Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST
Texas A&M +18 -110 over ALABAMA
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL
On CBS Sports on several CBS channels in the Local Channels group.
3:30 PM EST. There are some experts that “think” or “feel” Alabama let their foot off the gas last week when they were on the road against Missouri, and as a result, the Tide failed to green-up as a 28½-point choice in a 38-19 win against the Tigers. While the final box score may imply otherwise, the media is quick to highlight that the Tide were up by as much as 25 before the subsequent cruise control activation ensued. Thanks to that speculation, Alabama is expected to offer up a more “impressive showing” despite being characterized as being on a “down year” in the same analyses, sentences before.
While one can argue until they are blue in the face about why Alabama will take its backers to the window this time around, the one constant that we hang our hat on is their propensity to be overvalued every single week. ‘Bama’s reputation precedes itself so when you get behind them, you will incur paying a premium to do so. That doesn’t mean one should blindly fade the Tide every week because they do cover and they cover frequently but we’re not in the business of overpaying. Situationally, the Aggies check too many boxes this week to lay off.
Last week, Texas A&M was laying an “Alabama-like” number when it played host to Vanderbilt in College Station. The Aggies struggled to get past the Commodores and were nowhere near close to scoring 31½ points let alone covering by such a margin, as the Commodores hung tight with A&M in a 17-12 defensive struggle. While Alabama’s pedigree influences virtually every market it is a part of, Texas A&M’s unimpressive showing is also playing a part in market perception here.
Even if the Aggies are “overmatched” as described by the media, there is a reason that in the same sentence they were also characterized as not being “slouches”. There is a strong possibility that A&M was guilty of looking past Vanderbilt, who has been a perpetual doormat for SEC competition for many years, likely in preparation for a game of this gravity. After all, Jimbo Fisher was hired so the Aggies can put their hat in the proverbial SEC West ring. This match-up is the best opportunity for him and his troops to do so, and this kind of bulletin board material will, if anything, not discourage the Aggies but light a fire in their belly. There is still a case being made that Alabama will want to play a game with “the pedal to the floor” from start to finish and that is why they warrant a wager. However, the same argument can be made for the Aggies and such a spectre not only cultivates the prospect of junk-time scores bringing the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University in under the inflated number but it also enables them to offer up a much better performance in contrast to last week. It would actually be unreasonable to believe that A&M wasn’t looking ahead to this game. Can Alabama win and cover? Of course, but a bet on the Tide is one that risks playing into the house’s hands. We will rarely recommend doing such a thing, especially with the value and many of the intangibles in the Aggies favor.
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Texas A&M +18 -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)