Arkansas 2018 Betting Preview: Growing Pains Lower Ceiling for Razorbacks
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Devwah Whaley
Arkansas 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +200000
- To win the SEC: +30000
- To win the SEC West: +9500
- Win Total: 5.5 (over -155, under +135)
All lines taken on Aug. 20. Always shop for the best line.
Arkansas 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 5.7
Bet To Watch
Arkansas Under 5.5 wins (+135)
I’ll begin this preview with full disclosure: My name is etched on Arkansas’ Senior Walk twice, a Lou Holtz doll hangs in my house bar, a framed Scotty Thurman autographed jersey is in my office, and no woman has ever broken my heart like Clint Stoerner did in 1998.
The Razorbacks are prepared to rebuild with an energetic coach in Chad Morris following Bret Bielema’s apathetic tenure. What was once a program stockpiling beef on the offensive line and backfield will look to slim down in the smashmouth spread offense adopted by Morris.
Running back will still be a big part of the offense, which is 39th in returning production, with the thunder and lightning combination of Devwah Whaley and Chase Hayden complemented by a talented group of wide receivers.
The issue will be quarterback play, as Cole Kelley and Ty Storey battle scrimmage after scrimmage. Expect Morris to go with the better caretaker of the ball as the starter, but both will play this season.
The defense is a large question mark with John Chavis as the new coordinator. He was a consistent leader of disruptive defenses at Texas A&M and LSU, but has yet to field a 4-3 scheme that goes with an up-tempo offense.
Injuries have already taken a toll on a defense that ranked 116th in efficiency and 113th in points per game allowed last season. With Chavis, Arkansas might create sacks and tackles for loss, but will give up plenty of big plays.
Razorback fans are fine with trading points for points, as long as we don’t pound our chest after one-point victories over Coastal Carolina. The real victory for Razorback nation is relevance in recruiting in the state of Texas thanks to Morris’ roots in the Southwest Conference territory.
Other than the SEC West powerhouses, the Razorbacks’ schedule is not tough. Nonconference games against Eastern Illinois, Colorado State, North Texas and Tulsa all scream high-scoring and winnable.
Arkansas has one true road game between Sept. 9 and Nov. 16 (Texas A&M is a neutral site game). But the Razorbacks will have growing pains on each side of the ball, leading us to Under 5.5 (+135) or Under 6 (-140) where available.
Ole Miss and LSU are swing games for the total, but it’s hard to imagine this Arkansas team stopping any SEC foe.
What else you need to know about Arkansas
Arkansas has finally enclosed Donald W. Reynolds Stadium, where the Razorbacks have had plenty of success. Arkansas is 31-4 straight-up at home as a favorite since 2009.