Each week in this space, I isolate the College Football 'Lone Ranger' play of the week. It is a blend of statistical, situational and technical analysis that will result in an outstanding opportunity for you to cash a winning ticket on a team for whom little love is being shown by the linemaker or public.
LONE RANGER CONTRARY PLAY OF THE WEEK … Arkansas (+7)
Texas A&M (-7) vs. Arkansas 7:00 ET ESPN, Arlington, TX
This annual SEC matchup again takes place at the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Last year, as an 8 point favorite, Texas A&M won this contest (35-28), but in so doing, they were double rushed by Arkansas 285-137. Last week, the Aggies warmed up for their SEC slate with a 44-27 win, no cover, against Nevada. But, they failed to cover the 34 point impost, despite being a 200 CLUB member and outgaining Nevada 535-359.
The results for Arkansas were not as positive. In consecutive weeks, after their 35-24 home loss to Texas Tech, Arkansas has lost consecutive games as double digit home chalk. I can guarantee you that no one except you, me and the LONE RANGER is going to come on board for an Arkansas team who is coming off consecutive double digit home favorite losses and has a (-48) AFP for the season.
The Aggies are a team on the rise with new DC Chavis on board to improve the stop unit. Albeit against an inferior opposition, the Aggies are allowing just 22 PPG, 337 YPG and 4.6 YPR. With HC Sumlin at the controls, the offense is always in good stead. This year, they are putting up 200 CLUB numbers, while averaging 46 PPG and 488 YPG.
So why even look at the down-trodden Hog, who in last week’s loss to Texas Tech allowed 486 total yards, including 315 through the air? They have lost RB Williams for the season, along with a trio of WRs, leaving them an offensive shell of what they expected. More importantly, with new OC Enos (former HC C. Michigan), the Hogs have gotten away from what they do best. That is run the football. In fact, they are throwing the ball 31 times per game for 305 PYPG, as opposed to running it only 36 times for 171 RYPG. That is far from the M.O. that made HC Bielema so successful at Wisconsin and had him building this Arkansas program in that same mold. Arkansas does, however, have one of the largest OLs in the country. I would be very surprised if Bielema does not return to his ground game today in an effort to control the clock and the flow of the game.
As always, the final deciding factor in this game is line value. With the Hogs off two horrendous performances, we are now getting 2 TDs more from where this line would have been opening week. With College Football odds offering Arkansas at +7, we like them to get this ATS victory when we combine the revenge motive and the back-to-back losses with A&M’s look ahead to a trio of SEC revenge games that are staring them in the face. Once again this week, it’s only you, me and the LONE RANGER who bring down this money with a very contrary PICK.
Free College Football Picks: Arkansas +7