Missouri vs. Alabama Pick & Prediction
Missouri Tigers (6-0 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0 SU, 3-3 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 7
Date/Time: Saturday October 13th, 2018. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
By: Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIZZ +28.5/ALA -28.5
Over/Under Total: 74
I feel like each week I have released near flawless predictions surrounding this top ranked Alabama football team. Unfortunately last week’s prediction only resulted in a push as the Crimson Tide hit the exact point total with a 34 point victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks. Either way, Alabama continued to flex their muscles from the offensive side of the football by compiling more than 600 yards of total offense and even found a way to elevate their FBS leading scoring mark of 55 points per game by hanging 63 against the Razorbacks. Sportsbooks continue to report being loaded up on Bama each week. This week Alabama’s offense looks to keep the momentum alive against another reputable offense in Missouri.
Despite Missouri’s notorious offense led by one of the brightest talents in the country in quarterback Drew Lock, my main concern is the Tigers defense. Missouri’s defense had all types of trouble again last week on the road at South Carolina. The Gamecocks started backup quarterback Michael Scarnecchia and still moved the ball with ease. Scarnecchia actually carved up the Tigers defense by throwing for 258 yards with 3 touchdowns and 0 picks to give South Carolina’s offense a glimmer of life for the first time this season. It was the 3rd time in 3 weeks that Missouri’s defense relinquished more than 35 points and it was against a team that had previously been absolutely horrible on offense.
This week that same Missouri defense will have the luxury of facing the best offense in college football in Alabama. Since about the 2nd week of the season, I have stated that this is the best offense Nick Saban has ever coached. Now the numbers are starting to prove it in undeniable fashion. Alabama is averaging 568 total yards per game which technically ranks 4th in the FBS yet the Crimson Tide lead the country in scoring by an overwhelming margin at 56 points per game. The offense has simply been sensational and the majority of the success continues to surround quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who is starting to emerge as a potential runaway Heisman Trophy winner. Tagovailoa is posting ridiculous numbers completing over 75% of his passes for the season with 18 touchdowns and he has still not thrown an interception this year.
If you combine Tagovailoa’s success with Alabama’s typically strong running attack behind Najee Harris and Damien Harris, you have one of the most lethal scoring units in the country. Alabama has done a great job of setting the tone with the run and hitting the plays over the top. That exact scenario creates a lot of problems for Missouri’s defense. The Tigers have had many errors this year in their secondary and they do not have the size to stop the run upfront. Therefore, I just do not see any way they are going to slow this offense down. In my opinion if Missouri holds Alabama under their average which is 56 points per game; that would be a “win.”
Reason to bet Alabama over Missouri
If you noticed, this game has a lofty total of 74 points which is a result of Alabama’s scoring success and the reputation for Missouri’s offense which has been known to post big scoring numbers as well. In fact, Missouri has averaged just under 40 points per game this season. Quarterback Drew Lock is probably the best pure passer in the country and this offense does a good job of spreading the ball around. However, the biggest problem for Lock has been handling pressure. When opponents get pressure on Lock, he makes bad decisions just as he did last week with a pick 6 against the Gamecocks when he threw the ball right into a defender’s hands on a screen pass without a receiver in the area. I think that pressure will be relentless this Saturday on the road against Alabama. The speed from the Alabama pass rush will stay in the backfield and will make things very difficult for the quarterback. As a result, I expect Missouri to struggle significantly on offense and post their lowest scoring total of the year.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take Alabama -28.5