College Football Betting Preview: #1 Alabama Crimson Tide at #16 Arkansas Razorbacks

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide at #16 Arkansas Razorbacks
Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium – Fayeteville, Arkansas
Saturday, October 8, 2016, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Alabama -14
Current Line: Alabama -14
Opening Total: 51
Current Total: 48 1/2
Opening Money Line: Alabama -550 / Arkansas +430
Current Money Line: Alabama -570 / Arkansas +435

Alabama looks to remain undefeated with a tough road game at Arkansas Saturday.
Alabama looks to remain undefeated with a tough road game at Arkansas Saturday.

The number one ranked 5-0 Alabama Crimson Tide begin a very difficult stretch that includes road games at Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU plus a home game against Texas A&M. It starts Saturday at the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Razorbacks are 4-1 and ranked #16 in the polls. Alabama is 2-0 in the SEC West and Arkansas is 0-1.

Alabama leads the series 19-7 against Arkansas but four of those games were vacated and the official record is 16-8. Alabama has won nine straight games against Arkansas including 27-14 last year in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide have four straight wins in Fayeteville.

Alabama is coached by Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide have a neutral site win over USC 52-6 in Arlington, Texas, home wins over Western Kentucky 38-10, Kent State 48-0 and Kentucky 34-6 last week. Alabama also has a road win at Ole Miss 48-43. Alabama was a 37 point favorite against Kentucky and the total was 54.5. The Crimson Tide are 3-2 ATS and the total is 2-3 this season.

Arkansas is coached by Bret Bielema. The Razorbacks have home wins over Louisiana Tech 21-20 and Texas State 42-3, plus a road win at TCU 41-38 in overtime. Arkansas beat Alcorn State 52-10 last week in Little Rock. The Razorbacks lost to Texas A&M 45-24 in Arlington. Arkansas is 2-3 ATS and the total is 2-3 this season. The Razorbacks were 50.5 point favorites against Alcorn State and the total was 68.

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Alabama is outscoring teams 44-13 this season. Alabama is #12 in scoring and #9 in points allowed nationally.  The Crimson Tide average 484 yards per game on offense including 253 passing and 232 rushing yards. Alabama is in the top 30 nationally in total and rushing offense.  Alabama is allowing 257 yards per game on defense including 188 passing and 69 rushing. The Crimson Tide are #8 in total offense and #3 against the rush nationally. The Crimson Tide are +3 in turnovers with 8 takeaways. Alabama averages 46 penalty yards per game and opponents average 28 per game. The Crimson Tide is 42/83 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 24/85. Alabama has forced 17 sacks and allowed 10 this season. The Crimson Tide are 22/23 scoring in the red zone with 16 touchdowns, and opponents are 6/8 with one touchdown.

True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has thrown for 989 yards with 7 touchdowns and an interception, and has 54 carries  for 276 yards with 3 touchdowns. Blake Barnett took a few snaps and has thrown for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns. He left the program and transferred though. Cooper Bateman could also see a few snaps.

Running back Damien Harris has 42 carries for 356 yards and a touchdown and also has 5 catches. He is probable with an ankle injury. Joshua Jacobs has 34 catches for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 5 catches for  77 yards. B.J. Emmons has 23 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown. Bo Scarbrough has 31 carries for 108 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Receiver Calvin Ridley has 31 catches for 398 yards and 3 touchdowns plus a rushing touchdown. ArDarius Stewart has 13 catches for 205 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 3 carries for 29 rushing yards. He is probable with a knee injury. Gehrig Dieter has 7 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown. Tight end O.J. Howard has 12 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Trevon Diggs is probable with a knee injury.

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Arkansas is outscoring teams 36-23 this season. The Razorbacks average 443 yards per game on defense including 246 passing and 197 rushing yards. On defense, Arkansas allows 374 yards per game on defense including 211 passing and 163 rushing yards. The Razorbacks are +3 in turnovers with 10 takeaways. Arkansas averages 45 penalty yards per game and opponents average 46 per game. The Razorbacks are 30/69 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 34/69. Arkansas has forced 13 sacks and allowed 7 this season. The Razorbacks are 22/27 scoring in the red zone with 18 touchdowns and opponents are 13/18 with 9 touchdowns.

Quarterback Austin Allen has thrown for 1,232 yards with 12 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Running back Rawleigh Williams III has 101 carries for 559 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 4 catches. Devwah Whaley has 33 catches for 220 yards and a touchdown. Kody Walker will also get some carries.

Receiver Drew Morgan has 28 catches for 301 yards and a touchdown. Keon Hatcher has 14 catches for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is probable with a hamstring injury. Jared Cornelius has 14 catches for 262 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Jeremy Sprinkle has 15 catches for 157 yards and 3 touchdowns. Three defensive backs are listed on the injury report.

Alabama is 5-0 ATS after failing to cover, 5-1 after accumulating 450 total yards or more, 8-2 against teams with winning records, 4-1 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 6-2 against teams with winning home records, and in road games, and 1-4 after passing for 280 yards or more.

Arkansas is 4-1 ATS after failing to cover, and after gaining more than 450 total yards, 6-2 in SEC games, 14-5 against teams with winning road records, 5-2 after a straight up win, 16-7 against teams with winning records, 11-5 after rushing for more than 200 yards, 37-18 after scoring more than 40 points, and 1-4 after allowing less than 20 points. The home team is 5-2 ATS in this series recently.

Alabama has looked impressive this season, but they are the defending national champions. Arkansas has played well too and Fayetteville is never a fun place to play a game for opponents. Still, I think Alabama wins on the road by pulling away late.

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