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Alabama vs. Arkansas: Preview, how to watch, odds

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The Crimson Tide can clinch the SEC West with a victory on Saturday against the Razorbacks.

New Mexico State v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Alabama Crimson Tide has throttled the Arkansas Razorbacks since Nick Saban can to town. Saban hasn’t lost a single game to the Razorbacks since assuming the role as head coach in 2007. Only twice have the games between the two teams been decided by single digits. Other than that, there’ve been wins by 24, 28, 35, 41, 49, and two 52-0 shutouts in back-to-back years. Needless to say, the Tide have an overwhelming advantage over the Razorbacks. They’ll hope to continue that on Saturday afternoon in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week.

How to watch Alabama vs. Arkansas

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: CBS
Watch Online: CBSSports.com

Betting Odds

(via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Spread: Alabama -21 | Arkansas +21
Total: 58
Moneyline: Alabama -1375 | Arkansas +800

Arkansas is coming off a very strong defensive performance against LSU. The Razorbacks allowed 308 total yards and a YPP of just 3.9 against the Bayou Bengals. It’s part of why they were able to score the Golden Boot in their 16-13 win, but they obviously are facing quite the beast now in ‘Bama. Though Alabama might not have the star power on offense they’ve had in recent years, this is still a pretty strong unit. They’ve averaged 6.7 YPP this year but it will be interesting to see how they fare here. Since averaging 10.3 YPP against Southern Miss in September, they’ve been pretty up and down. Last week they averaged 7.5 against poor New Mexico State. Does that continue this week? I’d hazard to guess not. Arkansas has allowed more than 6.0 YPP just three times all season.

What will be interesting is to see how Alabama performs on the ground. Arkansas’ run defense has been mighty stout this year. They have only allowed an average of 4.0 YPC all season. In their last four games, they’ve allowed less than that mark, going from 3.9 against Auburn to 3.0 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 2.7 against Mississippi State, and then 2.6 against LSU last week. Alabama’s rushing offense has been good, not great this year. They only ran for six yards — yes, six — against LSU two weeks ago. They obviously manhandled New Mexico State last week. But again, Arkansas is not New Mexico State.

On defense, Alabama has been very good. In three of their last four games, they’ve allowed an average of 4.0 YPP or less. The lone outlier was the 6.4 YPP that the Tennessee Volunteers accumulated against them. Good luck running against Alabama though. They’ve allowed an average of 2.6 YPC this season. In the last four games, they’ve allowed an average of -0.1, 2.5, 2.7, and 0.3 YPC. Given Arkansas leans heavily towards the run, their plan of attack will be key to their success or lack thereof in this game.

This is a pretty gaudy spread for this one. Alabama has two opportunities to win the SEC West, as Texas A&M took themselves off the path last week with their loss to Ole Miss. It’s either now or against rival Auburn next week in the Iron Bowl for ‘Bama. I would expect the Tide to keep up their advantage in this game. But I am very intrigued to see the clash between Alabama’s offense and Arkansas’ defense. The Razorbacks have had a really strong unit all season long and the dam has really yet to be broken. The only team who’s really been able to crack the code is Ole Miss, and I don’t personally think Alabama’s offense is up to par with what they have in Oxford. Again, this will likely be a win for the Tide. But will it come easy? Arkansas hasn’t been a pushover to anybody except mighty Georgia this season. So we’ll see what happens.