Alabama vs. Arkansas: Prediction, pick, odds, point spread, line, football game, kickoff time, preview – CBS Sports

No. 1 Alabama will be without star quarterback and 2018 Heisman Trophy finalist Tua Tagovailoa on Saturday night against an Arkansas team that is reeling in Year 2 of the Chad Morris era. It’s not only the biggest story in the SEC this week, it’s the biggest story in the entire college football world.

Will Mac Jones be serviceable? If not, will we see freshman Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s brother, step in and give it a shot knowing that his redshirt can still be preserved when his brother comes back? What will Alabama’s offense look like without its superstar signal-caller?

Let’s breakdown the game and make picks straight up and against the spread.


Alabama: All eyes will be on Jones — the redshirt sophomore who has completed 62.5 percent of his passes (20 of 32) for 237 yards, one touchdown and one interception in mop-up duty this year. He has earned praise from the staff during the last two spring games, and has plenty enough experience in the system to understand what will be asked of him. But what exactly will be asked of him? The offense is built around run-pass options and wide receivers gaining yards after the catch to supplement the running game. It will be fascinating to see if offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian replaces some of the RPO concepts with traditional power rushing schemes with Najee Harris and Brian Robinson.

Arkansas: Morris’ year-plus tenure in Fayetteville has been nothing short of a disaster. The defense has been a sieve, quarterbacks Nick Starkel and Ben Hicks have been ineffective and confidence in Morris’ ability to turn things around is waning. If there is a bright spot, it’s running back Rakeem Boyd, who is averaging 93.71 yards per game on the ground despite no help from the passing attack. 

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Oct. 26 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium — Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TV: ESPN | Live stream:  

Game prediction, picks

Alabama is a 32-point favorite despite the quarterback drama. That’s how bad things are in Fayetteville. It seems crazy to pick the Crimson Tide considering we haven’t seen Jones as the true No. 1 with time to prepare, but that’s exactly why you should side with the Tide. Coach Nick Saban is going to leave his first-teamers in as long as possible so that Jones can get comfortable with what’s being asked of him if he does have to play vs. LSU on Nov. 9. That will allow those receivers to get those all-important yards after catch and run away from the Hogs in the second half. Pick: Alabama (-32)

So what CFB picks can you make with confidence in Week 9? And which line is Vegas way off on? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams win and cover the spread in every game this week, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,200 in profit over the past four seasons.