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Pick - Analysis
Alabama hosts Ole Miss this Saturday in SEC action with the Tide opening up as -17 point favorites and currently sitting at -16 at 5 Dimes sportsbook. This is a 630 pm est. start and can be seen on ESPN.
These two faced off early last year in Alabama and it wasn’t as bad of a game as some would think. The Rebels lost 33-14, but still covered as 31-point underdogs. With an improved squad in 2013, the chance to cover again against the Crimson Tide is there. In the last game, Ole Miss had trouble doing much of anything on the offensive end, but it’s not like Alabama cruised past them. The Crimson Tide only outgained Ole Miss in yardage by a 305-218 margin. A kickoff return in the second quarter helped make this game look worse than it really was.
Led by quarterback Bo Wallace in his junior season, the Rebels have a different plan in this game. With an all-around better squad than a year ago, there’s no reason not to believe they can make this close. The mobile Wallace is improved in his second year as a starter and has plenty of targets to look to. Three receivers have at least 11 receptions already, including last year’s favorite, Donte Moncrief. The difference will have to be in the running game where Jeff Scott only managed 49 yards on 2.6 yards per carry in last year’s game. Scott is rolling at the moment with 330 yards on 9.4 yards per carry. Obviously, that average will eventually go down, but an improved offensive line has the senior set for his best year yet.
The Alabama defense isn’t as good as it has been in year’s past, so that’s something to look at for Ole Miss. However, Johnny Manziel is the only one to exploit that so far, leading Texas A&M to 42 points. It will likely come down to how much the ‘Bama defense can stop Wallace and company.
Ole Miss isn’t a slouch on defense, but they’ve already allowed 35 points to Vanderbilt. AJ McCarron continues to do what is asked of him at quarterback. When needed, McCarron exploded for 334 yards and four TDs against the Aggies. Against the Rebels, he may be called upon again to air it out. The Crimson Tide didn’t have huge success on the ground against the Rebels last season, but they could still move the ball. If T.J. Yeldon can reach the 100-yard mark, it’s safe to say the game is over. However, Ole Miss has not allowed a 100-yard rusher yet this season and this is a team coming off a bye week so they’ll be rested and prepared.
In the end, it’s going to fall on Wallace at quarterback. If he turns the ball over at all, the chance of covering (or winning) will be all but gone for the Rebels.
The Rebels are a nice 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games and 7-2 ATS in their last nine SEC games. The Crimson Tide’s numbers aren’t all that great though, going just 1-4 ATS in their last five conference matchups. The road team has covered in five straight meetings between these teams and Ole Miss is 6-2 ATS in the last eight matchups. So far, the numbers point to an Ole Miss cover.
OUR PICK - Alabama -14
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