Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#403 Arkansas vs.
#404 Texas A&M
Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 7:00pm EDT
Written by Blake V.

No. 10 Arkansas will try to remain unbeaten when they face No. 23 Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium on Saturday night. The Razorbacks have racked up wins over Cincinnati, South Carolina and Missouri State in their first three games. Texas A&M bounced back from a loss to Appalachian State with a 17-9 win over No. 13 Miami last week.

Arkansas needing to shore up pass defense

Arkansas has a chance to improve to 4-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1980s this weekend. The Razorbacks had lost nine straight games to Texas A&M prior to picking up a 20-10 win last season, so that will inspire some confidence heading into this matchup. They opened the season with a tough test against No. 23 Cincinnati, but they were able to cover the 6.5-point spread in a 31-24 final. Arkansas added double-digit wins at home against South Carolina and Missouri State over the past two weeks. The Razorbacks are averaging 37.7 points per game, but they rank dead last nationally in pass defense (353 yards per game).

However, their defense has generated some trouble up front, leading the nation in sacks (17) and ranking seventh in run defense. Linebacker Drew Sanders, who transferred from Alabama, has already recorded five sacks. The offense is captained by quarterback K.J. Jefferson, who has thrown for 770 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. He has completed 70.5% of his passes and has added 169 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Running back Raheim Sanders has rushed for 440 yards through the first three games, including 167 yards last week. Arkansas had to erase a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit against FCS Missouri State, though.

Aggies leaning on strong defense

Texas A&M will try to put together a more complete performance this week after a pair of shaky outings in a row. The Aggies dominated Sam Houston State in their season opener, but they proceeded to lose to Appalachian State in Week 2, which put their College Football Playoff hopes in a tough spot. They were able to bounce back with a win against then-No. 13 Miami last week, but it was not an overly convincing performance. Head coach Jimbo Fisher promoted LSU transfer quarterback Max Johnson to starting quarterback for that game, but Johnson threw for just 140 yards. The Aggies are averaging just 20.7 points per game.

Quarterback Haynes King started the first two games, but the loss to Appalachian State led to Johnson taking over. He threw for 27 touchdowns as a sophomore at LSU last season. Fortunately for the Aggies, they have one of the premier defenses in college football, tied for ninth nationally in scoring defense (8.7). Wide receiver Evan Stewart, who was suspended by Fisher last week due to a team rules violation, has been reinstated for this game. He caught 10 passes for 105 yards during the first two games of the season. Running back Devon Achane leads the rushing attack with 46 carries for 196 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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This is an ideal matchup for Arkansas, as its one weakness this season has been its pass defense. The Razorbacks are facing a Texas A&M team that had to make a switch at quarterback due to poor play, and Johnson did not put together a convincing performance last week. The Aggies are going to have trouble running the ball against the Arkansas defensive lineβ€”I do not trust Johnson to win the game with his arm. Arkansas is feeling much better about itself right now, and it has a much better offense. The Razorbacks have covered the spread in four of the last five meetings between these teams and they are prepared to do so again on Saturday.

Prediction: Arkansas +1.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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I cannot get myself to back the over in a game involving Texas A&M, at least not yet. There are still a lot of unknowns with this offense, especially after Fisher made a quarterback change. The Aggies put up just 17 points against Miami last week, so nothing tells me they are going to crack 20 on Saturday. They have gone under in five of their last seven games dating back to last season. Arkansas has an explosive offense, but this will also be the best defense that it has faced. Texas A&M has gone under in nine straight games in the month of September, and I expect that strong trend to continue on Saturday.

Prediction: Under 49
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Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Blake is also an avid sports being expert and you would not be disappointed in following him on a daily basis. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 
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