NCAAF Week 5 Marquee Matchup Betting Pick Featuring Alabama and Arkansas

will anderson jr alabama crimson tide ncaaf
Will Anderson Jr. #31 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after returning an interception for a touchdown against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks with DeMarcco Hellams #2 and Terrion Arnold #3. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

The CBS SEC Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon is a big showdown from the West Division as No. 2 Alabama visits No. 20 Arkansas. Which way to lean at OddsTrader’s top-rated sportsbooks?

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

Saturday, October 01, 2022 – 03:30 PM EDT at Razorback Stadium

This Years’s Favorites

Is Arkansas ready to be a major player in the SEC? It hasn’t been for years, but we’ll find out how good the 2022 Razorbacks might be Saturday when No. 2 Alabama visits the No. 20 Hogs, with CBS having the national telecast. To win the SEC title game, the Tide are currently +105 second favorites at OddsTrader’s top-rated books and the Razorbacks are +8000. 

Last year, Alabama was a 20.5-point home favorite in this series, but they didn’t come close to covering on the NCAAF picks in a 42-35 victory.

The Best Performances

Tide QB Bryce Young, the eventual Heisman Trophy winner, passed for a school-record 559 yards and five touchdowns. Jameson Williams had eight catches for 190 yards and three scores, but he is now with the Detroit Lions. John Metchie III, now with the Houston Texans, had 10 catches for 173 yards and a TD.

Brian Robinson, now a member of the Washington Commanders, rushed for 122 yards on 27 carries. Hogs quarterback KJ Jefferson passed for 326 yards and three scores. Treylon Burks, a 2022 first-round pick by the Tennessee Titans, caught eight passes for 179 yards and two scores. 

The road team is 5-2 against the spread in the past seven meetings. Alabama leads the all-time series 25-7 and has taken 14 straight.  

Tide Have Been Great At Home 

Alabama (4-0) spanked visiting Vanderbilt 55-3 on Saturday and has won each game at home so far by at least 52 points, but its one road game was a 20-19 escape at Texas on September 10. The Tide had a season-best 628 yards of total offense against Vandy while limiting the Commodores to just 123 yards of total offense and 14 rushing yards.  

Bryce Young, who is +350 at the top-rated books to repeat as the Heisman winner, finished with a season-high 385 passing yards on 25-of-36 through the air, including four touchdowns. Ja’Corey Brooks led all receivers with a career-best 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns on six catches – all in the first half. Jase McClellan (11-78-1) and Jamarion Miller (9-63-2) combined for 141 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. 

Linebacker Will Anderson Jr. –the nation’s best player, in our opinion– was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career after having a team-high 3.0 tackles for loss (-17 yards) and 2.5 sacks (-16 yards).

Alabama’s History So Far

Saturday is the first day of October, and Coach Nick Saban is 52-3 in October at Alabama, including 23-3 on the road. Saban is 14-1 in SEC road openers since he arrived in 2007, with the lone loss coming at Ole Miss in 2014.

Since 2008, the Tide are 72-18 overall against AP Top 25 opponents. Saban ranks third in all-time for road wins against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 with 25 victories. Bobby Bowden is the all-time leader (33), followed by Joe Paterno (27). 

The Tide are 1-6 against the spread in their past seven road games vs. teams with a winning home record. 

Hogs Off Tough Loss 

Arkansas (3-1) comes off its first loss of the season, 23-21 to No. 23 Texas A&M at a neutral site in Arlington, Texas. The Hogs led 14-0 after a quarter but allowed 23 straight points.

Hogs QB KJ Jefferson lost the ball trying to leap over a blocking lineman on a first-down play from the A&M 3 when Arkansas had a chance for a 21-7 lead late in the first half. The Aggies returned it 82 yards for a touchdown.  

“You know, I mean, it was a huge play, obviously,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “It went from 21-7 to 14-13. It was first down too. You know, we had a list of things– no, never mind. It was a huge play in the game. And, unfortunately, it happened to us. But, you know, we can’t– you know, we can’t do that on first down, you know. If it was fourth down, that’s a different story. Unfortunately, it just got popped out.”

Arkansas’ Key Players

Jefferson completed 12 of 19 for 171 yards and two scores and also led the team in rushing with 105 yards and a TD on 18 carries. He became the first Arkansas QB to pass and run for 100+ yards since Matt Jones did against Ole Miss in 2004.

Jefferson, who has rushed for a touchdown in five straight games dating to last season, is one of only three FBS quarterbacks to throw for 900+ yards and run for 200+ yards on the year.

Raheim “Rocket” Sanders is the Razorbacks’ leading rusher on the year with 508 yards on 83 carries (6.1 avg) and three scores. He leads the SEC in rushing yards, rushing yards per game (127.0), and all-purpose yards (625). He is the only FBS player with 500+ rushing yards and 100+ receiving yards for the season.

A Much Needed Win

The Razorbacks missed a chance to have consecutive 4-0 starts for the first time since 1988-89. The Hogs haven’t won their first two SEC games since 2006.

With a win on Saturday, the Razorbacks would improve to 2-1 in league action for the first time since the 2011 campaign. 

The Hogs must put pressure on Tide QB Bryce Young to have a chance, and they just might be capable of that as they lead the nation with 20 sacks.

Eight different defenders have at least one. Linebacker Drew Sanders is tied for the national lead in sacks (5.5). He spent the previous two seasons at Alabama.

Alabama vs. Arkansas: The Betting Pick

Arkansas is 4-1 ATS in its past five home games, and I do believe they can hang relatively close at home.

We will use Unibet, though, because it’s a rare book where the Hogs are getting 17.5 points. 

Score Prediction: Alabama 35 – Arkansas 20 

NCAAF Pick: Arkansas +17.5 (-110) at Unibet is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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