Alabama isn’t the only group waiting to sink its teeth into Texas A&M this weekend.
College football bettors have been counting down the days to this SEC showdown ever since Johnny Manziel and the Aggies spoiled the Crimson Tide’s undefeated season with a 29-24 win in Bryant-Denny Stadium last November.
This spread was up as early as June when the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas opened Texas A&M as a 6-point home underdog. The LVH Superbook posted a similar line in July, tacking on a half-point hook.
With kickoff only days away, and a summer full of drama for “Johnny Football” in the past, sportsbooks are currently dealing Alabama as a 7.5-point road favorite. We talk to oddsmakers to see how the betting action has been so far, and where they expect the line to move before the 3:30 p.m. ET start.
Alabama Crimson Tide at Texas A&M Aggies – Open: +6, Move: +9.5, Move: +7.5
This line jumped significantly before the season started with rumors that Manziel could be suspended for his role in an autograph scandal, in which he was allegedly paid for signing memorabilia during last year’s BCS Championship weekend.
The spread, which was pulled from the board at many books, went up as high as Alabama -9.5 before the NCAA served up a slap on the wrist and only suspended the reigning Heisman winner for the first half of Texas A&M’s opener versus Rice. Since then, nerves have calmed and money has moved this back down around a touchdown.
The Crimson Tide are still the more popular pick among bettors, with about 67 percent of the total handle on the defending national champs. Since moving down, most books have drawn pretty solid two-way money but know the majority of the action will come Friday and Saturday.
“It’s a bit back and forth on juice, but the number is steady,” says Aron Black of Bet365.com. “So far we are just shy of 3-to-1 Alabama ATS money to Texas A&M. Bama will be a banker for the parlays and some heavy-hit singles, but I expect to see some dog money on Texas A&M straight up Saturday.”
The Aggies are currently +240 moneyline underdogs after opening as high as +270 with Alabama coming back as a -300 road favorite to win SU.
The total opened at 54.5 at the Golden Nugget in June and has since climbed as high as 63 points before being bet down over the past week. Action on the under has driven the number to 60.5, with Alabama’s defense expected to prevail over the Aggies' high-flying offense.
Last year’s game played under the 54.5-point total. Texas A&M has topped the number in its first two games of the season while Alabama pushed with the 45-point total in its opener against Virginia Tech.