This Saturday the No. 14 Texas A&M Aggies (3-0) will face off against the Arkansas Razorbacks (1-2) at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 EST and will be televised on ESPN. Our Week 4 college football lines show the Aggies listed as a 7.5-point favorite with the total set at 59.5 points.
Texas A&M is undefeated after 3 games. The Aggies won and covered in their first two games against Arizona State (38-17, -3) and Ball State (56-23, -31), but failed to beat the number this past Saturday in a 44-27 win over Nevada (-31.5). Arkansas won and covered in a 48-13 blowout win at home against UTEP (-31) to start the season, but have since lost back-to-back games as favorites, falling 12-16 at home to Toledo (-23) and 34-35 at home to Texas Tech (-10).
The Aggies have won each of the last 3 meetings in the series, including a 35-28 overtime win against Arkansas last year in Arlington. That was a fortunate win for Texas A&M, as they went into the 4th quarter trailing 14-28. The Aggies still trailed by 7 with less than 3 minutes to play, but a 59-yard touchdown pass tied it up and allowed them to win in overtime.
Early Lean on Texas A&M -7.5
I think we are getting some decent value here with Texas A&M, even with Arkansas coming in on a free-fall with back-to-back losses against Toledo and Texas Tech. The Razorbacks gained a ton of respect both from the oddsmakers and betting public last year, as they went an impressive 10-3 ATS. I still think we are seeing some of that respect play into this line, as this has clearly not been the same caliber a team as last season. Keep in mind the Razorbacks just lost at home by 11 to a Texas Tech team they beat 49-28 on the road last year.
While Arkansas is a team that is getting love from the books based on how they did last year, Texas A&M is a team that I don’t think people are quite sold on yet, which is why this line isn’t 10 or more. The Aggies went a respectable 8-5, but were just 5-8 ATS and closed out the year 3-5 after a 5-0 start.
Those that have watched Texas A&M, know this is a much-improved team on both sides of the ball. Especially on defense, where first year defensive coordinator John Chavis (LSU D-coordinator previous 6 years) is working his magic. The Aggies come in ranked 45th in total defense, giving up just 337.0 ypg (allowed 451 ypg last year). The most telling sign of their improved defense, was their opener against a high-powered Arizona State offense, which they held to 17-points and just 291 yards of total offense.
The loss of Williams has really hurt this team. After averaging 218 ypg on the ground last year, they come in averaging 171.0 ypg. That’s even more concerning when you factor in they were averaging 362 ypg after their first 3 games last year. They had 438 yards rushing in that win over Texas Tech. This year they managed just 196 yards on the ground against the Red Raiders.
You have to be careful throwing a team like Arkansas under the bus after a couple of poor performances, but I don’t see this team bouncing back. They have lost two huge pieces offensively to injury in running back Jonathan Williams and wide receiver Keon Hatcher. The loss of Williams has really hurt this team. After averaging 218 ypg on the ground last year, they come in averaging 171.0 ypg. That’s even more concerning when you factor in they were averaging 362 ypg after their first 3 games last year. They had 438 yards rushing in that win over Texas Tech. This year they managed just 196 yards on the ground against the Red Raiders.
The Razorbacks are also not as strong defensively and will be facing by far the best offense they have seen to this point in the season. It will also be Arkansas’ first game away from home, which makes it that much harder to envision them bouncing back with a strong enough performance here to keep it within 10-points against the Aggies.
While this is technically a neutral site game, I believe it’s going to feel a lot more like a home game for the Aggies. Arlington is over a 5 hour car ride from Fayetteville and I have a difficult time seeing a bunch of Razorback fans making the trip after watching their team get embarrassed at home by a couple of teams they were expected to dominate.
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