The game of the day in college football in Week 8 and probably the most important game of the year until Ohio State and Michigan close the regular season against one another is Saturday in Tuscaloosa as No. 6 Texas A&M visits No. 1 Alabama. The winner here should win the SEC West and then the conference championship game and have a clear path to the College Football Playoff. The loser still might get to the playoff if this game is very close. But the Tide are huge favorites in NCAA Football odds.
Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Texas A&M at Alabama Betting Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info
— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) October 18, 2016
When: Saturday, Oct. 22, 3:30 p m. ET
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa
Opening NCAA Football Lines: Alabama -18.5 (58.5)
Why Bet on Texas A&M?
The Aggies will bring with them quarterback Trevor Knight, who knows a thing or two about beating the Crimson Tide after he successfully led his former team, Oklahoma, to a win in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Knight’s running has been a major key for the Aggies this season. He ran for 157 yards on 10 carries against Arkansas and then scored three touchdowns on 110 yards against Tennessee last time out.
A&M also has the advantage of coming off a bye — it beat No. 9 Tennessee 45-38 in double overtime on Oct. 8. Knight scored on a 1-yard run in the second OT for the go-ahead score. After Knight bulled in for the touchdown, Armani Watts intercepted Joshua Dobbs’ pass on the next play for Tennessee’s seventh turnover to end the game.
With the win, the Aggies improved to 6-0 for the first time since 1994 when Texas A&M won its first seven games and finished 10-0- 1. The Aggies improved to 4-0 in SEC play, marking the first time A&M has won its first 4 conference games since joining the SEC in 2012. It’s the first time that A&M has won its first four conference games since the Aggies opened conference play in 2004. The victory marked the 12th victory over an AP Top 25-ranked team by head coach Kevin Sumlin since taking over the Aggies in 2012. It’s the second-most ranked wins behind R.C. Slocum's 17 in 14 seasons from 1989-2002.
Why Bet on Alabama?
ESPN GameDay will be at this game. ESPN’s Lee Corso has put on Alabama headgear more than any other team (24 times) and is 16-8 when picking the Tide, however he is just 3-3 the last six times he has picked the Tide. Corso has picked against Texas A&M twice, including Alabama’s 49-42 win in College Station in 2013. He did pick Texas A&M to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2012.
Alabama still hasn’t forgotten what Knight did to the Tide in that Sugar Bowl because he pulled off the rarest of feats. Since that setback, the Tide have played 36 games and lost only three times. Knight completed 32 of 44 pass attempts for 348 yards, throwing for four touchdowns against one interception.
It was an exceptional performance by a freshman who seemed on the cusp of stardom. The Tide come off a dominating 49-10 win over Tennessee last Saturday. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns to key a dominant running attack. Hurts directed the Tide offense to five touchdowns, Eddie Jackson returned a punt 79 yards for a score, and free safety Ronnie Harrison returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown.
The Alabama defense limited the explosive Tennessee offense to a season-low 163 yards, including season lows in rushing (32 yards) and passing (131). Meanwhile, the Tide offense grinded out 594 yards of total offense, the most in a game since 2010 (591 vs. San Jose State). The Tide rushed for 438 yards against the Vols, the most by an Alabama team since the Tide rushed for 457 yards against Tennessee in a 56-28 win in 1986 in Knoxville.
The Crimson Tide lead the series with the Aggies by a 6-2 margin, dating back to the first meeting in the 1942 Cotton Bowl, and has won the last three meetings between the two squads. The last matchup in Tuscaloosa came in 2014, as Alabama came away with a 59-0 victory, the largest win over a ranked opponent in UA history. Last season, the Tide left College Station with a 41-23 win.
My Expert Pick
Aggies are 2-6 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Aggies are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss.
Crimson Tide are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
Crimson Tide are 10-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Tide win but won’t cover that big NCAA Football betting spread.