College Football Odds & Picks for Alabama vs. Arkansas: How to Bet Saturday’s SEC Battle
Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
- Sam Pittman and the Arkansas Razorbacks host Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide in an SEC matchup on Saturday.
- The Tide have been on an absolute roll as of late, tearing through any opponent that steps in front of them.
- Collin Wilson breaks down the game and shares a betting pick below.
Alabama vs. Arkansas Odds
|Alabama Odds||-32 [BET NOW]|
|Arkansas Odds||+32 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||68.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET|
Alabama looks to cap off an undefeated conference slate and remain on track for a perfect season for the first time since 2009 on Saturday when it faces Arkansas.
The Crimson Tide roll off of two intense rivalry covers against Auburn and LSU. Nick Saban has Alabama at 7-2 against the spread this season, with both of those cover losses on the road.
No matter what happened against Missouri and what happens against Alabama, this is a successful season for Arkansas. Head coach Sam Pittman has won three conference games in his first season against a Sagarin strength of schedule that ranks second in the country.
The Razorbacks have not won three conference games since 2016, and an SEC officiating mistake against Auburn may have kept Arkansas from a high-profile bowl game.
Alabama Crimson Tide
When asked about Alabama, the head coach of Arkansas had nothing but praise. Pittman is considered one of the elite offensive line and recruiting coaches in the country.
He’s responsible for the success at Arkansas during the good years for Bret Bielema and for the Georgia offensive line in its last three campaigns. Pittman knows a thing or two about an offensive line, and when asked about the Crimson Tide, remarked, “Their offensive line is the best in college football.”
Ranked in the top 20 in pass and run blocking by Pro Football Focus, three of the Tide’s starters will play in the NFL next year.
Alabama Left Tackle Alex Leatherwood VS UGA 💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/jQgAESRzUV
— InsideBamaRecruiting (@RTRnews) October 19, 2020
Besides a victory over Arkansas, there are individual goals for Alabama before its SEC Championship game against Florida.
Mac Jones is in a tight race with the Gators’ Kyle Trask for the Heisman Trophy. Jones trails Trask by 11 in the touchdown category, but consider the gap in passing attempts, which sits at 64. Jones trails Trask in total passing yards by just 131, but dominates in adjusted completion percentage at 82.4%.
That number leads all FBS quarterbacks with a minimum of 200 dropbacks.
The unsung hero of the Alabama season has been its defense. The Defensive Passing Success Rate of 27th and coverage grade of sixth in the country is an element that had been missing from previous Crimson Tide teams. Cornerback play has been some of the best in the nation, as Malachi Moore, Josh Jobe and Patrick Surtain II have a combined 135 targets and have allowed just two touchdowns with 19 pass breakups.
Feleipe Franks’ injury was kept under wraps until a few hours before kickoff last week.
Redshirt freshman KJ Jefferson took over the reins after having 31 pass attempts under Chad Morris in 2019. The Razorbacks have been one of the fastest teams in the nation under offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, but against Missouri, that mark was two seconds faster at 18.9 per play.
— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) December 5, 2020
While the passing attack may not be as polished without Franks under center, Jefferson is a dynamic runner who created five missed tackles and recorded 44 yards after contact against Missouri. Look for Arkansas to stay in a ground-based attack against Alabama while using plenty of presnap motion for Treylon Burks and Trelon Smith to get touches.
The bigger news from the Missouri game was the absence of multiple defenders in the Tigers’ comeback. Grant Morgan, the third-leading tackler in FBS, left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. Starting cornerback Montaric Brown also suffered an injury as the Razorbacks’ two-touchdown lead collapsed in Columbia.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Arkansas may not be able to put up any resistance in the fight against the domination Alabama has put on the college football world.
There are two key injuries on the Razorback side that are worth monitoring. Both Feleipe Franks and Grant Morgan are leaders on each side of the ball, but the defense does not have the luxury of a KJ Jefferson-type backup. Both players have a “wait and see” injury, per Pittman. Franks was practicing on Monday, but Morgan is dealing with an MCL sprain in the knee, which generally takes six weeks for recovery.
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Alabama should not be interrupted in its quest to obtain a victory and get Jones his passing numbers, especially with a Razorback linebacker unit missing one of the best tacklers in the nation. Even with the famous Jefferson Pilot timeslot of 11 a.m. CT, the Crimson Tide should score the bulk of their points in the first half.
There’s consideration for Arkansas in the full game, as there’s mutual respect between Pittman and Saban. As pathetic as Razorback football has been in the Bielema and Morris tenure, Alabama has covered in Fayetteville only twice in its past six trips.
This is just not a division matchup in which Saban feels he needs to drive home a point against an opposing coach. Alabama has kept its first-team defense in the game until the last snap in blowouts of Auburn and LSU, but the expectation is that no starter on either side of the ball will be in the game during the second half. The Tua Tagovailoa late injury in a blowout of Mississippi State may still be fresh on the mind of Saban.
This game should be filled with points early, but look for a resilient Arkansas squad to keep fighting until the last snap. Pittman will have the Hogs in the Gator or Texas Bowl, per Brett McMurphy, and the team has shown no quit at any point this season. The first-half over is based on Jones getting his Heisman numbers, but look for Arkansas live when that number climbs north of five touchdowns.
Pick: First-Half Over 37 or better.