Ole Miss is putting up eye-popping offensive numbers through two games, but the 11th-ranked Rebels will face a stiffer test when they travel to No. 2 Alabama for an SEC West showdown on Saturday. The Crimson Tide have never lost back-to-back games in the series and are 25-1 at home against the Rebels.
Last year’s 23-17 home win over top-ranked Alabama marked Ole Miss’ first in the long-running series since 2003. A repeat performance would validate the Rebels’ red-hot start – they’ve outscored their first two opponents 149-24 – and perhaps make them the favorites in the SEC West. Alabama quietly dispatched Wisconsin 35-17 in its opener before cruising to a 37-10 win over Middle Tennessee last week and will have a raucous home crowd fueled by the hype of hosting ESPN’s College GameDay. The Crimson Tide have won 17 consecutive home games, tied with Baylor for the longest active streak in the nation.
TV: 9:15 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened Alabama -6.5, but that has moved since moved to -7. The total opened at 49 and has gone up four points to 53.
INJURY REPORT: Ole Miss – DB C.J. Hampton (Probable, suspension), DB Tee Shepard (Probable, suspension). Alabama – DB Jabriel Washington (Mid October, knee).
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-70s under clear skies. Wind will be minimal, blowing toward the south end zone at around two miles per hour.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Rebels have scored 70+ points in each of their first two games of the season, but they face a much tougher test on the road in Tuscaloosa this week. Remember they upset Alabama in a 23-17 home win last year. Derrick Henry has 243 yards and six TDs in just two games so far, and the Crimson Tide defense has looked as good as ever. There is still a question mark at quarterback though, as neither Jake Coker or Cooper Bateman have played particularly well.” Covers Expert Jesse Schule.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “Sharp money on the dog and under. We’ve taken a higher volume of wagers on the over and ‘Bama but as far as handle, we are very even because the wiseguys are on the dog and under. John Lester, BookMaker.eu.
ABOUT OLE MISS (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS, 2-0 O/U): The Rebels returned most of the key parts from last year’s outstanding defense, but the offense was something of a question. Quarterback Chad Kelly (557 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT) has provided a resounding answer, and the Rebels have surrounded him with numerous weapons. The outrageous offensive output has overshadowed the defense, which has lived up to expectations thus far by holding opponents to 303 yards per game even with reserves getting plenty of playing time during mop-up duty.
ABOUT ALABAMA (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 O/U): The Crimson Tide have held their first two opponents under 300 total yards and have been especially stingy against the run, allowing 63 yards per game on the ground. Alabama has enjoyed the luxury of being rather one-dimensional on offense with Derrick Henry (243 yards, 6 TDs) and Kenyan Drake (117 yards, 1 TD) carrying the load. Quarterback Jake Coker (427 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) might be asked to do more in order to keep pace with Ole Miss’ high-powered attack.
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Alabama.
* Rebels are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
* Under is 9-1 in Rebels last 10 conference games.
* Over is 4-1 in Crimson Tide last 5 games overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-six percent of Covers users are backing the Crimson Tide.