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The opening line between these teams will surely garnish some attention. Texas A&M is coming off a home loss against Auburn and has allowed at least 33 points in three straight games. Vanderbilt is coming off an impressive comeback win over Georgia. And yet, the Aggies are still huge favorites at home at -17 at betonline.
The Aggies have not covered in three straight games, mainly due to a defense that can't stop anyone. The Commodores haven't been great this season, but getting this many points seems like a stretch even if they have injuries.
Johnny Manziel is set to start for Texas A&M, which is a good reason the line is so high. He's not 100 percent, but he's been pretty tough dealing with this shoulder issue in recent weeks. Things aren't as definitive for Vandy, although it didn't matter last week. Their starting quarterback was still in question on Wednesday as Austyn Carta-Samuels picked up a leg injury last weekend. Patton Robinette came in and led the team to a comeback win over the Bulldogs.
No matter who starts for the Commodores, this team will put points on the board. At South Carolina earlier in the season, while they lost by 10, they still scored 25 points. A 51-28 home loss to Missouri doesn't look great, but the Tigers undoubtedly have a better defense than the Aggies. Running back Jerron Seymour will see a healthy dose of carries as Vandy tries to keep Manziel off the field as long as possible. Seymour overtook Wesley Tate a few weeks ago and leads the team with 426 yards and eight TDs. Whoever is at quarterback still has some of the best to work with in Jordan Matthews (798 yards and five TDs) and Jonathan Krause (519 yards).
The only team Texas A&M has held under 28 points was SMU. If Vandy can score at least that much, the Aggies will need about 46 points to cover this game, something they haven't done in five straight contests.
Of course, it's not the easiest thing to bet against Johnny Football, as he can score at will. But, he is dealing with a shoulder injury that could hamper some throws. Manziel isn't having a Heisman-worthy season, but he is still completing 73 percent of his passes for 18 TDs and seven INTs to go along with 486 yards on the ground and six TDs. Outside of Manziel, the ground game hasn't been great (or needed all that much), as Ben Malena leads the RBs with 387 yards and eight touchdowns. Receiver Mike Evans continues to shred through secondaries, already with 1,024 yards and nine TDs.
The Commodores are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games following a straight up win and 5-1 ATS in their last six road games. The Aggies have covered in five straight games following a straight up loss, but are only 6-15 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Every number screams the over for this matchup, due to a great offense and poor defense for the Aggies.
There was a time when the betting public would never have gone against a player like Johnny Football and a team like Texas A&M. But as mentioned in other articles, the betting public has become more educated in recent years. Going against A&M is exactly what they are doing here though, as 74% of the wagers have come in on Vandy at sportsbook.com.
Our model predicts a score of 55-24 with A&M on top. Certainly a possible outcome. Other numbers we like to look at suggest these two teams are much closer than the current line suggests. In fact Vandy ranks higher than A&M in many major statistical categories and that's against an SEC schedule that has included the likes of Missouri and Georgia.
Vandy has been spoiled with home games this year, up to this point. They have only had to travel twice and one of those was to UMASS. We're staying away from this game in the real world as we have numbers pointing to both sides here. For the sake of putting out an opinion here, we'll side with Johnny Football and A&M. We think they bounce back big after a home loss to Auburn and that Vandy has trouble keeping up in what is really only their 2nd road game of the year. Texas A&M -17
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