College Football Odds & Picks for Arkansas vs. Missouri: Bet the Razorbacks on Saturday
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks.
- Two surprising SEC success stories face off when Arkansas travels to take on Missouri.
- Eli Drinkwitz and Sam Pittman have impressed as rookie head coaches and will face off a week later than originally scheduled due to COVID-19.
- Mike Iannello explains why he’s backing the Razorbacks for an outright win in Columbia.
Arkansas vs. Missouri Odds
|Arkansas Odds||+3 [BET NOW]|
|Missouri Odds||-3 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+118/-143 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||53 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.|
Saturday’s Arkansas-Missouri matchup features teams with first-year head coaches that should be in the talk for SEC coach of the year honors.
Former Appalachian State head coach Eli Drinkwitz, who’s enjoying his first season in the SEC, and the Tigers have won four of their last five games after coming out victorious in just three conference games last season.
After going 0-8 in conference play in their previous campaign, the Razorbacks have already earned three SEC wins (and should have beaten Auburn) in their first season under former Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman.
These teams were scheduled to play last weekend, but the game was rescheduled after COVID-19 issues at Arkansas.
Arkansas had to postpone last week’s game due to COVID issues, something they have largely dealt with all season long. The week off gave the Razorbacks time to get players back from quarantine, with Pittman expecting his team to be mostly at full speed against the Tigers.
“We anticipate having a close to full roster,” Pittman said in his press conference Monday. “Our testing went well yesterday. Between injuries that we had, and the COVID, we feel like we are going to be pretty close to full speed.”
It’s clear that quarterback Feleipe Franks has been handed the keys to this Razorbacks’ offense. The former Florida quarterback struggled with consistency and turnovers during his time in Gainesville, Florida, but has found great success at Arkansas.
Franks is having one of the best seasons for a quarterback in the school’s history. His 68% completion rate would set an Arkansas record, and he ranks fourth in the SEC in touchdowns and passing yards. Most importantly, Franks has protected the football, throwing for 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Franks has thrived under offensive coordinator Kendal Briles’ heavy, play-action offense. The Razorbacks have used play action to freeze defenses, setting up big plays for their talented wide receivers, led by Treylon Burks.
In its last game against LSU, Burks, Mike Woods and T.J. Hammonds all recorded a catch of at least 50 yards for Arkansas. Woods is averaging 20.48 yards per catch, good for second in the entire conference.
Razorbacks starting running back Rakeem Boyd announced this week he is opting out of the remainder of the season to prepare for the NFL Draft. However, Trelon Smith has actually been the team’s leading rusher — and been more effective than Boyd — averaging 5.3 yards per carry this year.
The Arkansas defense is all about Grant Morgan. The tackling machine was just named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker. His 104 tackles this season are the most in the entire country.
Besides being one of the best run defenders in the country, he’s also terrific in pass coverage. Morgan has allowed just a 64.3 passer rating when targeted, per Pro Football Focus.
Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom returns to Missouri after he was fired as the Tigers head coach following the final game of the 2019 season. Odom played linebacker for the Tigers and was part of their coaching staff for 17 seasons before being shown the door.
Rest assured, you can bank on the fact he will make sure his defense is dialed in for this game.
After initially losing the starting quarterback job to Shawn Robinson, freshman Connor Bazelak quickly took over and has done a great job running the show.
The Tigers aren’t very explosive, ranking just 80th in explosive rate, but Bazelak has been very efficient all season, completing 70% of his passes for 7.8 yards per attempt.
Missouri running back Larry Rountree III is fifth in the SEC with 92.9 rushing yards per game. Bazelak and Roundtree both benefit from playing behind Larry Borom, who has become one of the conference’s best offensive tackles. Broom has not allowed a quarterback pressure all season.
The Tigers’ offense spreads the ball around really well, with five different players collecting at least 20 receptions this year. The Tigers lack one true dominant threat but can keep defenses guessing by not allowing them to key on one player.
Offensively, the one area Missouri really struggles in is Finishing Drives. The Tigers average just 3.1 points per trip past the opposition’s 40-yard line, ranking 101st in Finishing Drives.
The Missouri defense has been clamping down of late, allowing 10 points or less in three of its last four games. The Tigers have been especially good against the run all season, allowing just 123.3 yards on the ground.
Just like the offense, the defense struggles to finish drives. They rank 123rd in points per opportunity, allowing 4.9 points per trip past the 40-yard line.
Betting Analysis & Pick
When you get a spread under a field goal, you know the game is expected to be a battle until the end. Arkansas and Missouri are teams that have played better than expectations, finding success with their new coaches.
In a game projected to be close, I believe two key stats make the difference in who comes out on top.
One key is making sure to take advantage of every opportunity when you get it. Arkansas has the advantage here, ranking 81st in points per opportunity on offense, but 44th on defense. Bottom line, the Arkansas defense does a great job at bending, but not breaking.
Missouri ranks 101st in points per opportunity on offense and 123rd on defense. Its defense really struggles to get off the field once the opponent’s offense finds a rhythm.
The other key is winning the turnover battle. You can’t afford to make mistakes in a close game. Both teams do a good job at protecting the football, but Arkansas is significantly better at taking it away. The Razorbacks’ defense leads the SEC with 17 forced turnovers this season, and the Tigers are last in the conference with just six turnovers.
I love what Pittman is doing at Arkansas and it is clear his players love playing for him. The Razorbacks will continue to give it their all and fight all season. I think Arkansas pulls off the win in this spot.
Take Arkansas on the moneyline. YESSSSSIRRRR!
Pick: Arkansas ML +118 (down to +105).