- The (#2) Alabama Crimson Tide are three-touchdown home favorites over the (#21) Arkansas Razorbacks for Saturday’s SEC showdown, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
- Alabama has won each of their last 13 matchups with Arkansas, with the points total going under in five of their last seven meetings.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Crimson Tide are set to host the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday in an SEC showdown between two ranked teams – one of this week’s best college football matchups.
Arkansas has covered the spread in just one of their last six games and has won just two of their last 17 road games outright, while Alabama has covered in five of their last seven games and won each of their last 20 home games outright.
(#21) Arkansas Vs. (#2) Alabama Betting Odds
- Arkansas +21 (-115)
- Alabama -21 (-105)
- Arkansas +800
- Alabama -1600
- Over 58.5 (-110)
- Under 58.5 (-110)
Alabama opened as 21.5-point favorites on online gambling sites, but the spread has shifted slightly to 21 points.
The Razorbacks won a hard-fought 16-13 battle against LSU last week, their third consecutive win. Arkansas ran considerably more rushing plays (41) than passing plays (26), though they averaged just 3.56 yards per carry (down from their 5.13 YPC mark on the season) and did not find the end zone on any of the 41 attempts.
Despite the Razorbacks’ focus on the run game, quarterback K.J. Jefferson was efficient, completing 18 of his 25 passes and tossing one touchdown and no interceptions. He only managed to rack up 142 yards on his 18 completions, however, averaging just 5.7 yards per attempt.
On the other hand, the Crimson Tide handled business against New Mexico State last week, covering the 50.5-point spread in a 59-3 walloping. It was Alabama’s fourth straight win, dating back to their lone slip-up, a 41-38 loss to Texas A&M.
Alabama has been riding one of the nation’s top defenses, as well as an efficient offense led by quarterback Bryce Young (33 TD/3 INT) and running back Brian Robinson Jr. (823 rushing yards, 16 TDs) to much success all year.
How Arkansas Can Cover
The Razorbacks will need Jefferson to produce some bigger plays this week against Alabama, who boast one of college football’s best run defenses – the Crimson Tide have allowed just 2.63 yards per carry, the third-fewest in the NCAA. They have also allowed just 83.5 total rushing yards per game to opponents, the fourth-fewest in the NCAA.
If Alabama has a weakness on defense, it has been against the pass when facing ranked opponents. In their three games against ranked opponents in 2021, Alabama has allowed a 70% completion percentage, for 8.3 yards per attempt.
For Arkansas to effectively move the ball on offense, Jefferson will have to get the ball in wide receiver Treylon Burks’ hands. Burks ranks 34th in the NCAA in receiving yards (796) and 17th in receiving touchdowns (8) and has shown big-play ability.
Burks will likely be shadowed by cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis, who ranks within the top 20 in the NCAA in interceptions (3). If Burks can create separation from Armour-Davis consistently, Jefferson has the accuracy to find him, which will bode well for Arkansas’ chances of keeping it close.
How Alabama Can Cover
For Alabama to cover, they just have to play to their ability. The Crimson Tide have defeated their opponents by an average of 31 points in their nine 2021 victories.
The Crimson Tide defense will have to stop a potent Razorback rushing attack, something they have done with great success all year; they will also need to keep Arkansas’ best weapon in the passing game, Burks, quiet to maintain the 21-point margin.
Outside of Alabama’s defense living up to expectations, the offense will need to continue to protect the ball. Alabama is tied for third-fewest turnovers in the NCAA with 8; this has allowed Alabama to control the ball and establish the run game, which has in turn opened up the passing game.
The run game has been instrumental to the Crimson Tide’s passing prowess, allowing wide receivers to get open behind the secondary that must respect the handoff: Alabama’s offense ranks fifth in the nation in yards per pass attempt, something that may show against a Razorback defense that may have to stack the box to make up for a deficit in talent in the trenches.