The Alabama Crimson Tide are 18-1 straight-up in their last 19 games, but that one loss came to the team that they are visiting this week in College Station, the Texas A&M Aggies.
Alabama was a 7.5-point road favorite early Thursday, but some sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com had pushed Bama to -8. Regardless of the number, Texas A&M is rarely a big home dog, and they usually cover when they are (8-2-1 against the spread since 1998 at home as an underdog of 7 or more points, according to the NCAA football database).
Besides giving up a touchdown on one big rushing play in a rare mishap, the Alabama defense was otherwise flawless in the Crimson Tide's 35-10 season-opening win over Virginia Tech as a 21.5-point favorite.
[ Alabama vs Texas A&M live odds updates, full matchup report and betting trends ]
The offense struggled against Virginia Tech's defense, but Texas A&M's unit doesn't look quite as strong, allowing 31 points to Rice in Week 1 and 28 points to Sam Houston State last week.
The Crimson Tide will undoubtedly have revenge on the mind after last year's stunning loss. Last year's upset win over Alabama was fueled by Johnny Manziel, who passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 92 yards in a turnover-free game. The Aggies jumped out to a 20-0 first quarter lead in that one and held on to win 29-24 as a 13.5-point underdog in Alabama.
Manziel looks to be picking up right where he left off in 2012, racking up six passing touchdowns and 497 passing yards in just a game and a half of action so far this season.
It must look like a slap in the face to Texas A&M to be a home underdog of over a touchdown after just beating Alabama in their barn one year ago. And while the Aggies will surely use this perceived disrespect as motivation, there are just too many signs pointing towards Alabama here.
After the 20-point first quarter last year, the Aggies were held to only nine points of offense for the rest of the game. Saban figured out the blueprint to stop Manziel, but just did it a bit too late last year. Now, he's had a game against him under his belt and a week off to prepare.
Factor in Texas A&M's shaky defense, and it is hard to pick against the Tide.
PICK: Alabama -7.5 | Computer Prediction: 42-28 Texas A&M (prediction computer result)