Alabama vs. Texas A&M Odds & Picks: Can Crimson Tide Pass Their First Real Test?
John David Mercer, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Najee Harris
- The latest Alabama vs. Texas A&M odds list the Tide as a 17-point favorite.
- The Crimson Tide have not been smaller than a 25-point favorite all season.
Alabama vs. Texas A&M Odds
- Spread: Alabama -17
- Over/Under: 61
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
- Location: College Station, Texas
Are Sharp Bettors Fading Alabama?
The public is — shocker — all over Alabama in this one. In what’ll be one of the five most heavily-bet games this weekend, Bama is taking on 74% of bets as a 17-point favorite. The actual money, however, has been a bit more balanced, with 40% landing on A&M.
With bigger bettors and public bettors in disagreement, this line has seen both sides of the key number of 17 throughout the week, but has yet to make a significant move.
If it’s possible, the movement on the total has been even more boring, sticking right around its opener number of 61. But even the lack of movement is slightly telling, considering 63% of bets and 70% of money has hit the over. — Danny Donahue
Collin Wilson: Read Between the Lines
One way to grow as a bettor is to figure out what seemingly small details tell a more important story.
Texas A&M closed as 16-point underdogs on the road at Clemson and the Aggies got in the backdoor with a last-minute touchdown.
One month later, Alabama is a 17-point favorite in College Station.
Considering there are just a few points separating Clemson from Alabama in our Action Network Power Ratings, it is safe to assume that Alabama is probably overrated on the road in this spot.
The Aggies have had the better defense to this point, allowing less than 300 yards per game and boasting a similar opponent yards per play against a much tougher schedule. The Action Network projects this line at Alabama -13.5, but do the Aggies have a chance to pull the upset?
Alabama ranks top-10 in offensive success rate and explosiveness against a weak schedule that includes Duke, New Mexico State, South Carolina, Southern Miss and Ole Miss.
The Crimson Tide have yet to face a defense like Texas A&M. The Aggies were able to contain Trevor Lawrence and allowed just 106 yards against Auburn and Bo Nix.
The Aggies rank 30th in line yards and 33rd in stuff rate which means that Texas A&M should get a few stops in standard rushing downs, but stopping Alabama in the air is something else entirely.
Texas A&M ranks 93rd in sack rate, so the pressure will be on the back 7 to keep Tua Tagovailoa in check. Texas A&M ranks 23rd in the nation against the passing explosiveness, allowing just four passes to go over 20 yards this season. That should help to cover an inflated spread.
Alabama has given up a handful of chunk rushes this season, but the Aggies don’t fit the profile of a team that should take advantage of that flaw. A cover — and an outside chance of a win — for the Aggies will likely fall on the shoulders of quarterback Kellen Mond, who has just 110 rushing yards this season with a long of 18 yards.
If Mond can raise his level to where it was last season, the Aggies will have a chance to make this thing pretty interesting. The market will likely steam Alabama up until kickoff, so keep an eye on the market, but I like A&M at the key number of 17 or above.
The Pick: Texas A&M +17
Stuckey: Where Does A&M Have the Edge?
I couldn’t agree more with Collin. I think his projected line of -13.5 is spot on, so the value is with Texas A&M and I jumped on the Aggies at +17.5 earlier in the week.
Auburn closed +4 at Texas A&M just a few weeks ago. If we accept that line was efficient, it assumes Alabama is three touchdowns better than Auburn on a neutral field. Not in my book, even after making adjustments for both teams over the past few weeks. I still only have Alabama as about 17 points better than Auburn on a neutral field.
Alabama is one of the best teams in the country, but it isn’t without flaws. The interior of the offensive line and the front 7 of their defense stick out to me. Both of those units lost a ton of talent to the NFL and this is the first real test for this offensive line.
Alabama’s run defense has been shaky in its first two conference games, allowing 400 total yards (4.8 yards per carry). That’s worrisome but A&M’s offensive line has struggled to generate a push and running back Jashaun Corbin is injured.
I do think Mond can keep drives alive with his legs on designed runs in addition to his own scrambles when he can find anything downfield.
On the other side of the ball, when you talk about Alabama’s offense, it all starts with Tua and the most explosive receiving corps in the country, led by DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs.
Texas A&M won’t shut down the elite Tide receivers but its secondary has actually played pretty well this year (5.6 yards per pass attempt, 7th in the nation).
This unit held Bo Nix to 100 yards and kept Trevor Lawrence and his elite receivers in check on the road. Tua will get his chances but the A&M secondary has the talent to compete. I also expect Mike Elko to scheme up a game plan full of pressure.
Situationally, this is the Super Bowl of the Texas A&M season. After high preseason expectations, the Aggies have already dropped two games in the early part of their absolutely loaded schedule. This is essentially their college football playoff game. Expect Jimbo Fisher to pull out all of the stops after the bye and give Alabama countless formation looks.
Special teams could be a potential X-factor, as the Aggies have an enormous edge over the Tide. Texas A&M has one of the best punters in the nation in Braden Mann, who leads a punt unit that ranks in the top 25 in net punting. Meanwhile, Alabama has struggled flipping the field, averaging only 35 yards per punt net, which puts them in the bottom 20.
Freshman punter WIll Reichard may potentially return from a hip injury this week for Bama, which will help a bit as Skyler DeLong has been one of the worst in the country in his place. A&M also has a strong kickoff unit that doesn’t allow many returns. Without turnovers, the Aggies should have a decided edge in the field position battle, which will help level the playing field.
Texas A&M will also have the edge in the kicking department with Seth Small, who is 8-for-10 this year while Bama’s kickers have combined to go 5-9 (Reichard 4-for-7 and Bulovas 1-for-2).
I don’t think A&M can pull off the shocker as Saban should move to 18-0 SU against former assistants (Jimbo was his assistant at LSU) but the Aggies can put a scare into Alabama, especially if it can get an early lead and keep the raucous 12th man involved all game at Kyle Field.
A&M is 5-2 ATS since 2005 at home as a double digit dog, including an 8-point loss against Alabama in 2017 as a 25-point underdog.
The Pick: Texas A&M +17