Expert NCAA Football Picks: Texas A&M at Alabama Odds and Predictions
Texas A&M Aggies at Alabama Crimson Tide, Saturday Sept. 22, 3:30 p.m. ET
Nick Saban has played games against teams coached by his former assistants a dozen times over the years. He has not lost one of those games - and you know that he elevates his already legendary intensity in these contests. Jimbo Fisher was Saban's offensive coordinator at LSU - and almost got the Alabama head coaching job before Saban, too. Fisher was humiliated by Saban the last time the two met on the field - Alabama crushed Florida State in last year's season opener, when both teams were thought to be the best in the country, but only one deserved that attention. Of course, Fisher already had at least one foot out the door by the time that game came around, so we will see a much more focused coach here. This matchup didn't need a whole lot of help to be intriguing, but this storyline sure doesn't hurt.
Texas A&M at Alabama Betting Storylines
I can't be the only one who is a little surprised by how good the Aggies have looked so far. They were a team on decline and without direction for the last couple of years as the Kevin Sumlin era came to a whimpering end. But they have looked like an entirely different team under Fisher. In their two games against outmatched opponents they have rolled, covering spreads of 28 and 46.5 points. And they gave Clemson a very tough contest and probably deserved better than the two-point loss they suffered as 12-point underdogs. Fisher did a truly terrible job of coaching last year, and there was some off-field drama heading into this season, so it would have been not surprising, and almost acceptable, if they had struggled this year. And they still could. But so far they have done almost all they could have hoped for. Making Fisher's job easier has been that his skill stars have stepped up. Kellen Mond has thrown six touchdowns without a pick and has been efficient. Running back Trayveon Williams has gained 399 yards while averaging a very solid 6.8 yards per carry and has scored four times. Williams was mostly invisible against the brutal Clemson defensive front, running 17 times for just 31 yards. But Mond was brilliant, passing for 430 yards and three touchdowns. If he played well against Clemson then he stands at least a chance of success against the Tide.
This is a stat that is pretty much impossible to believe - Alabama has become the first SEC team ever to score more than 50 points in each of their first three games. If you had asked me, I would have told you that the Tide had done it a couple of times before themselves. And though they haven't faced a great team yet, they also haven't done it against total duds - they faced Louisville in the opener and Ole Miss last week. The story, of course, has been sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa, the star of the National Championship Game last year who has been even better this season. He has looked shockingly good, throwing for eight touchdowns without an interception or really a moment of mortality. Jalen Hurts has played a fair bit as well and would be looking good if he wasn't being compared to the new star. But that might not continue - Hurts is likely to leave Alabama after this year, and if he doesn't play again he can take a redshirt. Beyond the star QB, what has really stood out is how frighteningly deep this team is. Saying Alabama is deep and talented is far from profound - it's a given. But this version of the team at this point in the season looks particularly good even by their impossible standards.
Texas A&M at Alabama Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Alabama favored by 23.5, and that has climbed to 26 . A small majority of bets have been on Alabama, so the line movement isn't a surprise. The total sits at 61.
The Aggies have covered their last four spreads and are 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 in September. They are, however, just 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 conference games. The Tide have covered their last five spreads in September and are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games. They have covered the spread in just one of their last five conference games, though.
Texas A&M at Alabama Predictions and Picks
Alabama is scary right now, and they are going to win this one. Probably handily. But, man, is this a lot of points. Texas A&M is feeling confident and playing well, and the number is just screaming out to make us take the points. And that's what I'm going to do. Alabama wins handily, but not handily enough.
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