Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

Saturday's SEC Betting Notes

SEC Video Picks Saturday, September 26, 2020

Florida at Ole Miss

  • Odds: Florida -13.5, Total 57
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
  • Location: Oxford, MS

Some books opened Florida as a 12.5-point favorite early Sunday afternoon, but UF was up to 13.5 by Sunday night. The Gators were installed as 14.5-point ‘chalk’ by Monday afternoon, but the number was down to 14 and even 13.5 at a few shops on Thursday afternoon.

Most spots opened the UF-Ole Miss total at 60 points on Sunday night. However, on Tuesday afternoon, the tally was adjusted to 57 points and remained there as of Thursday. The Rebels were +540 on the money line.

Dan Mullen’s team finished 2019 with an 11-2 straight-up record and a 7-6 against-the-spread mark. UF returns 12 total starters, six apiece on each side of the ball.

Mullen has compiled a 21-5 SU record and a 16-10 ATS ledger in his first two years on the job. This is even more impressive when you consider that the Gators went 4-7 SU and 3-8 ATS in 2017. As a road favorite on Mullen’s watch, UF has gone 5-1 ATS with the lone non-cover coming in a 29-21 win over Kentucky as an 8.5-point favorite.

Kyle Trask started the last 10 games after Feleipe Franks went down with a season-ending injury. Trask, who served as the backup to current Miami quarterback D’Eriq King at the prep level, had not started a game since his freshman year of high school. The fifth-year senior QB returns after garnering third-team All-SEC honors.

When Franks went down in Week 3 at Kentucky, Trask orchestrated three fourth-quarter TD drives to rally the Gators from a double-digit deficit to a 29-21 win. For the season, he completed 67.0 percent of his passes for 2,941 yards with a 29/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Florida’s offense has added three transfers who are expected to contribute, including a pair of former five-star recruits in ex-Penn St. WR Justin Shorter and former Miami RB Lorenzo Lingard. Also, offensive guard Stewart Reese is a third-team All-SEC pick in Phil Steele’s preseason magazine. Reese started 34 of 37 games at Mississippi St. before arriving in Gainesville as a grad transfer.

Trask’s favorite targets will include TE Kyle Pitts, WR Trevon Grimes, WR Kadarius Toney and WR Jacob Copeland. Pitts was a first-team All-SEC choice last year and is considered by many to be the best TE in the country. He had 54 receptions for 649 yards and five TDs in ‘19.

Fourth-year junior RB Malik Davis went down with season-ending injuries in 2017 and ‘18, and then struggled last year as his playing time was vastly diminished. However, Mullen has been raving about the camp he’s had over the last month. Look for Davis to split carries with Lingard and junior Dameon Pierce.

Todd Grantham’s UF defense gave up only 15.5 points per game last year. This unit lost cornerback CJ Henderson, a first-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars, leading tackler David Reese and its top two pass rushers in Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga. But this ‘D’ remains loaded with talent and added OLB Brenton Cox, a transfer from Georgia who was a five-star recruit out of high school.

Ole Miss made a big splash with the hiring of new head coach Lane Kiffin, who had a one-year tenure as the head coach at Tennessee and spent several seasons at Alabama as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator. Kiffin, who bolted on the Vols after one season to take the USC job when Pete Carroll left for the Seattle Seahawks, won a pair of Conference USA championships in a three-year tenure at FAU before taking over the Rebels, who went 4-8 SU and 8-4 ATS last season.

Kiffin’s first squad in Oxford returns eight starters on offense and five on defense. Ole Miss mustered its four wins last season at home vs. Arkansas, SE Louisiana, Vanderbilt and New Mexico State, so he clearly has his work cut out for him in turning this program around after it was devastated by NCAA sanctions stemming from the Hugh Freeze Era. On the bright side, five of the Rebels’ eight defeats last year were one-possession games.

Kiffin has a pair of talented QBs in true sophomore John Rhys Plumlee and third-year sophomore Matt Corral, who was initially a verbal commit to UF before Jim McElwain was fired. Plumlee started eight games in ‘19, rushing for a team-best 1,023 yards and 12 TDs while averaging 6.6 yards per carry.

Plumlee is a vastly inferior passer, though. He completed 52.7 percent of his throws for 910 yards with a 4/3 TD-INT ratio. Corral connected on 59.0 percent of his passes for 1,362 yards with a 6/3 TD-INT ratio. Corral ran for 135 yards and one TD.

Sophomore RB Jerrion Ealy rushed for 722 yards and six TDs with a 6.9 YPC average as a true freshman last year. He also had 20 catches for 172 yards and one TD. The Rebels return all five of their top pass catchers from last season, including junior Elijah Moore, who had 67 receptions for 850 yards and six TDs.

These schools haven’t met since 2015 when unbeaten and third-ranked Ole Miss came into The Swamp and got trounced by a 38-10 count as a 6.5-point road favorite.

Florida will be without sophomore OG Ethan White. White, who started one of six games in ‘19, is injured but expected to be back soon. When senior DT Kyree Campbell and senior safety Brad Stewart didn’t appear on the depth chart released by Florida earlier this week, many reported that both players would be ‘out’ this week. However, Mullen told the media at his next presser that both “will be available at Ole Miss.”

Campbell was UF’s fifth-leading tackler in ‘19 with 39 stops, three tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Stewart had 28 tackles, 1.5 TFL’s and 0.5 sacks.

Kentucky at Auburn

  • Odds: Auburn -7.5, Total 49.5
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Jordan-Hare Stadium
  • Location: Auburn, AL

As of Thursday afternoon, most spots had Auburn as a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 49.5. The Wildcats were +260 on the money line.

Auburn finished the ‘19 season with a 9-4 record both SU and ATS. Gus Malzahn’s team darted out to a 5-0 record both SU and ATS, including a 27-21 win over 11th-ranked Oregon at Jerry World and a 28-20 win at 17th-ranked Texas A&M as a four-point underdog.

I was at The Swamp in Gainesville when the 10th-ranked Gators and seventh-ranked Tigers collided with unbeaten records at stake. La’Mical Perine busted off right tackle for an 88-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to give UF a 24-13 lead, and the Gators’ defense made it stick in an 11-point win as 2.5-point home underdogs.

AU bounced back with a 51-10 win at Arkansas, only to lose a 23-20 decision at second-ranked LSU the following week. Ed Orgeron's team eventually finished 15-0 and won the College Football Playoff, with its three-point win over Auburn going down as its closest game of the year.

After a non-covering home win over Ole Miss, Auburn lost a 21-14 decision to fifth-ranked Georgia as a three-point home underdog. All was not lost, though, as Malzahn’s bunch won its second Iron Bowl in the last three years by edging fifth-ranked Alabama 48-45 as a 3.5-point home underdog. The Crimson Tide missed a potential tying field goal from chip-shot range when it hit the post in the final seconds.

Just as it did in a Peach Bowl loss to UCF in 2017, however, AU lost the Outback Bowl 31-24 to 16th-ranked Minnesota, costing itself a finish in the Top 10 of the national rankings.

AU returns 10 total starters, five apiece in each side of the ball. QB Bo Nix returns for his sophomore campaign after an up-and-down season (which is to be expected) as a true freshman. The son of Patrick Nix, AU’s starting QB in the mid-1990s, Bo connected on 57.6 percent of his passes for 2,542 yards with a 16/6 TD-INT ratio. He also had 313 rushing yards and seven TDs, averaging 3.2 YPC.

Nix gets back all three of his top WRs, including Seth Williams (59 catches for 830 yards and eight TDs), Anthony Schwartz (41-440-one TD) and Eli Stove (37-321-three). Schwartz is the burner of the group and a threat on gadget plays like sprint sweeps and/or reverses. Schwartz had 118 rushing yards and two TDs on just 11 attempts (10.7 YPC), including a long TD run that was pivotal in the road win in College Station.

The offensive line lost four starters and leading rusher JaTarvious Whitlow. This group is hoping for a boost from OG Brandon Council, a grad transfer from Akron who had 24 career starts for the Zips. However, AU’s other returning o-linemen have only 10 career combined starts.

Auburn DC Kevin Steele returns for his fifth year under Malzahn. He’s done stellar work by leading units that have given up merely 17.1, 18.5, 19.2 and 19.5 PPG from 2016-19, respectively. Steele must replace his top two tacklers (Jeremiah Dinson and Daniel Thomas) and his two best pass rushers (first-round pick Derrick Brown and second-round selection Marlon Davidson), though.

Although it took some time and started with three straight losing seasons (2-10, 5-7 and 5-7), Kentucky has posted winning records and gone bowling four consecutive years under Mark Stoops. In fact, UK is 18-8 in the past two seasons. The Wildcats posted their first 10-win season since 1977 when they went 10-3 in 2018 and ended a 31-game losing streak against SEC East rival Florida.

Kentucky finished ‘19 with an 8-5 SU record and a stellar 9-4 ATS mark. After QB Terry Wilson led the ‘Cats to an 11-3 record in his first 14 starts, he sustained a season-ending injury in a 38-17 Week 2 home win over Eastern Michigan.

Sawyer Smith, a transfer from Troy, took over the starting duties but got banged up in a 29-21 home loss to Florida in Week 3. Smith played through the injury – and suffered another – but was ineffective in three consecutive losses. Therefore, similar to the way Rich Brooks used Randall Cobb for UK more than a decade ago, Stoops got creative and moved star WR Lynn Bowden to QB for a home game vs. Arkansas.

Bowden remained the starting QB for the rest of the year, leading the ‘Cats to six wins in their last eight games. Bowden turned pro early, but Wilson and Smith are now both healthy. Also, Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood is in the mix but waiting for a waiver from the NCAA.

Wilson is a dual-threat QB who rushed for 547 yards and four TDs in ‘18. He has a 13/8 career TD-INT ratio.

Kentucky returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense. Furthermore, the ‘Cats lost only 12 lettermen. Steele’s National Units Rankings have UK with the fifth-best offensive line in the country.

Although Bowden was its leading rusher (1,468 yards, 13 TDs and a 7.9 YPC average), Kentucky has three quality RBs with experience. Asim Rose ran for 826 yards and six TDs while averaging 5.5 YPC in ‘19. Kavosiey Smoke had 616 rushing yards, six TDs and a 6.1 YPC average, while Christopher Rodriguez ran for 533 yards and six TDs with a 7.5 YPC average.

UK’s defense gave up only 19.3 PPG last year. This unit has added CB Kelvin Joseph, a former four-star recruit who sat out last season after transferring from LSU. Steele has Joseph as a preseason fourth-team All-SEC choice. Nose tackle Quinton Bohanna, a 350-pound senior with 25 career starts to his credit, is a second-team All-SEC selection in Steele’s preseason magazine.

UK is 14-14 ATS in 28 games as a road underdog on Stoops’s watch. During Malzahn’s tenure that’s about to start its eighth season, the Tigers are 17-23-1 ATS in 41 games as home favorites. However, we’ll note that Auburn went 4-1 ATS in five such spots in ‘19.

Mississippi State at LSU

  • Odds: LSU -16.5, Total 57
  • TV-Time: CBS, 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Tiger Stadium
  • Location: Baton Rouge, LA

As of Thursday, most betting shops had LSU listed as a 16.5-point favorite with a total of 57 or 57.5. Mississippi State has dropped nine of its last 10 games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, with a 2014 victory orchestrated by Dak Prescott serving as the lone exception.

LSU is off a magical season, one that ended with a 15-0 record and a 42-25 win over Clemson in the finals of the CFP in New Orleans. Ed Orgeron's team won 12 of its 15 games by at least 14 points, but nearly all of the key pieces from that dynamic squad are gone.

Joe Brady, the offensive guru who came from the New Orleans Saints, parlayed his success in Redstick by scoring the offensive-coordinator gig for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers under new head coach Matt Rhule. Dave Aranda left his defensive-coordinator position for his first HC job at Baylor.

Most of all, QB Joe Burrow is gone after throwing for 5,671 yards with an incredible 60/6 TD-INT ratio. Before the pandemic hit, LSU was originally bringing back eight starters (five on offense, three on defense). That’s no longer the case, though, as junior WR Ja’Marr Chase opted out. Chase was a first-team All-American who hauled in 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 TDs last year.

Senior DB Kary Vincent and junior DT Tyler Shelvin decided to opt out, too. Vincent recorded 47 tackles, nine PBU, four interceptions and two TFL’s in ‘19. Shelvin had 39 tackles, three TFL’s, two PBU and one QB hurry last season.

Senior DE Neil Farrell also announced that he was opting out about a month ago. However, Farrell reversed course in the last two weeks and rejoined the team. Orgeron told the media Wednesday that Farrell was going to practice in pads for the first time. He indicated that his conditioning might not be ready to play Saturday vs. MSU.

Fourth-year junior QB Myles Brennan has been granted the Herculean task of replacing Burrow. He won’t have Chase as a target, but the Tigers still have one of the nation’s premier wideouts in Terrace Marshall. The junior WR had 46 catches for 671 yards and 13 TDs in ‘19.

The defense will be led by senior safety JaCoby Stevens and sophomore CB Derek Stingley. As a true freshman last year, Stingley garnered second-team All-American honors by producing 38 tackles, six interceptions, 15 PBU and one TFL. Stevens earned second-team All-SEC honors with 92 tackles, six PBU, five sacks, four TFL’s, three interceptions and a pair of QB hurries.

Former Nebraska HC Bo Pelini, who was LSU’s DC when it won the 2007 national title under Les Miles, has been brought back to replace Aranda. Pelini had been the HC at Youngstown State since leaving Lincoln.

The Joe Moorhead Era in Starkville lasted just two seasons. After Mississippi St. went 8-5 (in ‘18 despite having a defense that limited foes to 13.2 PPG) and 6-7, the former Penn St. OC was dismissed.

At long last, Mike Leach has finally scored a HC job in the SEC. Just like his previous stops in Lubbock and Pullman with Texas Tech and Washington St., Leach has landed at a place where it’s difficult to win. Starkville is one of the smallest towns in the country for Power Five schools, but he’s been overcoming that sort of obstacle for two decades.

Leach won 139 games and took Texas Tech (10 years) and Washington St. (eight years) to 15 bowl games. He has thrived as a double-digit underdog, compiling an 18-6 spread record with six outright wins in his last 24 such spots.

MSU finished ‘19 with a 6-7 SU record and a 4-9 ATS mark. The Bulldogs lost 27 lettermen and return six starters on offense and five on ‘D.’ Six of last season’s seven defeats came by double-digit margins.

The good news for Leach is the arrival of former Stanford QB K.J. Costello, a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2018 who has a 49/18 career TD-INT ratio. Costello got knocked out of the Cardinal’s season opener vs. Northwestern (sorry for the reminder if that was a Bad Beat for you like it was for me!) with a concussion, and then sustained a hand injury when he returned in October.

Costello is a legit NFL prospect who should thrive in Leach’s pass-happy attack. The Bulldogs also have one of the nation’s top RBs in Kylin Hill, who was a fourth-team All-American in ‘19 when he produced 1,350 rushing yards, 10 TDs and a 5.6 YPC average. He also had 18. catches for 180 yards and one TD.

Senior MLB Erroll Thompson will anchor the MSU defense. He was a third-team All-SEC pick last year when he recorded 84 tackles, six QB hurries, three TFL’s, two PBU and 0.5 sacks.

Alabama at Missouri

  • Odds: Alabama -27.5, Total 56
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 7:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field
  • Location: Columbia, MO

During Nick Saban’s tenure, Alabama is 12-1 ATS in 13 season openers. The Crimson Tide is 12-7 ATS in its last 19 outings as a road ‘chalk.’

As of Thursday afternoon, most books had Saban’s squad installed as a 27.5-point favorite with a total of 56.

Alabama went 11-2 SU and 7-6 ATS last year. All 11 victories came by margins of 19 points or more, but the Tide lost a 46-41 decision at home to LSU and lost at Auburn for the second time in three years. AU won the Iron Bowl 48-45 thanks to a pair of pick-sixes and a missed field goal by Alabama that hit the post in the final seconds.

Saban’s club has seven starters back on offense and five on ‘D.’ The defense will also welcome the return of Dylan Moses, who tore his ACL in August and missed all of last season. Moses was the team’s leading tackler in ‘18 when he tallied 86 stops, 6.5 TFL’s, 3.5 sacks, one PBU, one forced fumble and one QB hurry.

Mac Jones held off five-star true freshman Bryce Young to win the starting QB job vacated by first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa. Jones played well in four starts last year, completing 68.8 percent of his passes for 1,503 yards with a 14/3 TD-INT ratio. He demonstrated his moxy at Jordan-Hare Stadium by leading TD drives after both pick-sixes (one of which wasn’t on him) at Auburn.

Jones has two of the nation’s best WRs in DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Smith had 68 catches for 1,256 yards and 14 TDs in ‘19. Waddle, who had a pair of special-teams TDs and averaged 35.0 yards per kick return and 24.4 yards per punt return, caught 33 balls for 560 yards and six TDs.

I’m holding a ticket at 35/1 odds for Alabama RB Najee Harris to win the Heisman Trophy. Like Smith and Moses, Harris easily could’ve turned pro early but decided to stick around for another run at a title in Tuscaloosa. He finished ‘19 with 1,224 rushing yards and 13 TDs with a 5.9 YPC average. Harris also had 27 receptions for 304 yards and seven TDs.

Missouri fired Barry Odom after five losses in its final six games of last season. The Tigers replaced him with Eli Drinkwitz, who has only been a HC for one season. But it was a helluva year at Appalachian St., where he led the Mountaineers to a 13-1 SU record and a 9-5 ATS mark after taking over for Scott Satterfield.

Missouri returns seven starters from a solid defense that allowed just 19.4 PPG. Junior LB Nick Bolton is the leader of this unit. He earned fourth-team All-American honors after producing 107 tackles, eight TFL’s, eight PBU, three QB hurries, two interceptions, one pick-six and one sack.

Missouri only has four starters back on offense. Drinkwitz had not announced a starting QB as of Thursday, but the expectation was that it will be TCU transfer Shawn Robinson. The former four-star recruit sat out last year, but he had eight career starts in two seasons with the Horned Frogs. Robinson has a 12/8 career TD-INT ratio and three rushing scores.

Missouri went 3-2 ATS in five games as a home underdog during Odom’s four-year tenure, but it’s only 7-9 ATS in 16 such spots over the past decade.

Tennessee at South Carolina

  • Odds: Tennessee -3.5, Total 43.5
  • TV-Time: SEC, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Williams-Brice Stadium
  • Location: Colombia, SC

Will Muschamp has a 7-1 record in eight games as a HC against Tennessee. The lone defeat came at Neyland Stadium last year when the Volunteers outscored the Gamecocks 20-0 in the second half and won by a 41-21 count.

As of Thursday, most spots had Tennessee favored by 3.5 points with a total of 43.5 or 44. This is UT’s first road ‘chalk’ situation since its 2016 regular-season finale at Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks were +150 on the money line.

South Carolina had the nation’s toughest schedule last year, and it resulted in a 4-8 SU record and a 5-7 ATS ledger. Muschamp’s bunch let a double-digit lead get away in the fourth quarter of its opener against North Carolina, which rallied for a 24-20 win as an 11-point underdog in Charlotte.

Senior QB Jake Bentley threw a costly interception that set up one of UNC’s scores. Then after the Heels took the lead, Bentley quickly drove the Gamecocks deep into UNC territory. On a first-and-10 play, Bentley had WR Shi Smith wide open for an easy go-ahead TD throw in the final minute, but he overthrew Smith badly.

Two plays later, Bentley was intercepted and then sustained a season-ending foot injury trying to make the tackle. This made true freshman Ryan Hilinski the starting QB in Week 2. After leading USC to a 72-10 win over Charleston Southern, Hilinski had some good moments at home vs. second-ranked Alabama.

However, a garbage holding call wiped out a South Carolina TD on a fake field goal. Then Harris turned a fourth-down play into a TD catch for the Tide before the Gamecocks came up shy of the end zone on fourth and goal on the final play of the first half. (Making matters worse, it appeared as if USC had scored a TD on second and goal, but the referees spotted the ball at the one and the booth didn’t signal down for a replay review).

When USC had to settle for a FG after a long drive set them up with first and goal inside ‘Bama’s five on the opening drive of the second half, Alabama answered with a TD and poured it on from there in a 47-23 win that was a misleading final score. A big hit in the fourth quarter left Hilinski injured.

Although he started the next week at Missouri, Hilinksi clearly wasn’t 100 percent and the Tigers captured a 34-14 triumph. USC bounced back with a 24-7 home win over Kentucky, and then it went to Athens as a 21.5-point underdog.

Even though Hilinksi left the game with a sprained knee in the second quarter, Muschamp's’ team got three interceptions and one pick-six from safety Israel Mukuamu. Even though the Gamecocks missed a potential game-winning FG, it found a way to upset third-ranked Georgia 20-17 in double overtime.

USC led Florida 27-24 at home with 10 minutes remaining the following week. However, the Gators caught breaks on two controversial calls and were able to rally for a 38-27 win that was another misleading final.

USC returns seven starters on offense and six on ‘D.’ Collin Hill, a grad transfer from Colorado St., beat Hilinski out for the starting QB job and will get the nod vs. UT. Hill played for Mike Bobo at CSU, and he followed his former HC to Columbia when Muschamp hired his former UGA teammate (from the mid-90s) as USC’s new OC. Bobo started at QB for UGA in the ‘90s and served as Mark Richt’s OC for more than a decade before landing his first HC gig in Ft. Collins.

USC was hoping highly-touted true freshman RB MarShawn Lloyd was going to secure the starting RB job, but he tore his ACL a few weeks ago and is done for the year.

The strength of the defense will be the secondary. Mukuamu is back after earning second-team All-SEC honors in ‘19, and junior CB Jaycee Horn has 22 career starts to his credit (and had nine PBU in ‘19).

Tennessee went 5-7 both SU and ATS in Year 1 of Jeremy Pruitt’s tenure in ‘18. Then the Vols started last year 1-4, including a home loss to Georgia St and blowout defeats at Florida and vs. UGA by combined scores of 77-17.

To say the natives in Knoxville were restless would be a supreme understatement. But something started to click in mid-October, beginning with a 20-10 home win over Mississippi State as a 6.5-point underdog. Then in Tuscaloosa, UT was one-inch shy of cutting its deficit at Alabama to seven points early in the fourth quarter.

However, QB Jarrett Guarantano’s leap (and reach) toward the end zone resulted in the ball getting knocked loose and a 100-plus yard scoop and score. After the Tide closed out a 35-13 win, the Vols answered with six straight wins to finish 8-5 SU and 7-6 ATS.

That momentum helped Pruitt secure an outstanding recruiting class. With nine starters back on offense, eight returning on defense and the addition of Georgia transfer OG Cade Mays (who was a five-star recruit and started 18 of 25 games he played at UGA in two years), optimism is high up on Rocky Top.

The offensive line has 115 career starts combined. This unit earned a No. 6 national ranking in Steele’s preseason mag and has a stud in OT Trey Smith, who is a first-team All-American in all of the preseason publications.

UT has an elite o-line and returns its top two RBs (Ty Chandler and Eric Gray), but the key to the season will be if Guarantano can become one of the league’s elite signal callers. He lost his two best WRs (Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway), so it won’t be easy. Guarantano has 25 career starts and a 32/13 career TD-INT ratio.

B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets

Extra Games

  • Georgia (-27.5, 53) at Arkansas
  • Vanderbilt at Texas A&M (-31, 46.5)

-- Texas A&M will host Vanderbilt at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network’s alternate station. As of Thursday, the Aggies were 30.5-point favorites with a total of 46. The Commodores had money-line odds anywhere from 18/1 to 25/1. Texas A&M junior LB Anthony Hines unexpectedly decided to opt out of the 2020 campaign earlier this week. Hines recorded 77 tackles, 10.5 TFL’s and four QB hurries in ‘19. Hines joins two other starters, WR Jhamon Ausbon and CB Elijah Blades, in opting out. Ausbon was a third-team All-SEC choice last year when he had 66 catches for 872 yards and five TDs. Blades had 19 tackles, three PBU, 1.5 sacks and one TFL in ‘19.

-- Jimbo Fisher’s team finished last season with an 8-5 SU record and a 7-6 ATS mark. Even with the opt outs, the Aggies return 14 starters, seven apiece on each side of the ball. Senior QB Kellen Mond has 7,469 career passing yards with a 52/24 TD-INT ratio. He also has 1,314 career rushing yards and 18 TDs. As a true freshman last year, RB Isaiah Spiller went for 946 yards and 10 TDs with a 5.4 YPC average. Mond has one of the conference’s best TEs in true sophomore Jalen Wydermyer, who garnered second-team All-SEC honors with 32 receptions for 447 yards and six TDs.

-- Texas A&M is 9-3 ATS in 12 games as a home favorite on Fisher’s watch.

-- Vanderbilt limped to a 3-9 record both SU and ATS in ‘19. The Commodores bring back five starters on offense and 10 on defense, but several starters are ‘out’ with injuries this week.

-- Georgia will face its former offensive line coach Sam Pittman in its season opener Saturday in Fayetteville, where Arkansas will begin The Pittman Era as a 28-point home underdog vs. UGA. The total is in the 52-53 range. Ex-Florida QB Feleipe Franks is the new starting QB for the Razorbacks, who finished last season 2-10 SU and 5-7 ATS. Arkansas has eight starters back on offense and six on defense. Kirby Smart has been coy about who will start under center. With Wake Forest grad transfer Jamie Newman opting out earlier this month, the candidates are USC transfer JT Daniels and redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis. It’s unclear whether Daniels, who is off a torn ACL last September, has been fully cleared. He’s listed as ‘questionable.’ UGA returns only three starters on offense, but it has eight defensive starters back. The Bulldogs finished ‘19 with a 12-2 SU record and an 8-6 ATS mark.

-- I like a pair of SEC season win totals: Alabama ‘over’ 8.5 and Florida ‘over’ 7.5. Shop around and find the best price. If the price is North of –140, take it easy on the amount but definitely still get a taste.

-- The ‘under’ has cashed at a 7-1 clip in Kentucky’s last eight games as a road underdog. Also, UK has seen the ‘under’ go 13-3 in its last 16 SEC contests. Furthermore, I forgot to mention that UK has the best punter in the country in Max Duffy, who won the Ray Guy Award last season.

We may be compensated by the company links provided on this page. Read more