Texas A&M has had a pretty good start to the season as it almost took down Clemson a couple weeks ago. But playing Clemson and Alabama in the matter of two weeks usually doesn’t result in good things. The Crimson Tide are coming off a 62-7 demolition of Ole Miss (on the road) and are heavy -27 point home favorites at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
There are zero reasons to bet against Alabama these days and when you do, you often realize in the first quarter that it was a mistake. Of course, there are multiple things in A&M’s favor, from last year’s 27-19 result when the Aggies were 25-point home underdogs, as well as the cover against Clemson. Then again, this Game is in Tuscaloosa and A&M’s defense will run into some immediate problems.
At this point, it doesn’t matter who is quarterback for Alabama, but Tua Tagovailoa is clearly the better passer with a 72% completion rate, 12.92 yards per attempt and eight touchdowns with zero picks. When you combine that with a dominant ground Game between running backs Najee Harris (6.8 ypc) and Damien Harris (7.4 ypc), there’s little most defenses can do. The Aggies held Clemson to 28 points and only 3.6 yards per carry, but doing that to Alabama on the road isn’t the same. Sure, they held strong in this meeting last year, but again, that was at home and even then, ‘Bama still ran for 232 yards. Hurts didn’t do much through the air in that Game and that’s where Tagovailoa comes in. He’s added a passing element to the Alabama attack that Hurts didn’t bring and that doesn’t mean good things for any opponent.
The only way for A&M to cover will be if Kellen Mond puts in another huge performance like the 430 yards and three touchdowns he had against Clemson. That’s not out of the question, but it does seem like a stretch, especially after A&M only managed 1.8 yards per carry against Alabama last year. If the running Game isn’t there, Mond will have to do everything. If it was at home, that’d be another story, but in Tuscaloosa he’ll have his hands full. So far, Alabama’s defense hasn’t been challenged and completely manhandled an Ole Miss group that scored 123 points in its first two Games.
Some will look at last year’s result and the close loss to Clemson and think Texas A&M is in a good spot to contend. But as seen last week, the Tide are better offensively than they were a year ago simply because Tagovailoa is the starting quarterback. A&M was good against Clemson, but that offense isn’t nearly as dominant as what Alabama’s can be.
The Aggies have covered their last Four Games, yet are 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 Conference Games. The Crimson Tide are 4-1 ATS in their last Four at home, yet 1-4 ATS in their last five in the SEC. In this meeting, the home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five.
Our Pick – It will be interesting to see if any 28s start to appear on the board this week. As of this writing on Tuesday, the Game sits at 27.
The fact that Alabama has blown out all 3 opponents thus far gives us a little added value in this line. The Tide likely will NOT blow thru each and every opponent in that same fashion.
If you gave A&M +27 the last 3 years, you would have 3 A&M covers, including last year’s 8 point loss. Considering that the Aggies have retained most of their key personnel from a year ago, we have to give them a shot to keep this one within the spot this week. Texas A&M +27