NCAAF Odds, Picks for Texas A&M vs Arkansas

NCAAF Odds, Picks for Texas A&M vs Arkansas article feature image

Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Max Johnson (Texas A&M)

Texas A&M vs Arkansas Odds

Saturday, Sept. 30
Noon ET
SEC Network
Texas A&M Odds
-115o / -105u
Arkansas Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

There's something for everyone when the Southwest Classic between Texas A&M and Arkansas kicks from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Both the Aggies and Razorbacks enter Week 5 desperate for a conference victory.

The Hogs have taken two consecutive losses to BYU and LSU as the team has experienced the growing pains of a heavy transfer portal class and new coordinators. Mental health is a heavy subject on the Hill this week, as head coach Sam Pittman deleted his social media and has spent ample time as a counselor for his players.

With the Razorbacks in a corner and desperate not to fall below .500, a win would be big for the team from Fayetteville.

The Aggies are also dealing with struggles in a different manner.

A nonconference loss to Miami cast a shadow entering SEC play, but an easy cover against Auburn corrected the win total, Now, an injury to the starting quarterback will have ramifications for Texas A&M in Arlington.

With all of that said for both squads, this will be the second consecutive season in which Bobby Petrino has called plays against the Razorbacks. Missouri State came to Fayetteville and held the lead entering the fourth quarter last season before late-game heroics sealed the victory for the Hogs.

This game will have everything on both sides of the ball, but most importantly, each team is desperate for an SEC victory. If history is any indication, the Southwest Classic will be filled with Havoc and lead changes.

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Texas A&M Aggies

The biggest news from the Aggies' victory over Auburn was the loss of quarterback Conner Weigman to injury. The sophomore suffered what was thought to be an ankle sprain, but further tests indicated a foot fracture that will cost Weigman the season.

Max Johnson might be the most prepared backup quarterback in the nation after completing two touchdowns against Auburn.

How about some brotherly love for 6️⃣


— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) September 23, 2023

There shouldn't be any kind of drop on the side or total in the market with the change at quarterback. Johnson has more than 4,600 career passing yards and has faced the Razorbacks each of the past two seasons.

The significant improvement in Weigman's turnover-worthy play numbers should translate to Johnson's game thanks to the Aggies' offensive coordinator.

The hire of Petrino is paying dividends for a Texas A&M team that's top-30 in Quality Drives, Finishing Drives and third-down conversions. Evan Stewart, Ainias Smith and Jahdae Walker all average more than two yards per route run, giving the Aggies a needed boost in air explosives.

If there was a culprit in the loss to Miami, the defense would be on the hook.

Defensive coordinator DJ Durkin has produced the third-best unit in terms of Havoc, led by 34 tackles for loss and 20 pass breakups. The overall numbers show a defense that stops the chains and prevents touchdowns in scoring position, but a lack of stops on explosive plays has been the biggest issue for the Aggies defense.

Miami created explosives in passing downs in Week 2 against Texas A&M, averaging 12.5 yards per play while tripling the national average in explosive drives.

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Arkansas Razorbacks

The Razorbacks entered Baton Rouge on Saturday night looking to rectify a nonconference loss to BYU.

Coordinator Dan Enos finally hit a groove with the offense, exceeding the national average in Success Rate in rush and pass attempts. The Hogs ended 20% above the national average in Success Rate in passing downs, averaging 10.2 yards per play.

Quarterback KJ Jefferson found his new favorite target in freshman tight end Luke Hasz.

Luke Hasz is clearly KJ Jefferson’s favorite target, Hogs tie it up@RazorbackFB | #WPS 🐗🐗🐗

— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) September 24, 2023

The Arkansas offense received 78 yards on the ground from Rashod Dubinion, but the big news will come later in the week.

Star running back Raheim "Rocket" Sanders is taking snaps with the first team after missing two games with a knee injury. The junior logged over 1,400 yards last season and has a career average of over 3.1 yards after contact.

A change in defensive philosophy came with the hire of coordinator Travis Williams, who brought an aggressive Havoc-minded style compared to the previous max-protect scheme from Barry Odom.

The results are mixed, as Arkansas ranks top-30 in Success Rate and Havoc but has allowed chunk plays to opposing offenses. Arkansas ranks 87th in Defensive Quality Drives, with bottom-20 numbers in allowing explosives in passing downs.

Linebacker Jaheim Thomas leads the Hogs in tackles and pressures but must shore up a team-leading eight missed tackles.

Texas A&M vs Arkansas

Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Texas A&M and Arkansas match up statistically:

Texas A&M Offense vs. Arkansas Defense
Rush Success3324
Line Yards3567
Pass Success5129
Finishing Drives3031
Quality Drives1287
Arkansas Offense vs. Texas A&M Defense
Rush Success2423
Line Yards4110
Pass Success4563
Finishing Drives1812
Quality Drives5735
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling9646
PFF Coverage9168
Special Teams SP+3429
Middle 8506
Seconds per Play26.1 (53)29.5 (108)
Rush Rate44.9% (111)58.8% (32)

Texas A&M vs Arkansas

Betting Pick & Prediction

The Aggies and Razorbacks are mirror images of each other in terms of defense. Both teams have played an identical strength of schedule while fielding poor ranks in allowing the big play and in coverage grading.

Arkansas sits outside the top 100 in passing plays over 20 yards allowed, while Texas A&M ranks 110th in allowing explosives in passing downs.

The Hogs have consistent issues stopping the chains and play in passing downs at the 15th-highest rate with a rank of 87th in Defensive Quality Drives.

Even with the change from Weigman to Johnson, the Aggies are expected to get the ball downfield if the offensive line can improve on a pass-blocking rank of 100th.

The Aggies defense will put up a stiff test against Sanders if healthy, but the back end of the defense is catching Arkansas after its most successful game from a passing perspective. Both Hasz and Andrew Armstrong caught 12 of their 13 targets from Jefferson, an advantage the Hogs are expected to test against A&M's secondary.

The Action Network Power Ratings project Texas A&M -7 with a total of 58.

There's a case to be made for this game to go over the total with Petrino's track record and the fact that both defenses struggle to contain chunk plays.

The Aggies couldn't stop Miami from creating explosive plays in a loss, while the Hogs allowed LSU to rack up 75% of available yards and 13 explosive plays.

This game will not be methodical, but explosives and Havoc will provide the points needed to cash an over ticket.

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