Alabama may be the monster of college football at the moment, but it has its soft spots when it comes to covering spreads.
In fact, the Crimson Tide are just 4-12-1 against the spread in their last 17 times out against non-Power 5 foes. Alabama falls into that split when it entertains Arkansas State on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa.
College football point spread: The Crimson Tide opened as 37-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 34.1-19.4 Crimson Tide (College football picks on every game)
Why the Arkansas State Red Wolves can cover the spread
The Red Wolves began the 2018 season with a 48-21 victory over FCS Southeast Missouri State last Saturday.
Arkansas State drove its opening possession of the game 68 yards to a touchdown and eventually took a 21-14 lead into the half.
The Red Wolves then scored touchdowns on their first four possessions out of the locker room to pull away. Arkansas State also had the spread covered as 32-point favorites but gave up a Redhawks score with just 37 seconds left in the game to miss out on the cash.
Arkansas State outgained SEMS 685-285. Senior quarterback Justice Hansen, making the 23rd start of his career, threw for 423 yards and six touchdowns as 11 different Red Wolves caught at least two passes and seven different players scored touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Arkansas State defense held Southeast Missouri State to just two conversions out of 14 third-down situations.
The Red Wolves might have had an easier time of the game if they hadn't turned the ball over three times, twice in Redhawks territory, committed 119 yards worth of penalties and missed a makeable field goal.
Why the Alabama Crimson Tide can cover the spread
The defending national champs opened their season with a 51-14 lacing of Louisville. The Tide drove the opening possession of the game 65 yards to a touchdown, led 14-0 after one quarter and 28-0 at the half.
They then scored on their first three possessions out of the locker room for a 44-7 lead on their way to an easy cover as 23-point favorites.
Alabama outgained the Cardinals 519-268, and most of Louisville's yardage came in garbage time. The Tide also outrushed the Cardinals 222-16, converted 10 of 15 third-down situations and added touchdowns on a kickoff return and an interception return.
Smart betting pick
Alabama is going to win this game, but it has a tendency to ease up on lesser foes, especially in spots just like this.
Last year, the Tide beat Fresno State and Colorado State early in the season but came up short against spreads of 43 and 30 points.
Saturday's game may well play out along similar lines. The smart money here takes the points with Arkansas State.
College football betting trends
The total has gone under in Alabama's last five games against the Sun Belt.
Alabama is 40-2 SU in its last 42 games.
Alabama is 1-4 ATS in its last five games in Week 2.
All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.