The Arkansas Razorbacks roll into Tuscaloosa ranked 21st in the latest official College Football Playoff ranking. The Crimson Tide sit second in the rankings, poised for another title run.
The latest college football odds from BetMGM have Alabama as -20.5 favorites, but what are the best bets for this Arkansas at Alabama matchup?
The Alabama Crimson Tide offense ranks third in points scored per game (44.6). Opposing teams have held QB Bryce Young and Alabama under 30 points only once this season.
Young has to carry the load because the Alabama running game hasn’t developed. In a win against LSU, the Tide rushed for only six total yards.
Arkansas can score points. Earlier in the season, the Razorbacks scored 40 on Texas. Quarterback KJ Jefferson and the trio of running backs, including Raheim “Rocket” Sanders, combined for 265 rushing yards.
The Razorbacks also managed to score 51 in a shootout loss against Ole Miss.
Though Nick Saban’s defense only gives up 18.2 points per game, they’ve given up over 20 to Tennessee, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Florida.
Arkansas vs. Alabama is a challenge to handicap. It’s easy to assume the Tide will win handily given their pedigree, but this year’s team is a lot less consistent than past years.
The Tide come into this game 6-4 ATS, with a 2-1 record against ranked opponents.
Alabama will have trouble running the ball against the Razorbacks. In the game versus Ole Miss, Arkansas allowed 324 rushing yards. The Razorbacks’ defense hasn’t allowed more than 135 since that game.
Bryce Young will have to score fast and hope the defense can stop the platooning Razorback rushing attack averaging 234 yards per game.
The Arkansas Razorbacks should hold onto the ball long enough and score enough to slow (not stop) Bryce Young and keep this game within the three-touchdown margin.
I don’t think Arkansas will win this game, but the Tide are ripe for another upset.
Despite their number two ranking in the CFP Top 25, Alabama struggled against Tennessee before exploding for 28 points in the fourth quarter. They also managed to only scrape by LSU by six points.
Arkansas runs the ball well enough to present a challenge to the strong Alabama rushing defense. If Arkansas can pick up first downs running the ball, they could break through for red-zone touchdowns.
For Arkansas to have a chance, their defense will have to win third downs, and their offense must play a spotless game.
While I don’t see an upset here, the only money line play worth making is Arkansas.
Arkansas at Alabama Will Be a Close Game
Arkansas at Alabama has the making of a close game. Despite a 9-1 record, the 2021 Crimson Tide team hasn’t been the dominant team of past seasons.
The Razorbacks’ stout running attack should push Alabama just enough to keep this one close, with Alabama pulling away at the end to win by two scores.
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