2012 College Football Picks: Texas A&M @ Alabama Vegas Odds and Predictions – Free College Football Picks 11/10/2012: Fresh off a big win over rival LSU, the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0, 6-0 SEC) have a big opportunity in front of them this weekend when they face the 15th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies (7-2, 4-2 SEC). A victory for Alabama would clinch the SEC West, keeping them on track for a conference title and a trip back to the BCS title game to defend their championship. While the Aggies may not be able to win the division or the conference, an upset of the Crimson Tide would be a huge step forward for the program and a big boost to the Heisman hopes of quarterback Johnny Manziel. However, the Aggies have already lost two games to top-10 opponents this season, and they are 14-point underdogs against the defending champs.
Both teams have plenty of firepower on offense, but they go about scoring in very different ways. Texas A&M currently ranks fourth in the country in scoring at 44.7 points per game and ranks in the top 20 in both rushing and passing yards. Manziel is the centerpiece of the offense, and he has thrown for more than 2,500 yards and rushed for nearly 1,000. Alabama, on the other hand, ranks 17th in scoring at 38.4 points per game. A top-25 running game powered by the two-headed monster of T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy is the strength of the offense, but quarterback A.J. McCarron provides a nice counterpunch and has thrown 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
On the defensive side of the ball, Texas A&M has been solid, ranking in the top 30 in fewest points allowed. However, Alabama owns the best defense in the country. Cornerback Dee Milliner leads the secondary, and nose tackle Jesse Williams is one of the starts on the defensive front. The Crimson Tide are allowing just 9.1 points per game, and they own the best turnover differential in the country. Alabama hasn’t allowed an opponent to top 17 points all year.
The Aggies Win If:
If the Aggies are going to pull off the upset, they have to get big performances from their two playmakers. On offense, Manziel has to make big plays outside of the pocket with both his arm and his legs. Alabama’s defense is too stout for the Aggies to methodically march down the field and score. However, Manziel can put points on the board on any snap, and he will have to have some highlight-reel plays in this one. Meanwhile, defensive end Damontre Moore needs to have his best game of the year. Moore has been among the leader in sacks all year, and if can put pressure on McCarron, Alabama’s offense will become a little more predictable and a little easier to slow down.
The Crimson Tide Win If:
It is the same old story for the defending champs, and Alabama’s power run game and stingy defense will again be the keys to Crimson Tide victory. If Nick Saban’s star-studded defense keeps Manziel in check and Alabama’s power running game gets rolling, the Aggies are in big trouble. Alabama is one of the most disciplined teams in the country, and by limiting their own turnovers and limiting any big plays from the Texas A&M offense, the Crimson Tide can wear down and pull away from the Aggies.
Texas A&M’s two losses this year have come to Florida and LSU. Both teams have strong defenses and excellent running games, and in both games, the Aggies scored less than 20 points. Alabama has a better defense and a better offensive line than either of those teams, and if the Aggies couldn’t muster enough points to knock off the Gators or the Tigers, they aren’t going to be able to upset the Crimson Tide. Not to mention the fact that Alabama has a more balanced offense than either Florida and LSU, and the Crimson Tide’s added firepower will allow them to win and cover the spread.
Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide (-14) Cover the Spread
Texas A&M @ Alabama Vegas Odds and Total
Line: Alabama -13.5
Total: Over/Under 56.5
Television: 3:30 PM EST on CBS
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