The Missouri Tigers will be looking to add a third straight victory to their resume in Friday’s head-to-head meeting with the Arkansas Razorbacks. It might seem like the Hogs woke up on the wrong side of the bed this week after dropping a heartbreaker to Alabama. At the very least, they did their part in covering as 20.5-point dogs on the road in Tuscaloosa. That isn’t a feat for them to be hanging their heads over.
Missouri certainly isn’t hanging their heads after knocking off both Florida and South Carolina in back-to-back victories. They covered as 9.5-point dogs at home last week against the Gators.
Missouri bracing itself for some ground-and-poundThe Tigers managed to survive at home in overtime over the dysfunctional Florida Gators after edging out a South Carolina team incapable of running the ball consistently.
They’ll have a fight on their hands against an Arkansas team with an offense averaging 222.3 rushing yards per game. The Tigers are bracing themselves for the ground-and-pound with a defensive front with more holes than Camp Green Lake.
Opponents are averaging 235.4 rushing yards per game against them this season. It has been an obvious Achilles heel for the team since the start. But somehow, someway, they managed to hold the Gators to under 100 yards rushing last week. If that same effort shows up on Friday, anything is possible in this matchup.
If this turns into one of those games where the defense can’t get off the field, Missouri’s offense is going to be feeling a lot of pressure. There will be no room for throwaway drives in this game. They’ll have to make the most out of every possession because they may not have many of them if the Hogs continue to move the chains on the other side.
Quarterback Connor Bazelak is good enough to throw on this Arkansas secondary, and running back Tyler Badie is the fourth-leading rusher in the country. Missouri’s offense is no pushover whether they’re at home or on the road.
Arkansas nearly quelled the TideThe Hogs were in position to knock off Alabama in Tuscaloosa and shake up the NCAA rankings last week. Despite entering the game as 20.5-point dogs, they were only defeated by a touchdown in a 42-35 loss at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Their typically dominant running game got stifled by Alabama’s defensive front, and quarterback Bryce Young threw for 559 yards and five touchdowns against them.
The good news is Missouri has struggled against the rushing attack all season, and while Connor Bazelak has been decent at times, he isn’t a Heisman Trophy candidate like Young. So Arkansas should be plenty confident heading into this game.
Only Vanderbilt is giving up more yards than this Missouri defense. Quarterback KJ Jefferson and the bevy of running backs should be looking to run the Tigers into the ground. There’s no reason to get cute with the play-calling here. This is all about lining up and playing good old-fashioned smash-mouth football.
On the defensive side of things, the Hogs have been pretty up-and-down in their ability to get stops. Yes, I get Alabama is the No. 2-ranked team in the country with weapons all over the place, but the pass defense in Tuscaloosa was awful.
Missouri isn’t known for long scrimmage plays, but they might actually be able to take shots against this Arkansas defense. Opposing teams are only averaging 24.6 points per game against the Hogs this season. So what we saw against the Crimson Tide certainly isn’t the norm.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Hogs have the better football team, and they should be able to run the ball until their heart is content. But they aren’t blowing teams out, either.
Missouri is a tough SEC team with a winning record. Granted, they haven’t had the best season, but they also aren’t Arkansas-Pine Bluff. They’ll at least put up a fight with Conor Bazelak throwing into the teeth of the same defensive secondary that just helped Bryce Young’s Heisman Trophy bid. I’m not saying he’s going to throw for 559 passing yards and five touchdowns, but he will find daylight back there.
And so will Tyler Badie along the defensive front.
Missouri’s running back has been a reliable playmaker coming out of the offensive backfield all season long, and he’s going to help the Tigers keep the chains moving against Arkansas’ defense. We’ve seen both Auburn and Mississippi State come into Razorback Stadium and drop 28-plus points. This Missouri offense is more than capable of delivering a similar performance.
They’ll at least make the Hogs sweat on Friday. Give me the points in this one.
Full-Game Total Pick
This game will be so heavily run-focused for the scoring to get too crazy. The Hogs will be facing a Missouri-run defense that sits dead last in the SEC. So they’ll be able to move the ball at will and chip away at the clock. I’m not saying there won’t be a few explosive plays, but this won’t be anything like Arkansas’ game with Alabama last week. Missouri can move the ball on the ground as well with Tyler Badie coming out of the backfield. The Tigers run an offense that’s okay with just methodically picking their way down the field with run plays and short passes. I’m taking the under in this game.