Matchup: Arkansas vs. Alabama
Vegas Line: Alabama -21
Room44B Predicted Line: Alabama -18
Room44B Minimum Value Moneyline: Alabama -695
While Alabama does have an advantage in 5/6 Power Index matchups, they might not be as large as you might think just based on perception. Our model like Arkansas, and has them as a top-third team on both sides of the ball, which puts them at #30 overall. Their best unit according to Power Index is actually their passing offense, which has mainly benefited from big plays thanks to teams overplaying their running game. You can see that Arkansas does have a fairly large YPA Deviation, which enforces this point.
The model seems to believe that Alabama’s good-but-not-elite passing defense will allow just enough to let Arkansas hang around. This may even point to a backdoor cover late, once Alabama has some backups in the game. We’ve also seen enough busted coverages from Alabama to know that it’s always a possibility.
On offense, Alabama does have a pretty favorable matchup, despite Arkansas’ decent numbers on defense. The big question mark is on whether or not Arkansas can keep Alabama in check on the ground, since they are susceptible to the occasional off day in that area as indicated by their YPC deviation. Arkansas’ normal defensive style with only 3 defensive linemen doesn’t usually bode well in that department, but perhaps they can cook up something new for the Alabama offense, or blitz enough to overcome that. Alabama has shown a weakness lately in blitz pickups.
Arkansas Closest Prior Matchup Score:
Alabama Closest Prior Matchup Score:
The model output and the CPMs both seem to indicate a 21-38 score, or somewhere thereabouts. That would be a solid win for the Crimson Tide against a scrappy Razorbacks team, but it wouldn’t cover the Vegas line of 21.