Even the tougher opponents are finding it hard to compete with top-ranked Alabama, which looks for its 12th straight victory over ranked programs when it hosts No. 6 Texas A&M in Saturday’s SEC showdown. The Crimson Tide are looking for their 20th consecutive overall win and are coming off a complete dismantling of then-No. 11 Tennessee as they delivered a 49-10 shellacking.
Alabama has scored an amazing 11 non-offensive touchdowns (eight on defense, three on punt returns) and even hard-to-please Nick Saban had to acknowledge his squad played superb football against Tennessee. “Well, after watching the last game, we probably approached playing the most complete game all year,” Saban said at a press conference. “There are obviously many things we can improve on. I think the question is: Do you rest on your laurels, or do you stay hungry to try to improve on the things you did correctly and fix the ones that you didn’t? You can either build on it or rest on it.” Unbeaten Texas A&M is Alabama’s lone remaining challenger in the SEC West and coach Kevin Sumlin hears the chatter about his team being huge underdogs and refuses to get caught up in it. “This team has done a great job of blocking out the noise and going on about it and trying to be one game better,” Sumlin said at a press conference. “We haven’t played our best football yet. Comes a time where maybe you go into situations and you just play. That’s where we are right now.”
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS.
LINE HISTORY: How impressive is Alabama this season? They’re going up against the No. 6 team in the contry and oddsmakers opened them as 17-point favorites. Since then, bettors have moved the line to Crimson Tide -18.5. As for the total, it has yet to move off the opening number of 58.5. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We opened Alabama as 16.5 point favourites in this game and it was bet up to -18 with some sharp action. With the spread that high the action has been coming in on Texas A&M moving us back to Alabama -17.5 with over 75 percent of the action on Texas A&M to cover the spread.” – Michael Stewart of CarbonSports.ag.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Battle of undefeated Top 10 ranked SEC foes finds both team having just faced Tennessee in each of their last contests. The Tide trounced the injury depleted Vols, 49-10, at Rocky Top while the Aggies slipped past Tennessee in overtime, 45-38, two weeks ago in College Station. While the common opponent edge goes the Bama, revenge incentive is strong in A&M’s favor as they’ve taken it on the chops three straight times in this series, including a 59-0 whitewash in their last visit here in 2014. Winner here assumes the pole position in the rugged SEC West.” – Covers Expert Marc Lawrence.
WEATHER REPORT: It should be a beautiful day for football in Tuscaloosa, Alamaba on Saturday. The forecast is calling for clear skies and temperatures in the high 60’s for the game. There will be a five-to-seven mile per hour wind gusting towards the southern endzone.
Texas A&M – WR R. Seals-Jones (questionable Saturday, leg), DL M. Garrett (questionable Saturday, ankle).
Alabama – OL A. Taylor (questionable Saturday, concussion).
ABOUT TEXAS A&M (6-0, 4-2 ATS, 2-3-1 O/U): The Aggies lead the SEC in total offense (532.8 yards per game) and rushing offense (274.3) and will be trying to penetrate an Alabama unit that leads the nation in rushing defense (69.2) and allows just 2.2 yards per carry. Standout freshman running back Trayveon Williams (SEC-leading 704 rushing yards, five touchdowns) has been superb with an 8.6 average per carry while senior quarterback Travis Knight has been effective as both a runner (502 yards, nine scores) and a passer (1,500 yards, nine touchdowns). Junior defensive end Myles Garrett (28 career sacks, team-leading four this season) is getting closer to full strength from an ankle injury and senior strong safety Justin Evans leads Texas A&M with 48 tackles and three interceptions.
ABOUT ALABAMA (7-0, 5-2 ATS, 4-3 O/U): Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has become a big-time star and has accounted for 17 touchdowns (nine passing, eight rushing) while passing for 1,385 yards and rushing for 428. Sophomore running back Damien Harris (572 yards) averages an impressive 8.3 yards per carry while sophomore wideout Calvin Ridley has 39 receptions for 477 yards and four touchdowns. Senior defensive end Jonathan Allen has five sacks to raise his career total to 23, two behind second-place Kindal Moorehead (1998-2002) on the Crimson Tide’s all-time list while senior safety Eddie Jackson has a superb 25.8 punt-return average and has scored three total touchdowns (two on punt returns, one on an interception).
* Texas A&M is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games following an ATS loss.
* Alabama is 10-2 ATS versus a team with a winning record.
* Under is 7-0 in Texas A&M’s last seven road games.
* Under is 4-1 in Alabama’s last last home games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Even though the line has moved in Alabama’s favor, the public is siding with Texas A&M, as 63 percent of wagers are on the Aggies. As for the total, bettors are hammering the Over, with 71 percent of wagers backing it.