Saturday, October 31, 2020, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 7 p.m. ET
Bulldogs at Crimson Tide Betting Preview: Bulldogs (+30.5), Crimson Tide (-30.5)
The Bulldogs (1-3, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) have lost three in a row after an impressive 44-34 win at LSU in coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid debut, and now they will be without running back Kylin Hill.
AL.com is reporting that Hill, who did not play in the Bulldogs’ 28-14 loss to Texas A&M in their last outing, will opt out of the rest of the season to prepare for the NFL draft. The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson reported that Leach said Hill was unavailable this week.
Hill, who led the league in rushing last year with 1,350 yards, has just 15 carries for 58 yards this season but has hauled in 23 catches for 237 yards and a touchdown. He was injured on the first series of the loss to Arkansas on October 3.
Leach also has opened up the quarterback situation since Stanford transfer K.J. Costello has struggled since an impressing showing against LSU.
Freshman Will Rogers now is in the picture. Costello has thrown 10 interceptions. Rogers had two against Kentucky in his first game but none in 18 attempts (15 completions) against Texas A&M his next outing.
“Both guys have performed well in practice. I don’t really like splitting reps with quarterbacks. I like to settle on one,” Leach said. “I would prefer that approach, but we’ve been awfully up and down. We need to figure out who gives us the best spark.”
The No. 2 Crimson Tide (5-0, 5-0 SEC) have scored 35 or more points in 18 consecutive games while averaging an SEC-best 564.5 yards a game. They will be up against a Mississippi State defense that has been the stingiest in the conference in holding foes to just 295.5 yards a game.
The Tide will be operating without big-play receiver Jaylen Waddle, who had 25 catches for 557 yards and four touchdowns before injuring his ankle returning the opening kickoff at Tennessee last week.
“This time of year is when players need to choose to do the things they need to do to continue to get better and create the right habits in practice, so that you cannot develop the kind of habits that start showing up in the game that are not necessarily positives for your performance,” coach Nick Saban said. “Nobody feels great this time of year, so you’ve got to choose your energy and let your feelings follow that.”
Mac Jones has enjoyed an outstanding season that even has garnered him some Heisman talk. He has completed 78.8 percent of his pass attempts for 381 yards a game and set an Alabama record for consecutive completions with 19 — his last eight attempts against Georgia and first 11 against Tennessee.
Najee Harris has rushed for at least one touchdown in 12 consecutive games and has rushed for 14 scores this season alone. DeVonta Smith has 45 catches for 556 yards. With Waddle out for the rest of the season, John Metchie (21 receptions, 499 yards) is expected to see increased opportunities.
Bulldogs at Crimson Tide Betting Pick for October 31 2020
Alabama leads the lopsided series 84-17-3 (not counting two NCAA-mandated forfeits) and has won the last 12 meetings with the Bulldogs. Saban is 17-1 in his career over Mississippi State with a 12-1 mark with the Tide.
Bulldogs at Crimson Tide Betting Pick:
Crimson Tide 41, Bulldogs 10
Bulldogs at Crimson Tide Best Bet for October 31, 2020
Bama doesn’t have quite the offensive punch with Waddle sidelined, but has more than enough to handle the Bulldogs. Mike Leach had quite a debut at Mississippi State with a 44-34 win at LSU in the opener, but the Bulldogs have scored only 30 points total in the three games since then.
Bulldogs at Crimson Best Bet: UNDER 63.5