Alabama – Arkansas NCAAF Game Preview and Pick to Cover the Spread

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Alabama

vs.

Arkansas

SEC

College Football Pick

10/8/16

Alabama has had some off-field troubles, but so far, that hasn’t shown up on the field. The Tide have rolled through every mediocre opponent, but also had trouble in their only road Game, a 48-43 comeback at Ole Miss. Now in their second road Game, they’ll get another test against Arkansas as -13.5 point road favs.

Or at least the thought is that the Razorbacks will give them a test. That’s kind of how it played out last season with Arkansas leading 7-3 late in the third quarter. However, an 81-yard touchdown gave the Crimson Tide the lead and they pOured the points on from there in a 27-14 win. The Hogs had a chance, but they let it slip away a little too easily.

Now at home, they hope it’ll be different, but that may not mean much. Arkansas hasn’t looked all that trustworthy in the early going, escaping past Louisiana Tech before needing overtime against TCU. And then in their only SEC Game, the Razorbacks fell 45-24 to a superior Texas A&M team. If they can’t handle the Aggies, then how will they deal with ‘Bama?

The first question comes in the trenches. The Aggies controlled most of the Game against Arkansas, rushing for 366 yards, while holding the Hogs to just 3.0 yards per carry as a team. After getting run over by A&M, it could be another long day for the Razorbacks defense.

For Alabama, Damien Harris is cruising with close to nine yards per carry, while Jalen Hurts brings mobility at quarterback, a new tweak to Nick Saban’s ground-and-pound offense. With those two in the backfield and guys like Calvin Ridley, who had the 81-yard TD catch last year, Arkansas has its hands full.

That said, the Hogs actually stopped the Tide from doing much on the ground last year. If they can do the same, then maybe this will turn into a Game. But if not, this could be another one in which Arkansas gives up too many points to have a chance.

Speaking of having a chance, the Razorbacks could barely move the ball against the Tide last season. They ran for just 44 yards on 25 carries, while Brandon Allen completed less than 50% of his passes. Now with Austin Allen under center and Rawleigh Williams III at running back, it’s hard to see them having any more success than last meeting.

Allen did finish with 371 passing yards and a couple touchdowns in the loss to A&M, but a lot of that was in garbage time when the Aggies had the Game mostly locked up.

The one thing going for Arkansas is that it’s at home and Alabama’s defense hasn’t played as well on the road, at least in one Game. But while Ole Miss had a 24-3 lead, the Crimson Tide went on a 45-6 run. That’s just the type of thing they do. And while the Razorbacks are at home, if they can’t stop the Tide from running the ball, there’s almost no chance they’ll have enough for an upset.

Our Pick – Wanted to side with double digit SEC home dog Arkansas here. The last two in this series have been close so the Hogs know they can play with Bama. However, the way they faded in the 4th at Texas A&M is cause for concern going up against a deep Alabama team. Look for the Tide to wear down Arkansas late. Alabama -14.