bowl and in a 45-14 win over UTSA that left them a score short of the cover. The Flashes have been solid on the road, covering in five of their past six road games, but none of those roadies were against a team as strong as A&M.
The thing to look for with Kent State is whether it will be able to score enough to trigger the over. Usually, that’s not a problem, as the over has cashed in six of the Flashes’ past seven as an underdog. However, their past five games against a Power 5 opponent have seen them score 17 points or less, which means the Aggies would need 50 in order to cash the over if their defense performs at that level. Surprisingly, only two of Kent State’s past six Power 5 opponents have managed to hit that number.
Hopefully, the worst of the heat will be over by kickoff. The high is expected to reach 96 during the day, but an 8 p.m. kickoff should get it down to the low 80s by the time things get started.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
There’s a rather large gulf between the SEC and the MAC. Kent State just does not play defense well enough to hang with a team like Texas A&M. The Aggies are likely to move the ball at will against the Flashes, and while Kent State will likely get a score or two of its own, I don’t think it’s going to be anywhere near enough in this one.
It’s a big number, but I think the Aggies can hit it. Give me Texas A&M. Want some free bets? The best bonus for college students: Deposit $25 and get an extra $50 FREE when you register for an account at Intertops through this special link, deposit $25 (or more) and enter bonus code ROOKIE200. The $50 will automatically be added to your wagering account!