SEC Week 4 Overview: Texas A&M Is Alabama's Sternest Test Yet

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 12:06 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2018 12:06 PM UTC

Top-ranked Alabama hosts a formful Texas A&M squad Saturday in its toughest test to date. A pick on the total holds the most betting value. Check out why, and take a look at all the Week 4 SEC action.

SEC Spotlight: No. 22 Texas A&M at No. 1 AlabamaSaturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)Free NCAAF Pick: Under 61Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Is this the best offense Alabama (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) head coach Nick Saban has ever fielded? Thus far, the numbers suggest so. The team’s 56.7-point average through the first three weeks is the most since Saban took control in 2007. Granted it has played some weak defenses (Louisville, Arkansas State, Ole Miss), but the unit has topped market projections in each contest, surpassing its team total by 9.6 points per game.

Texas A&M (2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS) is playing better than expected under first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher, covering each game to begin the season by 8.3 points per tilt. This includes a narrow defeat to then-No. 2 Clemson 28-26 in Week 2 in which the Aggies rallied for 23 second-half points. The offense, like Alabama, is clicking, generating 596.3 total yards and 44.3 points per game.

The nearly four-touchdown spread appears hefty on paper, but it's right on the mark considering past situations. When kicking off at Bryant-Denny Stadium as the top-ranked team in the nation hosting unranked SEC foes, the Crimson Tide goes off an average -27.5 favorites. They are 11-0 SU and 7-4 ATS overall, covering the spread by 6.9 points per contest. There’s a reason the line has moved nearly four points in ‘Bama’s direction following a -23.5 opener.

The best bet in this matchup is the "under" with Alabama facing its sternest test yet. The wager is 27-10-2 (73.0 percent) all-time when Saban’s squad gifts more than 4 points to conference rivals at home. A 45.5-combined score comes up 4.5 points shy of a 49.9 average total. This is the second-highest total ever under these conditions. The first (62.5) and third (59.0) also came against the Aggies, going "under" in each.

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Applying pressure#OutworkYesterday#RollTide pic.twitter.com/peyL6QBtlc

— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) September 16, 2018
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Around the SEC (All Games Saturday)

No. 2 Georgia (-14.5) at Missouri, noon ET, on ESPN: Georgia (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) has failed to cover the spread in four of its last five against Missouri (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS). If the Tigers stay close in this one, it will likely happen because of a strong defensive effort. NFL-bound QB Drew Lock leads Mizzou to just 17.1 points per game as an underdog in his career.

Kent State at Ole Miss (-28), noon ET, on SEC Network: The 73 total is the highest ever listed in the always-lopsided MAC-SEC showdown, as both teams play fast and lack defense. The "over" is 8-2-1 in this scenario when the number is north of 57 points.

South Carolina (-2) at Vanderbilt, 4 p.m. ET, on SEC Network: Vanderbilt (2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS) is just 3-8 SU and ATS going off against SEC rivals with a line in-between a touchdown. The "under," meanwhile, has hit in South Carolina’s (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) last nine SEC road games by a whopping 15.7 average margin.

No. 14 Mississippi State (-10.5) at Kentucky, 7 p.m. ET, on ESPN2: Kentucky (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) is just 1-10 ATS in its last 11 home games. Every visitor in this stretch has surpassed its team total. The Wildcats are yielding 25.0 points per game. Mississippi State (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) is 17-7-1 ATS in its last 25 against SEC East foes.

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SEC ❤️ for @Big_E_14 #HailState🐶 pic.twitter.com/m7ZEvZ8HaA

— MSU Football 🏈 (@HailStateFB) September 17, 2018
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Louisiana Tech at No. 6 LSU (-20), 7 p.m. ET, on ESPNU: Ranked SEC teams such as LSU (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) are 21-1 SU and 16-6 ATS when laying less than 25 points to C-USA opponents.

Florida (-4.5) at Tennessee, 7 p.m. ET, on ESPN: Since 1980, Florida (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) is 14-6 SU and ATS against Tennessee (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) when both teams clash unranked.

Arkansas at No. 9 Auburn (-29), 7:30 p.m. ET, on SEC Network: Arkansas (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) has kicked off six times in the modern era catching four touchdowns or more on the college football odds board. It is 1-5 ATS, failing to cover a 31.2 average line by 12.7 points per game. The Hogs are in a dark place currently.

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