The #3-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0) welcome in the #14-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks (3-0) for a big Top 25 SEC match-up in Tuscaloosa this afternoon for our featured NCAA Football match-up on Saturday. Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino brings his fiery attitude and a desire for his team to improve from a rocky 38-28 victory over Troy last week, and will certainly want to see his Razorbacks perform better against one of defenses in the country, under one of the best head coaches in the land in Nick Saban. A classic match-up featuring Arkansas 8th ranked passing offense vs. Alabama’s 14th ranked run offense, as well as two very good defenses, this game should make for one of the best options for online sports betting and watching during a very good Saturday packed full of NCAA Football.
Alabama comes into this match-up having only allowed an average of 6 points per game over the first three games played, and has won the last 22 of 23 games played at home at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Getting their first Top 25 test today, Alabama will rely heavily on their shutdown defense, which so far has allowed just 2.52 yards per play thus far. That may be a tough task against one of the best offensive units in the country, led by the talented junior Tyler Wilson at QB. Throwing for 822 yards, 5 TDs and with a 163.4 passer rating this season, Wilson will be a much tougher test for the stout Crimson Tide defense, though if the Tide can control the Razorbacks run offense led by Ronnie Wingo Jr., they may be able to strictly focus on limiting the passing game, giving the Razorbacks a tough time this afternoon.
While Alabama’s defense is widely known as one of the best in the land, their offense is what is intriguing in this match-up, having not really wowed anyone so far this season behind sophomore QB A.J. McCarron. Having only generated 2 passing TDs against the likes of North Texas, Kent State and Penn State this season, this is certainly an area of improvement for Alabama in today’s match-up, even though the potent run game led by Trent Richardson (315 yards rushing, 8 TDs through 3 games) is churning along nicely. They’ll certainly need to lead a bit more balanced attack against a much improved Arkansas defense, which itself has only allowed 12.7 points per game this season, and is itching to get back at the Tide after last season’s tough 24-20 loss (leading 20-7 at one point in that game).
Betting Lines for #3 Alabama vs. #14 Arkansas:
Intertops.com sportsbook (<a href=”http://www.casinoreview.org/sports_betting/intertops.html”>read the review of Intertops.com</a>) has Alabama as a huge favorite to win this match-up today at home, getting -400 odds while Arkansas steps in as a +315 underdog. The over/under on the match-up stands at 50 points, relatively low for an NCAA College Football match-up, but not too surprising considering the talented defenses on the field this afternoon. Expecting Arkansas to pass and Alabama to feature the run as per usual, if Alabama controls possession time in this game, look for a very good chance that the under wager on total points (-110 odds) could be the best way to pick up cash on this match-up at the Intertops online sportsbook. Also take into consideration the very large 11 point spread at -110 odds for either +11 on Arkansas or -11 on Alabama, which could favor going with the Razorbacks to cover especially if they can generate some big passing plays this afternoon.
Our Pick to Win:
It’s very tough to wager against the Tide at home in any match-up, especially with the best head coach in the country calling the plays from the sidelines. Though Alabama has inexperience at QB, relying on their running back tandem of Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy (who combined for 328 yards last week alone) will likely just be too much for the Arkansas defense to muster. Look for a grind-it-out game today featuring stingy defense to give Alabama the edge at home, where the Tide will roll on with a 24-17 victory.
Players to Watch, Arkansas:
Tyler Wilson, QB – Coming off a 23-for-36, 303 yard and 2 TD game last week, Wilson’s numbers look good, except when you consider that was against Troy, who should have been blown out by much more than 10 points. The Razorbacks offense will need to be better today, and it starts with Wilson being more composed and exhibiting better passing form in clutch situations against an Alabama defense that will not be lenient to errors.
Ronnie Wingo Jr., RB – The Arkansas running back has seen his number of carries go up each week, and last week’s 20 rush, 109 yards and 2 TD performance is encouraging. Against the Tide however, it’s going to be much tougher sledding for Wingo, who will need to be at his best in order to help take some pressure off Tyler Wilson and the passing game. A big improvement over last season’s 64 yards rushing on 20 carries against the Tide is essential to keep this game close.
Players to Watch, Alabama:
Trent Richardson, RB – The combination of Richardson and Lacy in the backfield is simply devastating for opponents’ defenses. Richardson has already amassed 8 TDs in 3 games this season, and will find the end zone today one way or another. If Alabama can get its passing game in order and shift the Razorbacks’ defensive focus away from Richardson a bit, look for both him and Lacy to have big days.
Eddie Lacy, RB – The Tide’s offense is all about the running game, and with Lacy generating 10.9 yards per carry alongside Richardson, Arkansas has its hands full in the Crimson Tide backfield. Look for Lacy to be a factor in the passing game as well, if ‘Bama can lure the Razorbacks into covering just the run and sneak him outside for a big play.