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Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Texas A&M Aggies Point Spread - Pick

Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 3:30PM EST
Where: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
TV: CBS

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: ALA -18.5/TAM +18.5
Over/Under Total: 61

The Alabama Crimson Tide come to College Station for a big SEC showdown with the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday at Kyle Field. Each team had last week off, as they rest their bodies for what should be a high-impact contest on Saturday. For the Crimson Tide, they haven't been doing great at the betting windows with just a 2-3 ATS record, but a 5-0 start was enough to shoot them into a top-ranking, as they start setting up their big title-run. Standing in their way is an A&M squad looking to make a real mark after a 3-2 start to the season. Will the Tide keep rolling or will the Aggies do something special on Saturday?

Last season's game is useful to look at, particularly with so many key pieces still in place. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama beat Texas A&M, 45-23, with the Aggies losing touch late in the first-half after hanging in there a bit. They at least managed to cover the spread in a tough road-spot and look to build on that scrappiness this time around. The two starting quarterbacks from each team are back behind center this season, each coming off very different games last season. A&M quarterback Kellen Mond didn't have his best game, completing less than half his passes and throwing two picks. Meanwhile, 'Bama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 387 yards and 4 touchdowns, while having a very good day with his various weaponry. And the bad news for A&M is that a lot of those tools are back this season on offense, with RB Najee Harris and ball-catchers Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, III. (questionable), and others knowing what it's like to thrive against this Texas A&M defense. By the same token, Mond did run for nearly 100 yards with a score, while throwing another one last season in this game. With another year of maturity, maybe Mond and his weapons can clean up last season's mistakes and make a run at this one or at least be in the running to cover the spread.

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Mond has grown and so far this season, has shown a bold aerial flair, while still making the occasional mistake. He has also continued to show his useful legs when in a pinch. They started off well, their only loss to a then top-ranked Clemson team where they still covered the spread. The past two weeks haven't been so kind, with an 8-point loss to Auburn at home, followed by a 31-27 win over a down Arkansas team where they didn't come near the spread. Clinging to the fringes of the top-25, this would really make a mark in conference, while also giving the Aggies a win that would go a long way toward making this a successful season.

Texas A&M's offense goes through Mond, but he has a wealth of players with which to deploy. The run-game is more of a table-setter, but they have a lot of tools back there like Isaiah Spiller, along with Jashaun Corbin and Mond himself breaking some loose here and there. They have some real difference-makers aerially, led by Jhamon Austin, Quartney Davis, Ainias Smith, and Kendrick Rogers. It's not a super high-powered offense, but they can move the ball well. The problem is they'll be facing a "Bama defense that has troubled a lot of guys who are still on that sideline. Can they do better this season at home against a Crimson Tide "D" that has a lot of new faces?

An A&M defense that started off well has struggled recently in stopping big plays. They know they have a lot of questions to answer this week. Sometimes, they don't play that physically on this side of the ball. Against a disciplined, high-octane Alabama offense that has several future NFL stars on it, that could be a problem. It hasn't just been the pass-defense, but the middle and front-line have suffered in spots, as well. They have some real contributors on this side of the ball, like safety Keldrick Carter and DT Justin Madubuike, but a lot more intensity is needed on this side of the ball if they're going to take a run at being competitive in this spot.

So far, it's been a fairly-routine five games for the Crimson Tide. With jumbo-size spreads, they've only covered once in the last four games, beating Duke, New Mexico State, South Carolina, Southern Miss, and Ole Miss. This looks to definitely be the challenge of the season so far for the Tide, a road-game against an imperfect, but still dangerous A&M team. Will some of their limitations, if they have any, surface under the pressure of a more-competitive game after five games where they cruised to wins?

The Alabama offense is something to behold under the stewardship of Tagovailoa. With over 76% completions and 23 touchdowns with no picks, the stat-line speaks for itself. He has a lot of weapons through the air with Devonta Smith, Jeudy, Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle. Backs like Najee Harris also chip in with production aerially. It's a varied and potent attack. With Harris and others like Brian Robinson, Jr. doing their thing on the ground to set the table, it makes it a real headache for opposing defenses to stop the Alabama offense from having a real track meet.

If there are any issues with 'Bama and the best angle for A&M is the Tide defense. They were on the field a lot against an Ole Miss offense that put up 476 yards and they were porous on occasion. The week off is helpful and will give Saban and Company time to work things out. They haven't allowed a play of over 50 yards this season and should get better as the season carries on. There are some new faces in key positions, but this is a football factory for defensive stars and finding talented people to plop in there isn't an issue for this program. But it's still going to need to gel a bit before it's what you can really call a true-blue dominant Alabama defense.

Facing their first demanding road test of the season coming off a break, I'd expect a focused and on-point Alabama squad in this one. The Aggies can be loose and really go for it this week, but I think a win might be out of their depth. The question then boils down to whether you think Texas A&M can give the Tide a game. I think they can—for a while. Then the superior physicality and talent on both sides of the ball will manifest for Alabama, as they pull away for the win and cover in what should be a fun game.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Alabama Crimson Tide minus 18.5 points. Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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