To start off in-conference SEC play, the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas A&M Aggies are meeting at AT&T Stadium for a neutral site showdown. Both Arkansas and Texas A&M come into the game with 3-0 records and are nationally ranked, with Arkansas sitting 16th in the polls and Texas A&M ranked 7th.
As a result, TAMU is favored by only 5.5 points. This is a far cry from the Aggies first three games where they were favored by between 17 and 30 points.
Arkansas, unlike Texas A&M, came into the season unranked. The Razorbacks easily defeated Rice and Georgia Southern, but the biggest surprise came when they beat Texas 40-21 as six-point underdogs. After the Texas upset, Arkansas was vaulted into the AP Top 25.
Even though Saturday’s Notre Dame/Wisconsin matchup will be compelling, in my opinion the TAMU/ARK game will be the most compelling game of the college football weekend.
Below, I go over how I think the game will go and my favorite bets.
Texas A&M vs Arkansas Best Bet: Arkansas Team Total Under 20.5 Points (-105) at PointsBet
For in-depth analysis of this CFB bet of the day and others, continue reading.
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Texas A&M vs Arkansas Prediction
Going into the season, Texas A&M was ranked 5th in the AP Top 25 poll while Arkansas was unranked. This was unsurprising as TAMU went 9-1 last year and Arkansas went 3-7.
After three weeks have been played, both the Aggies and Razorbacks are 3-0 and ranked in the top 25. Texas A&M dropped from 5th to 7th and Arkansas went from unranked to 16th in the AP Top 25 poll.
It is not surprising that Arkansas was unranked going into the season. The Razorbacks have had a losing record in each of the last four seasons and looked terrible last year. However, when they handedly beat a then-ranked Texas team, it began to look like they might have turned a corner.
However, I am a little skeptical of the Razorbacks this year. Last year, Arkansas averaged only 25.7 points per game, which was significantly lower than most teams. This year, the Hogs are averaging 41 points per game, which is the 11th most in the FBS.
The question for Arkansas is if its offense has significantly improved, or if its scoring is up simply because of variance and playing two cupcakes in Rice and Georgia Southern. Against the Aggies defense, the Hogs could be turned into pulled pork.
Under head coach Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M has had one of the country’s best defenses. This season, the Aggies are allowing only 5.7 points per game, which is the fewest in the FBS. Last year, playing only against SEC teams, TAMU allowed just 21.7 points per game. With teams like Alabama, Florida, LSU, and Mississippi State on their 2020 schedule, this was not a small feat.
Against Texas, Arkansas ran for 333 yards and averaged 7.1 yards per rushing attempt. Last year, the Aggies allowed only 3.3 yards per carry, which was the 10th best mark in the FBS.
The one opening that the Razorbacks have is that Texas A&M’s offense has been weak so far this season.
But can Arkansas can pull off another upset as a small underdog against a strong Texas A&M team?
Prediction: Texas A&M 21, Arkansas 10
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas Best Bets
Best Bet: Texas A&M -5.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: .75 Units
Before the season started, Texas A&M would have been set as a heavy favorite against Arkansas. The Razorbacks had an impressive win against Texas, but that doesn’t mean that they are at the Aggies’ level yet.
It will be a low scoring game, but Texas A&M should be able to win by at least a touchdown, which is why I don’t mind laying 5.5 points on them. Out of all the SEC teams even Ole Miss and Georgia, in my opinion, TAMU has the best chance of beating Alabama this year when it hosts the Crimson Tide at home on October 9th.
Best Bet: Arkansas Team Total Under 20.5 (-105 at PointsBet)
Wager: 1.5 Units
While the spread is the most widely available betting option for backing Texas A&M, in my opinion the best value is on betting on Arkansas to go under its team total at 20.5 points.
I would have liked the team total to have been set at 21 or 21.5, but at -105 juice at PointsBet, under 20.5 points is worth a shot. Personally, I am going to wait until closer to kickoff to see if I can find an under 21 at -115 or better or an under 21.5 at -125 or better that might be offered.
I do not have faith in the Razorbacks being able to score three touchdowns against what might be the best defense in the country this year.
Best Bet: Texas A&M to Win SEC Conference (+3300 at BetRivers)
Wager: .5 Units
At +3300, if the Aggies beat a ranked team in Arkansas, they are unlikely to remain that big of a longshot to win the SEC. While they will face stiff tests against Ole Miss and Alabama later in the season, in my opinion Texas A&M has a plausible path to winning the conference.