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The Arkansas Razorbacks host the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday in a game that can be seen on CBS at 3:30 pm est. This game is off the board at many sportsbooks due to the status of Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson who is listed as doubtful. 5 Dimes sportsbook opened this game Alabama -15 and the early bettors couldn't bet this game fast enough, betting on Alabama with both hands and pushing the number all the way up to -19.5.
You couldn't have asked more out of Alabama to start the season. They controlled then-No. 8 Michigan in the first game, handling the Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson. Last week, they didn't do anything too great, but still beat Western Kentucky handily 35-0.
As for Arkansas, things haven't been the same. They took out Jacksonville State, yet still gave up 24 points. Last week was bigger news and the first real upset of the College Football season, as the Razorbacks fell to Louisiana-Monroe 34-31 in overtime. During the loss, starting QB Tyler Wilson left in the first half with a concussion. Wilson still has 563 passing yards on the year even after missing the second half of last week's game. The big news which is make-or-break for Arkansas is if Wilson will be ready to play against Alabama. If not, the rookie Brandon Allen will once again take his place. To sum the difference up, Allen completed just 10-for-27 against ULM and had one TD and one INT. Those numbers will not do it against Alabama.
Knile Davis leads the Razorback running game and he hasn't been anything great totaling 132 yards on 3.9 yards per carry. Arkansas needs the passing game to compete and that's why it's so critical for Tyler Wilson to play.
No matter who plays QB, they will be throwing it to the Senior, Chris Gragg, a beast of a tight end at 6'3 and 236 pounds. He leads the team in every area of the receiving game with 14 catches, 193 yards and two TDs. He will need to step up for Arkansas to be competitive.
While Alabama lost a lot of quality players from last season, they still have shown they are the same rugged and tough squad. As mentioned previously, they bottled up the speedy Denard Robinson for only 27 rushing yards. Robinson had over 200 rushing yards against Air Force this past weekend. The Crimson Tide have another top defense which will be tough for anyone to crack.
AJ McCarron has managed games well, tossing for 418 yards and six TDs through the first two. Alabama's ground game has also been up to par. Four of their RBs have more than 10 carries, yet none of them have over 18. While Trent Richardson was a workhorse, their current system isn't hurting them at all, giving them a change-of-pace RB for every situation.
Kevin Norwood is the lead receiver, yet only has six receptions. They have five other receivers with multiple receptions. McCarron can spread the ball wherever he likes.
In last season's match, Alabama destroyed Arkansas 38-14. Obviously, the circumstances are different this time around as this game is in Little Rock and Alabama lost a lot of players to the NFL. Looking back, it wasn't just last season though, Alabama has beaten Arkansas five straight years.
Tyler Wilson is listed as doubtful, and likely won't play. Obviously, that has a big impact on the Razorbacks chances. But with or without Wilson, this is still a huge number to lay with Alabama, against an Arkansas team that is 21-5 over the last two years with all 5 of those losses coming to teams ranked #7 or better. Arkansas is also 19-2 at home over the last 3 years. We'll revisit this game later in the week, it's only Monday. However, I can tell you that we definitely won't be laying the big number with Alabama. If we were to play this game, we would only look at the Arkansas side.
Don't get too excited about the Arkansas loss last week. Yes, they looked terrible. But overlooking an opponent happens in sports at every level. Think about it. You have a game against the undefeated, defending national champs next week, and this week you're playing ULM. Look how bad Maryland looked against William & Mary in week 1 before slamming Temple last week in a game they waited a year for. Just saying.
We'll call it a lean for now but at +21 or better we will get very interested in the Arkansas side. Lean for now Arkansas +19
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