SEC Notebook - Week 4
September 21, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's Note: Brian Edwards is ready to get after the books this week with plays loaded for Friday, in addition to his package for Saturday. Also, don't miss out on his next pay-if-it-wins-only selection.
**Georgia at Missouri**
-- As of Friday, most betting shops had Georgia (3-0 straight up, 2-1 against the spread) installed as a 14-point road favorite with a total of 64.5. The Tigers were +450 on the money line (risk $100 to win $450).
-- Kirby Smart’s squad has wins vs. Austin Peay (45-0), at South Carolina (41-17) and Middle Tennessee (49-7). Sophomore QB Jake Fromm has connected on 80.4 percent of his passes for 479 yards and six TDs with just one interception. Elijah Holyfield has run for 200 yards and a pair of scores while averaging 9.1 yards per carry, and D’Andre Swift has 119 rushing yards, two TDs and a 5.0 YPC average.
-- Missouri (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) avenged a lopsided home loss last year by beating Purdue 40-37 as a five-point road ‘chalk.’ The 77 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 67.5-point total. Tucker McCann buried a 25-yard field goal in walk-off fashion to lift Barry Odom’s team to victory. Senior QB Drew Lock completed 26-of-43 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns compared to one interception. Larry Rountree ran for 168 yards on 23 carries, while true freshman Jalen Knox caught five balls for 110 yards and one TD. Emanuel Hall had four catches for 88 yards.
-- When these SEC East adversaries squared off between the hedges in Athens last year, UGA pulled away for a 53-28 victory but didn’t quite cover the number as a 28.5-point home favorite. The 81 combined points elevated ‘over’ the 58.5-point total. The Bulldogs produced 696 yards of total offense. Swift ran for a team-best 94 yards on only six attempts, while Fromm completed 18-of-26 throws for 326 yards and two TDs with one interception. Lock hit on 15-of-25 throws for 253 yards and four TDs with one pick. Hall had four receptions for 141 yards and two TDs.
-- Former UGA quarterback Jacob Eason threw a 20-yard TD pass to Isaiah McKenzie on a fourth-and-10 play with 1:29 remaining to lift the Dawgs to a 28-27 win at Missouri two seasons ago. The Tigers took the cash, however, as seven-point home underdogs. The 55 combined points inched ‘over’ the 53.5-point total. Lock threw for 376 yards and three TDs, but he was also intercepted three times.
-- Lock has connected on 69.0 percent of his passes for 1,062 yards with an 11/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Hall has made 18 catches for 430 yards and three TDs, while Knox has 10 receptions for 169 yards and one TD. Johnathon Johnson has hauled in 14 catches for 149 yards and three TDs, and TE Albert Okwuegbunam has 14 grabs for 100 yards and two TDs.
-- Rountree has rushed for a team-high 260 yards and one TD, averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
-- Before last week’s triumph in West Lafayette, Missouri took the cash in a pair of home wins over UT-Martin (51-14) and Wyoming (40-13).
-- Missouri owns a 2-1 spread record in three games as a home underdog during Barry Odom’s three-year tenure.
-- Georgia has posted a 6-2 spread record in eight road favorite spots on Smart’s watch.
-- The ‘under’ is 2-1 overall for UGA, but the ‘over’ hit in its lone contest on the road.
-- The ‘over’ is 2-0-1 for the Tigers, 1-0-1 in their road assignments.
-- ESPN will have the broadcast from Columbia at noon Eastern.
**Texas A&M at Alabama**
-- As of Friday, most spots had Alabama (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) listed as a 26-point home favorite with a total of 61.
-- I spoke to Will Hall, the Sports Book Manager at The Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS., on Friday. Hall said, “We’ve had the most activity on Alabama this week, more than any other team in college and the NFL. This is the best offense that Alabama has ever had, period.”
-- On that note, we’ll once again point out that betting on Alabama in the first quarter, first half and the game is perfect through its first three outings. In addition, backing the Crimson Tide’s team total to go ‘over’ (9.5 at Ole Miss last week) in the first quarter, first half (24.5) and the game has also been perfect to date.
-- Nick Saban’s team blasted Ole Miss 62-7 as a 22.5-point road favorite last week. ‘Bama raced out to a 49-7 halftime lead and coasted into the win column. There were only 13 points scored in the second half (three in the fourth quarter), however, so bettors taking the ‘under’ (71) got a fortunate win.
-- Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa is now the +175 ‘chalk’ at most spots to win the Heisman Trophy. He has eight TD passes without an interception, in addition to 133 rushing yards and two scores.
-- Alabama leads the nation in scoring with a 56.7 points-per-game average.
-- Texas A&M (2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS) has posted home wins vs. Northwestern State (59-7) and ULM (48-10). The Aggies took an ‘L’ to Clemson but took the cash as 12.5-point home underdogs and gave an outstanding account of itself in the 28-26 Week 2 defeat.
-- Jumbo Fisher has settled on Kellen Mond as his starting QB. Mond has connected on 62.9 percent of his throws for 824 yards and six TDs without an interception.
-- A&M RB Trayveon Williams has rushed for 399 yards and four TDs, averaging 6.8 YPC average.
-- Alabama has won five in a row in this rivalry, going 3-2 ATS in the process.
-- The ‘over’ is 2-1 overall for the Tide and the Aggies.
-- CBS will have the broadcast at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
**Florida at Tennessee**
-- As of Friday, most betting shops had Florida (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) installed as a four-point favorite with a total of 44.5. The total has seen significant movement this week, falling down from 48 on Monday. The Volunteers were +170 on the money line (risk $100 to win $170).
-- UF bounced back from its first loss to Kentucky since 1986 by drilling Colorado State 48-10 as a 21-point home favorite. The Gators scored on a pair of special-teams TDs, including an 85-yard punt return from Freddie Swain and a blocked punt recovery in the end zone by Tyrie Cleveland. True freshman RB Dameon Pierce had a team-high 87 rushing yards and one TD on five attempts, while Jordan Scarlett ran six times for 56 yards and one TD.
-- Third-year sophomore QB Feleipe Franks had a mediocre performance, completing 8-of-15 throws for 119 yards and two TDs with one interception. I thought it was a bad move on Dan Mullen’s part not to get significant snaps for either back-up in third-year sophomore Kyle Trask or true freshman Emory Jones. Like I’ve been saying for what seems like forever, Franks is not the Face of the Franchise in the long term. Trask and/or Jones are going to be needed soon and Mullen lost out on an opportunity to get either (or both) guy valuable reps. Franks was flagged for his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in two weeks vs. CSU.
-- CSU had a 22-14 edge on UF in first downs and the Gators had merely a 341-313 advantage in total yards. Florida had a plus two edge in turnover margin, though.
-- Florida junior LB David Reese, who was a fourth-team preseason All-American in Phil Steele’s preseason magazine after leading his team in tackles as a true sophomore in 2017, has missed UF’s first three games due to an ankle sprain sustained in late August. Reese has been upgraded to ‘probable’ and is expected to start in his season debut at Neyland Stadium.
-- UF has beaten UT in 20 of the past 25 head-to-head meetings dating back to 1993. The Gators have won 12 of the last 13 encounters, including last year’s 26-20 win on Franks’s Hail Mary Pass to Cleveland on the game’s final play. However, in its last visit to Neyland Stadium, UF allowed a 21-0 lead get away in a 38-28 loss that crushed its hackers as a 4.5-point road underdog.
-- The ‘under’ is 2-1 overall for UF with its games averaging combined scores of 53.3 PPG.
-- The ‘over’ has cashed at a 6-2 clip in the past eight UF-UT meetings.
-- Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- As of Friday, most spots had Mississippi State (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) installed as a 9.5-point favorite with a total of 55.5. The Wildcats were +270 on the money line (risk $100 to win $270). Kentucky (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) has produced wins vs. Central Michigan (35-20), at Florida (27-16) and vs. Murray State (48-10), ending a 31-game losing streak to the Gators at The Swamp two weeks ago. My lean is to the Bulldogs here.
-- ESPN2 will provide television coverage at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
-- LSU is a 20.5-point home favorite vs. La. Tech at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU. The Bulldogs are the first of four LSU foes who have two weeks to prepare for the Tigers. The total was 50.5 late Friday afternoon.
-- As of Friday, South Carolina was favored by 2.5 points at Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks had their home game vs. Marshall postponed last weekend due to Hurricane Florence. Derek Mason’s team is 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS, dropping a heartbreaker to Notre Dame by a 22-17 count in South Bend this past Saturday. The Commodores had all sorts of chances to win the game and had a 420-380 advantage over the Fighting Irish in total offense.
-- Ole Miss is a 29-point home favorite vs. Kent State at noon Eastern on the SEC Network. The total is 74.5 points and my lean is to the ‘over,’ but Kent State’s pathetic 12.8 PPG average from last season made me hesitate to pull the trigger on this play.
-- Auburn will play host to Arkansas as a 29.5-point home favorite at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network. AU saw WR Nate Craig-Myers abruptly quit the team this week. Gus Malzahn fell to 0-2 vs. Ed Orgeron when LSU won a 22-21 thriller as a 10-point road underdog at Jordan-Hare Stadium last week. Meanwhile, Arkansas has lost back-to-back contests to Group of Five teams, falling 34-27 at Colorado State two weeks before getting run out of its own stadium in a 41-17 loss to North Texas.
-- 5Dimes.eu has updated its Games of the Year. Alabama is a 13.5-point home favorite vs. Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Other lines for the Tide include: -34 at Arkansas, -28.5 at Tennessee, -13.5 at LSU and -19.5 vs. Mississippi State.
-- MSU is favored by 8.5 vs. Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. Moorhead’s Bulldogs are 8.5-point home ‘chalk’ vs. UF next week, ok ‘em vs. Auburn in Starkville, 2.5-point underdogs at LSU, 6.5-point home favorites vs. A&M and 23-point home favorites vs. Arkansas.
-- Alabama is the -200 ‘chalk’ to win the SEC Championship Game at 5Dimes. The other odds include Georgia (+250), LSU (8/1), Auburn (10/1), MSU (15/1), Missouri (30/1), Florida (40/1), A&M (40/1) and UK (40/1). The longshots are Vandy (100/1), S. Carolina (100/1), UT (300/1) and Arkansas (500/1).
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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