NCAAF · Fri (12/16) @ 11:35am ET
|Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS|
Our Pick: OLEM Ole Miss at +725. Enjoy a $2000 risk-free bet when you join PointsBet today!
For the first month of the 2021 college football season, the Arkansas Razorbacks and Ole Miss Rebels were two of the better stories of the season. Arkansas only won five games the last two seasons but was off to a 4-0 start this year. Ole Miss was off to an undefeated start (3-0), and quarterback Matt Corral had become the Heisman favorite.
However, then reality slapped them in the face last weekend. For Arkansas, it was a 37-0 beating at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs. Alabama humbled Ole Miss, 42-21. So, heading into their matchup this weekend, both will be looking for a bit of redemption.
But who will get it?
With wins over Texas and Texas A&M already, there was no doubt whether the Razorbacks were a good team or not. But whether they could be a contender within the SEC or national title picture remained to be seen. However, a win over Georgia would go a long way to proving they were indeed legit. Instead, they got their pride handed to them on a black and red platter.
The Georgia game showed that the Razorbacks may not be ready for primetime yet, but that does not mean they are not a quality football team. Had they been dominated by Texas or Texas A&M, that would be one thing; but Georgia should have dominated them as they did. But we will get an idea of how good Arkansas is depending on whether they get off the mat and give Ole Miss a fight.
The Razorbacks will probably try to approach this game much in the same way they did Texas A&M. They will try to control the clock with the run game with enough of the passing game mixed in to keep the Ole Miss defense honest. But the test for them is not going to be moving the ball on offense. No, it will be whether they can slow down the Ole Miss pass game.
So far this season, the Arkansas defense has been one of the toughest in the country against the pass (No.2 in passing yards allowed; No. 3 in team pass defense efficiency). However, it is worth noting that they have not played a strong passing team yet this season. Are they excellent against the pass, or have they just gotten lucky and have yet to play a team that can throw the ball?
Ole Miss Rebels
Through their first three games of the season, Ole Miss had looked like a force to be reckoned with. Matt Corral was slinging the ball so well he had become the Heisman favorite. The offense had put up 43, 54, and 61 points while allowing around 20 points a game. Yes, the defense was not strong, but with the help of the offense, it was strong enough.
Then they met Alabama. But much like Georgia should have dominated Arkansas, Alabama should have dominated Ole Miss like it did. Like Arkansas, Ole Miss is a good team, but the loss to Alabama proved they are not ready to run with the big dogs yet. Luckily, the Razorbacks do not qualify as a ‘big dog.’
The Rebels will likely throw out the film of the Alabama game and go right back to what they did in the first three games of the season. They will run up the score on offense via the passing game and play good enough defense to win. That means getting Matt Corral and the passing game on track early with just enough of the run game worked in to keep the Arkansas defense honest.
However, if the Razorbacks defense can live up to its rankings regarding the passing game, Ole Miss may have to use the run to set up the pass.
From a defensive perspective, Ole Miss is not a solid defensive team. They are not great at stopping either the run (83rd in the nation) or the pass (60th in yards allowed; 67th in team passing efficiency defense). Oh, and they give up a fair number of points per game as well—27.5. The best defense Ole Miss has is their offense. If you can put up 40+ points a game, your defense just needs to be at least decent.
Sports Betting Recommendation
Last week proved both teams are not as good as their records indicated. However, that does not mean either is bad. It just means we do not know how good they really are. So—how should you bet? Go ahead and go with the over. Ole Miss is going to expose the Razorback secondary and put some points up on the board. The Arkansas offense should not have too much trouble moving the ball and scoring points on the Rebel defense.
As for who will win, well—that is a tricky question to answer. Arkansas has played and beaten better competition than Ole Miss. But the Ole Miss offense has a lot of firepower. Can the Arkansas offense keep up against a lackluster Rebel defense? Eh—that’s hard to say. If you are risk-averse, go with Ole Miss via the moneyline but take Arkansas against the spread.
But if you do not mind the risk, give some serious thought to taking Arkansas via the moneyline.