Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Texas A&M Aggies, Saturday Sept. 24, 9 p.m. ET
Jerry Jones has the biggest, shiniest building in the NFL. It would otherwise be empty on Saturday, and Jones loves two things - selling a lot of tickets to make lots of cash, and his alma mater, the Arkansas Razorbacks. It's fitting, then, that this rivalry has found a permanent home in Jerry World. This is the sixth time that the teams have met in Dallas' shrine to football glory. Arkansas won the first three, but then the series took a two-year break from Arlington, and since it returned the Aggies have won two in a row. This year, with both teams coming in unbeaten and with nice wins to their credit - the Aggies beat UCLA and Arkansas outlasted TCU in a real war - and the SEC being more wide open behind Alabama than it has been in recent years, this is a more compelling showdown than we have seen here in a while.
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Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Betting Storylines
If you are the type of bettor that values talent then the edge is clear here. Aggies lineman Myles Garrett is not only the best player in this game, but a compelling argument can be made that he is the top defensive player in the country right now. Arkansas looks to control the line and move the ball on the ground primarily, so Garrett is a challenging matchup and a potential difference maker. The Arkansas offensive line is better on paper than they have performed so far - they have had moments of excellence but have really lacked consistency. They need to have their best day of the season by far here, or Garrett will be in the Arkansas backfield almost as much as Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen is.
While Arkansas looks to the ground first, the Aggies will be looking to the air. It makes sense, too - Trevor Knight has found his place after transferring into the program, and he has one of the deepest receiving corps in the entire country. The Razorbacks have a strong defensive line and will be looking to disrupt Knight and not allow the receivers the time to develop their routes fully. So, while A&M's defensive line has the biggest star, it's the Arkansas defensive bigs that will have the biggest impact on how this game turns out.
The coaching matchup here is interesting. Bret Bielema seemed like an odd choice when he left Wisconsin for Arkansas, and he hasn't exactly earned universal praise since arriving. Progress has been slow to come, but he has done some nice things this year - the upset of TCU really helped - and he could continue to build his case with a win here. Kevin Sumlin, meanwhile, was the hottest name in coaching a couple of years ago, but now it feels as if he is fighting for his life and working very hard to keep his seat cool. The strong early start has helped him as well, and extending the win streak over the Razorbacks to five games would be another big asset in his attempt to climb back to the top of the pile. This game is not life or death for either coach, but both will be highly motivated to make a statement, and that makes things interesting. I'd give the edge to Sumlin on pure talent, but then I've watched enough Bielema ball to be bored by his style, and that doesn't help me appraise him without bias.
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with the Aggies favored by six points, and that is still available widely right now. In some spots it moved up to 6.5 before returning to 6. The action has been fairly evenly split between the two teams, so the line movement is as expected. The total opened at 50.5 and has fallen a single point to 49.5.
The Razorbacks are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games overall and 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference games. They are, however, just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 neutral-site games. The Aggies are lousy on a neutral site, too - they are 5-12 ATS in their last 17. They are 4-0 ATS in their last four games in September but just 1-5 ATS in their last six against teams with winning records.
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Predictions and Picks
This is a tough number. I like the Aggies in this one, but this is just a touch more points than I want to give up - but not enough to make Arkansas attractive. What I do like, though, is the total. I trust both offenses to find ways to do what they do well, and that should lead to some points scored. Three of the last five meetings between the two teams have gone "over" the total, and the two that didn't still saw 49 and 63 points scored. A&M has scored at least 29 points in every game this year, and Arkansas has averaged 41.5 the last two games. The over feels like the right play here. Click here for more free NCAA winners for this weekend.
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