Teams: Arkansas (2-3, 0-2) vs. Alabama (6-0, 3-0)
Ranks: Arkansas (46th S&P+) | Alabama (#1 AP, #1 USA TODAY, #2 S&P+)
Time: 6:15 p.m. CT/7:15 p.m. ET
Watch Online: WatchESPN
Series History: Alabama leads Arkansas 20-7-0. The Tide have won 10 in a row.
Last Time We Met...: The Tide rolled the Hogs 49-30 in Fayetteville.
Spread: Alabama opened as 29.5-point favorites. The line bumped all the way up to 34.5, 35 and 35.5 in some locales.
O/U: The total started at 55. It then went down to 54, 53.5 and 53.
Records ATS: Arkansas (0-5) | Alabama (3-3)
Odds info via OddsShark.
It wasn’t going to be easy for the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Hogs have the unenviable task of going into Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide. Arkansas hasn’t won at Bryant-Denny Stadium since all the way back on September 27, 2003. On that day, the Razorbacks got serious contributions from Cedric Cobbs, Mark Pierce and the great Matt Jones. Unfortunately for Arkansas, none of those three are walking through that door.
The Hogs will instead have to put their trust in someone other than Austin Allen. Allen injured his shoulder recently, and as a result, the touted veteran QB won’t be playing on Saturday night. Instead, it’s likely that Cole Kelley will be under center for Arkansas. Kelley only has 18 career pass attempts in his career. Good luck, youngster.
The Tide’s defense has been as advertised this year. While they’ve had some issues in stopping the pass, they still rank first in the country in S&P+ Defense. If Arkansas wants to shock the world, then they’re going to have to try and win the field position battle, first and foremost. Against ‘Bama, that’s been easier said than done. Teams are starting at around the 23.3 yard line against the Tide. That mark is second-best in the entire country and roughly six yards below the national average. Teams can’t get it going against the Crimson Tide partially because they can’t seem to start drives at the right place either.
Chances are, this game isn’t going to go well for Arkansas. They haven’t been all that great defensively, especially at stopping the run. Against Jalen Hurts, Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris, that is... a dangerous prospect. ‘Bama has proven to be one of the nation’s best teams running the ball (again) and will likely take advantage of that on Saturday evening.
The only question is whether Arkansas will cover or not. The Hogs are 0-5 against the spread this season. The line is well over 30 points, so even a team like Arkansas should cover that... right?
Prediction: Alabama 42 Arkansas 7