After a quiet weekend of non-conference play last week, week 5 of the 2013 season features a bevy of intense conference match-ups, with several of those taking place in the SEC. One of the most intriguing matchups has the 10th ranked Texas A&M Aggies (3-1) and quarterback Johnny Manziel (1,228 yards passing, 12 TDs, 4 INTs) taking to the road for the first time this season to face the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-1) in Fayetteville, AR on Saturday night (7:00pm ET). The Aggies hope to continue their road dominance from last season when they were 7-0 away from College Station, and continue their success against an Arkansas they dominated 58-10 last season in a game that Manziel threw for 453 yards and 3 TDs.
Texas A&M rebounded from their 49-42 loss to Alabama in week 3 with a 42-13 domination of SMU last week. Arkansas suffered their first loss of the season last week at Rutgers by a score of 28-24 after opening the season with wins over Louisiana (34-14), Samford (31-21) and Southern Mississippi (24-3).
Texas A&M as everyone who follows college football, or owns a television knows, is led by Manziel and the exciting and fast-paced offense of Head Coach Kevin Sumlin. Wide receiver Mike Evans (22 receptions, 575 yards) is Johnny Football’s main target in an offense that can score on anyone, as evidenced by their 628 total yards and 42 points against Alabama. The defense stepped it up last week for the first time this season, with the first team allowing only 2 field goals to SMU after the debacle against Alabama that saw them allow 568 yards of total offense.
Last week Arkansas played without quarterback Brandon Allen, who hurt his right shoulder while diving for a touchdown in the win over Southern Miss. A.J. Derby started and went 14 of 26 for 137 yards and a TD, as Arkansas blew a 17 point lead in the 3rd quarter to the Scarlet Knights. The Razorbacks hope to have Allen back this week.Arkansas’ newly prolific running game (an average of 294.3 YPG coming in) ground to a halt at Rutgers, as the Scarlet Knights held the Razorbacks to 101 yards and an average of three yards per attempt. The Arkansas defense has allowed 16.5 points per game and 289.8 yards per game, and they are capable of generating pressure on the QB with 14 sacks registered thus far in 2013.
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Texas A&M Aggies -14
@Arkansas Razorbacks +14
Over 62 (-110)
Under 62 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas Pick
Arkansas is 19-8 ATS in their last 27 home games, 2-7 ATS in their last nine games, and 11-3 ATS in their last 14 home games against a team with a winning record. Texas A&M is 4-0 ATS in their last four road games, 5-1 ATS in their last six games, and 5-0 ATS in their last five SEC games.
Texas A&M is 6th in the nation in scoring offense with 50.3 PPG, and unlike many gaudy early season numbers put up against suspect competition, the Aggies accumulated some of those points against the number 1 team in the country. They proved themselves last season as road warriors in their inaugural season in the rugged SEC with an undefeated record and an upset over the national champions. Manziel should be able to put up plenty of points against one of the weaker teams in the conference, and a team that he torched last season. Arkansas has improved since last year and they should put some points on the board against a suspect Aggie secondary, but they are not yet in A&M’s class. The line is a bit too high to recommend the Aggies to cover, but there should be no shortage of scoring in this one. The Aggies are capable of going over by themselves if Manziel is on his game. Take the over in this game.