Texas A&M vs. Alabama Pick
No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies (2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS)
College Football Week 4
When: Saturday September 22nd, 2018. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
By: Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Spread: A&M +24.5/ALA -24.5 (Line from 5Dimes where you BET -105)
Once again the Alabama Crimson Tide flexed their muscles in a big way last week with a blowout victory over rival Ole Miss by a score of 62-7. For the 3rd week in a row, Alabama posted a huge total on the scoreboard in blowout fashion as the team cruised to 3-0 ATS. I have said since week 2, since the reigns were officially handed over to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, that this team is unstoppable. They have their typical elite level defense and perhaps one of the better offenses of the entire Saban era. After blowing out Louisville in the opener, the Crimson Tide dealt a vicious blow to a Rebels team that had beaten Alabama in 2 of the last 3 meetings. However, this team has proved to be on a different level than any other team in the country.
However, just because a team appears unbeatable, does not mean their undefeated mark ATS will continue. After 3 straight blowouts, odds makers have laid down the gauntlet with a 24.5 point spread against no. 22 Texas A&M. The same Aggies team that has a renewed source of energy with new Head Coach Jimbo Fisher and wants to show they will eventually contend for supremacy in the SEC West. The same Aggies team that just took no. 2 Clemson to the wire two weeks ago in a 28-26 loss that was arguably robbed of the victory due to poor officiating. The same Aggies team that returned the most starting talent in the West this season and is riding a wave that includes a 6-1 record ATS in their last 7 games dating back to 2017. Needless to say, I am not convinced this huge spread is warranted and is vastly underestimating the talent from Texas A&M.
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Trust the Aggies defense!
In no way shape or form am I trying to underestimate Alabama’s offense. I think this year’s version of the Crimson Tide offense is among the best groups ever under Saban. However, this week’s game against Texas A&M will be the offenses’ first test against a quality defense. The caliber of defenses Alabama has faced thus far is pure garbage. I am very intrigued to see if Alabama can sustain their momentum on offense this week against a much more physical front 7. Contrary to what you may believe from the scoreboard results, Alabama has not been overly impressive running the football this year. Luckily, Tagovailoa has been fantastic at the quarterback position but Alabama is going to need their running attack when they get into the thick of SEC play.
I think the Aggies defense is in a good position from a matchup standpoint and a circumstantial standpoint to stand strong this week. The Aggies have been very solid against the run ranking 10th allowing just 79 yards per game. If you look at the scoring number, the Aggies currently rank 21st giving up just 15 points on average this season. Sure the sample size is small. However as we saw against Clemson, this defense does not give up big plays. They play disciplined football and have enough speed to contend. If the defense can get a strong effort, the Aggies have enough weapons on offense to make this a battle on both sides of the football.
Aggies offense vs. Bama defense
The matchup that will ultimately decide if the Aggies can keep in within the points is how will their offense play against this dynamic Alabama defense? The Crimson Tide have allowed just 7 points in the last two games and only gave up 14 to a pretty talented Louisville offense in the opener. This defense is great at producing pressure and they make things really difficult for opposing quarters. Enter Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond. While Tagovailoa has stolen the spotlight in the SEC this season, Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond is having a very similarly successful season from a statistical standpoint. Mond has throw for 824 yards through 3 games and has tossed 6 touchdowns without any picks. Mond has enough athletic ability that defenses must respect his running threat and that complements running back Trayveon Williams who already has 400 yards on the season. I just feel like this offense does all the small things right and consistently keeps pressure on defenses. If they can do that this weekend, I feel like they will have enough scoring opportunities to keep this one within the number especially if the Aggies defense lives up to my expectations as well.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take Texas A&M +24.5