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Alabama at Texas A&M

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Brian Edwards has been the best college football handicapper on VegasInsider.com the past two years in the first quarter of the season. His documented records (49-24, 67%) prove that fact and he’s already locked and loaded for Week 3 in 2013. Click to win!

Matchup: Alabama Crimson Tide at Texas A&M Aggies
Venue: Kyle Field in College Station, Texas (Grass)
Date: Saturday, September 14, 2013
Time/TV: 3:30 pm. ET - CBS
Line: Alabama -8, Over/Under 61
Last Meeting: 2012, Texas A&M (+13.5) 29-24 at Alabama

The moment Alabama fans have been waiting for since Johnny Freakin’ Football conquered Bryant-Denny Stadium last season has finally arrived. The Crimson Tide will take on Texas A&M in College Station at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday afternoon.

As of late Friday afternoon, most books had Alabama (1-0 straight up, 1-0 against the spread) listed as an eight-point favorite with the total in the 60-61 range. Gamblers can back the Aggies to win outright for a +250 return (risk $100 to win $250). For first-half wagers, ‘Bama is favored by 4.5 with a total of 31.

The line opened at 7.5 at most spots on Sunday afternoon. However, that number quickly shot up to nine and even as high as 9.5 Sunday night. By Monday, though, it was back down to eight. On Tuesday, some betting shops moved to 7.5 before the number settled at eight where it has remained for most of the last 48 hours.

Nick Saban’s team won its season opener over Va. Tech by a 35-10 score at the Ga. Dome in Week 1. The Tide took the cash as a 21-point favorite, while the 45 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 45.5-point total.

Alabama only generated 206 yards of total offense against the Hokies, who finished with 212 yards. Saban’s bunch got a pair of special-teams touchdowns and a pick-six from safety Vinnie Sunseri. Christion Jones scored three TDs with a punt return, a kick return and a 38-yard TD reception from A.J. McCarron.

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But the ‘Bama faithful wasn’t happy with the offense’s lackluster effort. The o-line wasn’t able to open holes for T.J. Yeldon and didn’t provide McCarron with the time needed to throw the ball. Saban had an open date to fix the issues.

Texas A&M (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) had to go without starting QB Johnny Manziel in the first half of its opener against Rice. The Aggies went to intermission with a 28-21 advantage before last year’s Heisman winner took the field.

Kevin Sumlin’s team would eventually collect a 52-31 win over Owls, but it failed to cover the number as a 28-point home favorite. The 83 combined points sailed ‘over’ the 69-point total.

Manziel completed 6-of-8 passes for 94 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception. Mike Evans had six receptions for 84 yards and a pair of TDs, while Tra Carson ran for two TDs.

In Week 2 against Sam Houston St. at Kyle Field, Texas A&M cruised to a 65-28 victory as a 35-point home ‘chalk.’ The 93 combined points soared ‘over’ the 75.5-point tally.

Manziel threw for 403 yards and three TDs and also had a rushing score. Ben Malena rushed for a team-high 91 yards and one TD on just 10 carries, while Evans made seven catches for 155 yards.

When these teams met in Tuscaloosa last year, Texas A&M raced out to a 20-0 lead and held on to capture a 29-24 win as a 13.5-point underdog. The 53 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 54.5-point total.

Manziel connected on 24-of-31 throws for 253 yards and two TDs without an interception. He also rushed for 92 yards on 18 totes. McCarron was intercepted only three times in the entire 2012 campaign, but two of those picks were made by the Aggies, including the game-clincher on fourth and goal in the final minute.

As a road favorite during Saban’s seven-year tenure, Alabama has compiled a 16-8 spread record. The Aggies have only been home underdog once on Sumlin’s watch, losing 20-17 to Florida as one-point ‘dogs in last year’s season opener.

Alabama starting senior DE Ed Stinson has an ankle sprain and is listed as ‘questionable.’ Stinson had three sacks and five QB hurries last year.

For Texas A&M, starting junior safety Floyd Raven is ‘out’ with a collarbone injuries. Each defender of the six that were suspended for the opener or the first two games will be in uniform for the Aggies.

CBS will provide television coverage.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

-- The ‘under’ is 5-0-1 in the last six head-to-head meetings between South Carolina and Vanderilt. The Gamecocks and Commodores have a total of 50.5 points for their SEC East showdown Saturday night in Columbia.

-- South Carolina owns a 23-15 spread record in 38 games as a home favorite during Steve Spurrier’s tenure. The Gamecocks are favored by 14 over Vandy.

-- Since 2005, Oregon owns a 30-16-2 spread record in 48 games as a home favorite. The Ducks are 28-point home ‘chalk’ Saturday afternoon vs. Tennessee. The Vols are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games as road underdogs.

-- Tennessee starting DT Mo Couch didn’t make the trip to Eugene. Couch was ruled ineligible by the school after a Yahoo! report named him as one of five SEC players who recently received extra benefits from an agent.

-- Sportsbook.ag updated its Games of the Year this week. A few important ones include Clemson -1 vs. FSU, Georgia -4 vs. Florida, Oregon -6 at Stanford Alabama -11.5 vs. LSU and Florida pick ‘em vs. FSU.

-- As of Friday afternoon, it appears as if Ohio St. QB Braxton Miller (knee) will play at California, while Texas QB David Ash (head) will not play vs. Ole Miss.

  
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