The game of the both nationally and in the SEC features the 3rd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) led by head coach Nick Saban visiting Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, MS to take on coach Hugh Freeze’s 11th ranked Ole Miss Rebels (4-0) on Saturday afternoon (3:30pm ET). Alabama was off last week with a bye, but disposed of Florida 42-21 at home the previous week and also owns victories over West Virginia (33-23), Florida Atlantic (41-0) and Southern Miss (52-12). Ole Miss defeated Memphis 24-3 at home last week, and has not had a close game this season with wins over Boise St. (35-13), Vanderbilt (41-3) and Louisiana-Lafayette (56-15).
The Crimson Tide ranks 16th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 42 points per game and 4th in total offense with 594.3 yards per game. Quarterback Blake Sims (1,091 yards passing, 8 TDs) had a breakout game against Florida his last time out, but is nursing a shoulder injury suffered in that game that bears watching. Wide receivers Amari Cooper is a big-play target that has the height to match up well with the diminutive Ole Miss secondary. The Tide ranks 9th nationally in scoring defense with 14 PPG allowed and 5th in total defense with 250.3 YPG allowed.
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Ole Miss ranks 29th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 39 PPG and 23rd in total offense with 496.3 YPG. The Ole Miss spread offense is led by veteran quarterback Bo Wallace (1,271 yards, 11 TDs), and he has several big wide outs to throw to in Laquon Treadwell (20 receptions, 307 yards, 3 TDs) last year’s freshman All-SEC pick, as well as Cody Core and Evan Engram. Ole Miss has possibly their best defensive unit of the past decade, last week they held a Memphis team that runs a fast-paced spread offense to only 23 rushing yards and 104 total yards. Ole Miss ranks 3rd nationally in scoring defense with 8.5 PPG allowed and 4th in total defense with 248 YPG allowed.
Alabama vs. Ole Miss Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Alabama Crimson Tide -6
@Ole Miss Rebels +6
Over 52.5 (-110)
Under 52.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Alabama vs. Ole Miss Pick:
Ole Miss has not had much success against Alabama over the years. The last time the Rebels beat the Crimson Tide was 2003, when Eli Manning was their QB and the Tide finished 4-9. Ole Miss has only gotten within two touchdowns of Alabama once, a 23-10 loss in ’10, in the past 5 meetings.
This game will essentially come down to the QB match-up of Sims and Wallace, and whoever makes the fewest mistakes will be the one to win. Ole Miss possess the best defense in the SEC statistically, and they will need them to play up to their capabilities to have a chance to spring the upset on Saban and company. The Rebels are a tempting pick at home with the Crimson Tide looking somewhat vulnerable on defense, but they have not had any recent success against Alabama and Wallace has been too inconsistent throughout his career to be considered likely to have a big game here. The safer play here is the total. And with the Ole Miss defenses looking much improved, and Alabama still tough even with issues in the secondary the recommendation here is to take the UNDER. Expect points to be at a premium in Oxford this Saturday afternoon.