Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Odds, Picks: How to Bet This Top-25 SEC Clash
Photo by Jack Gorman/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Johnson (Texas A&M)
- Texas A&M hosts Arkansas one week after bouncing back from a loss at home to App State.
- The Razorbacks are 3-0 after defeating Cincinnati, South Carolina and Missouri State.
- Collin Wilson previews the game and offers up his best bet.
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Odds
Sam Pittman has been a covering machine since his coaching tenure started in 2020.
A 17-8-1 against-the-spread mark includes a 2021 season where the Hogs were big-game hunting for trophies. After an Outback Bowl victory against Penn State, the Hogs tallied five trophies, including the Southwest Classic against Texas A&M.
Trophy game SWEEP 🧹 pic.twitter.com/OBlSJCSXo6
— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) November 27, 2021
The Razorbacks are riding high, busting through program ceilings year after year.
Through three games this year, the Hogs have gained at least 210 yards on the ground, and are still one of the heaviest rushing teams in the nation.
The sticky point entering the season was finding contributions in the red zone and on third downs post Treylon Burks, but a collection of skill position players have continued the success in getting Arkansas over the total in all three games.
Texas A&M rebounded from an embarrassing home loss to Appalachian State. The offensive issues against the Mountaineers were historic for Jimbo Fisher, as the Aggies had just two drives cross the Appalachian State 40-yard line.
A change in quarterback did nothing to improve A&M's Passing Success Rate against Miami, as the defense led the effort in the victory against the Hurricanes.
As conference play begins, Fisher is tasked with finding stability at quarterback and getting the ball into the hands of his best skill position players.
Missouri State took Arkansas to the woodshed in Week 3, building a 17-point lead and holding the outright lead until a Razorback punt-return touchdown with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Pittman admitted to being out-coached and unprepared against Bobby Petrino. Questionable offensive play calling from coordinator Kendal Briles and plenty of missed tackles and assignments allowed Missouri State to thrive.
There are plenty of narratives to build a reason for the lackluster performance — a sandwich spot between SEC games is the most popular. Nevertheless, an Arkansas secondary that now ranks 103rd on coverage prepares for a Texas A&M offense that struggles to throw downfield.
The return of Myles Slusher is crucial to the back seven after the season-ending injury to Jalen Catalon. Slusher is practicing this week after collapsing during the opening game against Cincinnati.
The junior is a Swiss Army knife, capable of playing safety, corner or nickel in coordinator Barry Odom's scheme.
The bigger question for the defense is the ability to generate a pass rush. LSU transfer linebacker Drew Sanders played like a man possessed against Missouri State, generating seven pressures with two sacks, 12 tackles and a spear worthy of WWE Champion Roman Reigns.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 20, 2022
What was once the strongest unit on the Razorbacks' roster, the stable of running backs has been diminished to just the Raheim Sanders show.
In his second season, "Rocket" is lighting up defenses, averaging 3.6 yards after contact with eight explosive runs on the season.
AJ Green is considered the fastest back of the bunch, but has only carried the ball on 14 attempts.
The Razorbacks also await the return of Dominique Johnson, as he's medically cleared after offseason knee surgery, and is practicing without a brace.
Arkansas has lived in standard downs through the first three games, but there has been an uptick in quarterback KJ Jefferson's Big Time Throw rate.
Transfers Jadon Haselwood and Matt Landers have seen the most targets, each posting more than two yards per route run. Jefferson is quickly getting comfortable in life post-Burks, as five different players have double-digit targets.
If Texas A&M is able to control the line of scrimmage, Jefferson must win the game with downfield passing for the first time this season.
A change in quarterback from Haynes King to Max Johnson did nothing to improve the Success Rate of the Aggies' offense.
The switch to Johnson did improve Texas A&M in the perspective of Havoc Allowed. King tallied three Turnover Worthy Plays through two games, while Johnson made no mistakes on 10-of-20 passing despite 13 pressures on 25 drop backs.
Although the offensive line is 53rd in pass blocking, Miami produced 16 pressures, resulting in three sacks and six tackles for loss. Left tackle Trey Zuhn has now allowed 22 pressures over the past two games.
Johnson will be tasked with getting the ball in the hands of receiver Ainias Smith and running back Devon Achane. Smith has been targeted 22 times this season with only 14 catches. At 3.2 yards per route run, Smith is a vital weapon to move the chains and get points on the board.
— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) September 3, 2022
The Texas A&M defense saved the day in Week 3, limiting Tyler Van Dyke to completing just half of his passing attempts while forcing two Turnover Worthy Plays. The Aggies did so with minimal pressure, sending the blitz on just 25% of snaps.
Texas A&M still ranks outside the top 85 in coverage and Havoc, but a top-10 number in Passing Success Rate and Finishing Drives has kept scoring low.
Getting a number of players back due to suspension will give both sides of the ball a boost for the Aggies.
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Arkansas and Texas A&M match up statistically:
Arkansas Offense vs. Texas A&M Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Texas A&M Offense vs. Arkansas Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||96||42|
|Seconds per Play||23.4 (19)||29.3 (114)|
|Rush Rate||65.2% (12)||52.2% (80)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Betting Pick
There are plenty of moving parts when it comes to suspensions and injuries that must be taken into account for this handicap.
Dominique Johnson and Slusher return to the Razorbacks' starting rotation and are boosts to their respective units.
Texas A&M received a boost against Miami with the return of center Bryce Foster, a key position needed to protect the Aggies' quarterback.
The Aggies also return second-leading target in freshman Evan Stewart from suspension. In addition, two defensive backs return from first-half targeting against Miami, including starting safety Demani Richardson.
Starting with the Arkansas defense against the Texas A&M offense, the trench for the Aggies is vulnerable. Foster being back at center is crucial for the Aggies, but the guards and tackles have allowed the most pressure.
Zuhn will be tested once again, but is no longer the blind side tackle, as Max Johnson is a southpaw passer.
Arkansas is leading the nation in sacks, but there may be a bit of fools gold in that number. The Razorbacks posted 14 of their 17 sacks against an FCS offensive line and a South Carolina unit that is outside the top 100 in pass blocking.
Another liability for the Razorbacks is the ability to tackle. The Hogs are 124th in tackle grading, per PFF. Pittman stated, "We are having a hard time covering opponents" in relation to missed tackles on the second level.
Without any improvement in tackling or covering skill position players against Texas A&M, Smith and Achane are capable of taking short routes to the end zone.
The Aggies will be tasked with shutting down Jefferson and the Arkansas rushing attack. The return of Johnson provides depth in the backfield, but the plan of attack is similar to Appalachian State.
While the Hurricanes elected to execute an offense geared off tackle and with short passing, the Mountaineers sliced the Aggies' defense with pistol, play action and rushing attempts up the gut (65%).
Arkansas will have success rushing against a Texas A&M front that ranks 82nd in Stuff Rate, but a challenging evening awaits against one of the best red-zone defenses in the nation.
The Action Network projects Texas A&M as a 1-point favorite with a total landing in the 50s. There are plenty of reasons to back the Aggies in a game that could have more points than expected.
Johnson has provided stability at the quarterback position as Stewart returns at receiver.
The Arkansas defense not only has issues in tackling, but a bottom-10 rank defending explosive passing will be a factor in Arlington. Although Slusher is expected to return for the Razorbacks, this is a much stiffer test than what South Carolina presented in Fayetteville in Week 2.