Date/Time: October 19th, 12:00 PM ET
Spread: Alabama -28
Here at Bang the Book, we are always keeping our eyes open for the best games to bet on each and every week. Of all of the games on the Week 8 docket, the one we are zeroing in on is the game where the Alabama Crimson Tide host the Arkansas Razorbacks at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 19th.
The Iowa State victory last week now makes us 6-1 ATS through seven weeks of play, and we are rolling right into Week 8… literally and figuratively! It’s not all that often that you see us even bother to consider a game where the point spread is four touchdowns, but we really feel as though this SEC West game is the perfect one to take the Crimson Tide in hopes of getting a real roll out of the hometown crowd.
If you look at what Alabama has been doing over the course of the last few weeks, you have to be impressed, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The only man that has been able to move the football at all against this Crimson Tide defense has been QB Johnny Manziel, and we have just conceded to the fact that he has Alabama’s number. Take that game out, and what’s left is a defense that we are used to seeing. The Crimson Tide, albeit against a schedule that wouldn’t have been all that tough if you take out the roadie against the Aggies, would be allowing 71.8 rushing yards, 136.4 passing yards, 208.2 total yards, and 5.2 points per game. That’s the Alabama we remember that won back to back National Championships.
Even the offense has really started to pick it up again. Granted, we know that playing against Arkansas is probably a bit harder than what we have seen the Crimson Tide been doing lately, but they did drop 93 points combined in two games against the Georgia State Panthers and the Kentucky Wildcats, and that came on the verge of knocking off the Ole Miss Rebels 25-0 at home.
RB TJ Yeldon, RB Kenyan Drake, and RB Derrick Henry are all averaging at least 6.5 yards per carry this year, while QB AJ McCarron is almost ho hum in his ways, completing 68.9 percent of his passes for 1,407 yards and 11 TDs against three picks. There is just an embarrassment of riches on this side of the ball, and it’s no wonder why this team is starting to finally get it together.
But this bet isn’t about Alabama. Oh, no… not nearly. The Crimson Tide are great, but the Razorbacks proved last week that they are inept when they can’t run the football.
Now, keep in mind that Arkansas went up 7-0 in this game against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The end results from that game were as follows. Seven first downs. 248 total yards. 30 total passing yards. One pass play for more than six yards. 16 minutes of time of possession. Now granted, the defense did let South Carolina roll off 88 plays and 32 first downs, including going 5-for-5 on fourth down and 9-of-16 on third downs, which made essentially every single drive a successful one for the Gamecocks. Not surprisingly, the end result was a 52-7 blasting that the Hogs had to see coming.
Head Coach Bret Bielema really doesn’t have much of a choice. He has to run the ball, and he really doesn’t know any other way to go about running this offense. He doesn’t have a legitimate quarterback that can get the ball out of his hands and throw it well, and if QB Brandon Allen has completed 33.3, 41.5, 47.2, and 40.0 percent of his passes in his last four games, it’s a wonder what he is going to do on the road at Bryant Denny Stadium. This game just screams to be just like the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies when QB Logan Thomas feels like he went about 5-for-50 in the game passing.
Keep this in mind as well for the Razorbacks: All of this came at home against South Carolina. So was last year’s 52-0 loss to the Crimson Tide in which Alabama rolled off 438 yards and had the backups in by the start of the fourth quarter. Arkansas averaged 1.6 yards per carry that day, and Allen threw for 60 yards and two picks. That was in a game where the Crimson Tide did absolutely nothing special either. We don’t think we’re going to see anything particularly special in this game either, but we don’t think we have to.
Head Coach Nick Saban knows that his boys are going to win all of the battles up front, and as long as that’s the case, the suspension of DB Ha-Ha Clinton Dix won’t make a darn bit of difference. The Razorbacks can’t throw it. They aren’t going to be able to run it. And if they play on letting Alabama go 14-of-16 on third and fourth downs combined, they aren’t going to be stopping the Tide one bit either. We expect another very similar score line to last year’s 52-0 final, and we wouldn’t be surprised if we have this one covered and covered comfortably by halftime. You don’t see us do this often with these big favorites, but as we said, this is the exception to the rule and a worthy one at that.
Week 8 College Football Pick of the Week: Alabama Crimson Tide -28
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.