ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE AT ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (+14, 49), Sat., 7 p.m. ET
No. 1 Alabama has never lost to No. 16 Arkansas with Nick Saban at the helm, but winning and covering are different things, especially in Fayetteville. Two of the past three meetings at Razorback Stadium have been decided by one and four points.
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Alabama goes for its 10th straight win in the series Saturday night as it begins a difficult stretch against ranked foes. Tennessee and Texas A&M are up next.
The Crimson Tide should get a boost from the expected return of leading rusher Damien Harris, whose ankle limited him to two carries last week against Kentucky.
Both quarterbacks have been extremely efficient. Arkansas' Austin Allen has completed 68 percent of his throws with 12 TDs and two INTs, while Alabama's Jalen Hurts has thrown for seven TDs against one INT while rushing for 276 yards.
Against quality opponents, Arkansas' defense has not held up. The Razorbacks gave up 572 yards to TCU and 591 yards to Texas A&M.
That could spell trouble against an Alabama team averaging 44 points (13th nationally).
While the home team has covered five of the past seven meetings, Alabama is 5-0 ATS in its last five games following an ATS loss. The Crimson Tide (-37) did not cover in last week's 34-6 win over Kentucky.
SPORTS CHEETAH'S TAKE
The Crimson Tide have a big road test at Tennessee coming up in Week 7, but I don?t expect Nick Saban and company to overlook an Arkansas squad that has played them extremely tough the past two seasons.
Last year, the Razorbacks led 7-3 at halftime in Tuscaloosa before the Tide outscored them 24-7 in the second half. The year before, Arkansas took a 13-7 lead into the fourth quarter at home, only to lose by one.
I can see why the line has settled at 14 with the recent history between the schools and the Vols on deck for Alabama. I made it 16.5 and wish I could recommend backing the short number, but I likely won't have it in me unless the number drops to 13.
This spread opened at Alabama -14 and hasn't moved.
"We've only moved the juice a few times for this matchup," said Scottt Cooley, odds consultant for BookMaker.eu. "We've taken exactly zero bets from [professional bettors] up to this point. It's been all public money, and they are fairly split on the side with just over 55 percent on the home dog. I'd guess this number will drop at some point."
SportsInsights also expects the line to fall to 13.5.
Depending on your book, the total has dropped 2 or 2.5 points from the opener of 51.
The Tide handled Kentucky 34-6 -- failing to cover the 37-point spread -- as sophomore wideout Calvin Ridley caught 11 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Alabama fell to 3-2 ATS and the Under improved to 3-2 in Tide games.
The Razorbacks rolled up 559 total yards and destroyed Alcorn State 52-10, but did not cover the massive 50.5-point spread. Arkansas fell to 2-3 ATS with the Under improving to 3-2 in Razorbacks' games.
SportsLine expert Robby Kalland, who's 9-5 on Over/Under picks, has a strong recommendation on this total. Get all expert picks here.