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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:52 PM

SEC Betting Notebook - Week 6

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Before we get to Saturday’s seven SEC games, let’s hit on a couple of quick things.

First, weather is going to be a factor at five of the seven venues. The exceptions are Florida at Texas A&M, where the forecast is excellent – sunny skies with a high of 90 degrees.

With Missouri at LSU getting moved from Baton Rouge to Columbia, that game will also be played in favorable conditions that are calling for mostly sunny skies. Side Remark: That venue shift would’ve NEVER happened on former AD Joe Alleva’s watch.

The five other games have at least a 70 percent chance of showers. I’ll touch on the conditions for each of those contests below.

SEC Championship Odds

DraftKings currently has Alabama as a -200 favorite to win the SEC Championship Game. Florida and Georgia share the next-shortest odds at +300. Although only two games apiece have been played, every other SEC West team outside of the Crimson Tide has at least one loss already.

The next-shortest odds belong:

  • Tennessee (22/1)
  • Texas A&M (25/1)
  • Mississippi State (33/1)
  • Auburn (40/1)
  • LSU (40/1)
  • Kentucky (100/1)
  • Ole Miss (150/1)
  • Arkansas (250/1)
  • South Carolina (250/1)
  • Missouri (500/1)
  • Vanderbilt (750/1)

Week 6 SEC Analysis

Florida at Texas A&M

  • Odds: Florida -6, Total 58
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 12:00 p.m.
  • Venue: Kyle Field
  • Location: College Station, TX

-- This is Florida’s first trip to College Station since Week 2 of the 2012 season when Texas A&M was making its SEC debut. After the Aggies’ opener was postponed due to Hurricane Isaac, Johnny Manziel made his collegiate debut against the Gators, who captured a 20-17 win as one-point road favorites. The 37 combined points went ‘under’ the 49.5-point total.

-- Mike Gillislee ran for 83 yards and two TDs on 14 attempts for the winners. Jeff Driskel completed 13-of-16 throws for 162, while Manziel had 60 rushing yards and one TD on 17 carries. He won the Heisman Trophy that year, but his numbers didn’t jump off the page in his first college game. Manziel connected on 23-of-30 passes for 173 yards.

-- These teams have met only once since then, as Texas A&M won a 19-17 decision at UF on Oct. 14 of 2017. This is the only time (hopefully EVER!) that the Gators have donned hideous gray uniforms at The Swamp, and they lost outright as three-point home favorites during Jim McElwain’s forgettable tenure.

-- As of early Friday afternoon, most books had Florida installed as a 6.5-point favorite with a total of 58. The Aggies were +200 on the money line.

-- UF has been a road favorite eight times since Dan Mullen took over in 2018, compiling an 8-0 straight-up record and a 7-1 against-the-spread mark. The lone non-cover came in a 29-21 win at Kentucky last year as an 8.5-point ‘chalk.’

-- Florida (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) built a 38-14 lead in the third quarter vs. South Carolina last week. However, the Gamecocks posted the backdoor cover and ate up nearly the entire clock in the final stanza of a 38-24 loss as 14.5-point road underdogs. The ‘over’ cashed for a second straight week for both teams, with the 62 combined points elevating North of the 57-point total.

-- Kyle Trask completed 21-of-29 passes for 268 yards and four TDs compared to one interception. Kadarius Toney had six catches for 86 yards and one TD, while TE Kyle Pitts had four receptions for 57 yards and two TDs. Dameon Pierce turned nine carries into 51 rushing yards and one TD.

-- Florida senior DT Kyree Campbell and senior safety Brad Stewart haven’t been in uniform at Ole Miss or vs. South Carolina. Mullen has refused to comment on whether either player has been injured, suspended or dealing with COVID-19. Both players, who have combined to start 34 games for the Gators, remain listed on the depth chart. Both are going to be picked in the 2021 NFL Draft, and the hope is that they’ll be on the field in College Station.

-- By the way, Trask was named after Kyle Field growing up in Texas. Trask, who has a 10/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio through two games, has seen his preseason 25/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy reduced to 4/1 at many shops. Pitts, who has caught six of Trask’s 10 TD passes, isn’t on any Heisman boards that I viewed this week, nor is there the option of a ‘field’ bet.

-- Texas A&M (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) saw five projected starters opt out of the 2020 season before its opener vs. Vanderbilt. The Aggies won a 17-12 decision over the Commodores, who easily took the money as 31-point road underdogs.

-- Jimbo Fisher’s team was run out of Bryant-Denny Stadium last week in a 52-24 loss as an 18-point road underdog. After Alabama jumped out to a 14-0 lead, Texas A&M answered with a TD drive. Then on the first play of the second quarter, Mac Jones’s attempted pass was tipped at the line of the scrimmage and intercepted by Demarvin Leal, who returned the pick 43 yards into the red zone.

-- Moments later, senior QB Kellen Mond found Ryan Renick for a 17-yard scoring strike to knot the score at 14-14. The Crimson Tide went back in front 21-14 on a Najee Harris TD run with 9:07 left in the second quarter. They built the lead to 35-14 by intermission thanks to a pick-six and a TD pass from Jones with 22 seconds left. Nick Saban’s team coasted to victory from there.

-- Mond has completed 58.3 percent of his passes for 507 yards with a 4/1 TD-INT ratio through two games. The dual-threat QB has only 37 rushing yards on 15 attempts, though. Sophomore RB Isaiah Spiller is averaging 7.5 yards per carry, but he’s only been five 19 carries that have resulted in 142 rushing yards. WR Ainias Smith has eight receptions for 150 yards and two TDs.

-- Texas A&M has been a home underdog only twice during Fisher’s tenure, going 0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS. The Aggies are 0-6 SU but 3-3 ATS in six games against top-five opponents on Fisher’s watch.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt

  • Odds: South Carolina -13.5, Total 41
  • TV-Time: SEC, 12:00 p.m.
  • Venue: Vanderbilt Stadium
  • Location: Nashville, TN

-- As of early Friday, most books had South Carolina (0-2 SU, 1-0-1 ATS) installed as a 13.5-point favorite with a total of 41.5 points. The Commodores were +410 on the money line.

-- Since arriving in Columbia, Will Muschamp is 4-0 both SU and ATS in four games against Vanderbilt. South Carolina won by a 37-14 in Nashville two seasons ago and beat the Commodores 24-7 at home last year.

-- Vanderbilt (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) has limped to an atrocious 1-9 spread record in its past 10 games as a home underdog since October of 2017. The latest such non-cover came in last week’s 41-7 loss to LSU as a 21-point home underdog. The 48 combined points slithered ‘under’ the 50-point total to improve to 2-0 for Vandy.

-- Derek Mason is going with a true freshman QB in Ken Seals, who completed only 11-of-25 throws for 113 yards with one TD and two interceptions against the Tigers. Sophomore RB Ja’Veon Marlow had 83 rushing yards on 17 attempts, but he had a critical drop on a perfect throw from Seals that would’ve been a big gainer early in the third quarter before the game was completely out of hand.

-- Seals has a 2/4 TD-INT ratio through two games.

-- Vandy is hoping that three key contributors can make their season debuts vs. South Carolina. Sophomore CB BJ Anderson, sophomore safety Brendon Harris and RB Keyon Brooks are listed as ‘questionable.’ Harris was Vandy’s fourth-leading tackler last year with 51 stops.

-- South Carolina QB Collin Hill has acquitted himself well in a pair of starts. Hill sustained three season-ending ACL tears while at Colorado State. The grad transfer followed his former HC Mike Bobo, who is Muschamp’s new OC, from CSU to Columbia. Hill has completed 53-of-86 passes (61.6%) for 502 yards with a 3/1 TD-INT ratio. Hill dealt with five drops in the first half alone last week at UF. His favorite target is senior WR Shi Smith, who has 22 receptions for 225 yards and two TDs.

-- South Carolina sophomore RB Kevin Harris played extremely well against the Gators. He had 100 rushing yards and one TD on 22 carries, in addition to making four catches for 27 yards and one TD. For the season, Harris had 155 rushing yards, two TDs (on the ground) and a 4.4 yards-per-carry average.

-- South Carolina is 1-1 ATS in two games as a road favorite during Muschamp’s tenure, but the Gamecocks are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road assignments.

-- The weather.com forecast on Friday morning was predicting a 90 percent chance of rain with winds at 10-15 miles per hour.

LSU at Missouri

  • Odds: LSU -14.5, Total 54
  • TV-Time: SEC, 12:00 p.m.
  • Venue: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium
  • Location: Columbia, MO

-- As of early Friday afternoon, most betting shops had LSU (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) installed as a 14.5-point favorite with a total of 54. Missouri was +450 on the money line. Before the venue shift, most spots had LSU as 20.5 or 21-point home ‘chalk.’

-- After losing a 44-34 decision to Mississippi State as a 15-point home favorite in its opener, LSU bounced back to spank Vandy 41-7 last week. Derek Stingley, its star sophomore CB who garnered second-team All-American honors as a true freshman in 2019, returned to the lineup and was a difference maker on ‘D’ and special teams. Stingley, who missed the MSU game due to a non-COVID illness, had 92 yards on three punt returns, in addition to six tackles.

-- LSU fourth-year junior QB Myles Brennan was sharp in his second career start in Nashville. He completed 23-of-37 passes for 337 yards and four TDs with one interception. For the season, Brennan has connected on 60.2 percent of his attempts for 682 yards with a 7/3 TD-INT ratio.

-- LSU sophomore RB John Emery ran for 103 yards and one TD on 12 carries at Vandy. He also had three receptions for 21 yards. WR Terrace Marshall, a preseason All-American, had two catches for 67 yards and two TDs. Senior WR Jontre Kirklin enjoyed a breakout performance, snagging three receptions for 65 yards and two TDs. Kirklin came to LSU as a CB, only to switch over to WR in his sophomore campaign in 2018. However, he had merely three catches in the last two seasons, but he looked every bit the part of someone who can be a playmaker for this offense in 2020.

-- Missouri (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) first-year head coach Eli Drinkwitz announced this week that Conner Bazelak will be the starting QB moving forward. He had split time with TCU transfer Shawn Robinson in a 38-19 home loss vs. Alabama and last week’s 35-12 setback at Tennessee.

-- Missouri lost in Knoxville as a 10-point road underdog. The 47 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 49-point total. Freshman kicker Harrison Mevis booted a pair of second-quarter field goals from 27 and 50 yards out, with the 50-yarder trimming the deficit to 14-6 with 4:17 left in the second quarter. However, the Volunteers got a TD with 44 ticks until halftime to extend the lead. They were in front 28-6 until Larry Rountree scored on a one-yard TD run late in the third quarter, but Mizzou would get no closer.

-- Bazelack completed 13-of-21 passes for 218 yards at UT. He was intercepted once. Rountree had 84 rushing yards and one TD on 18 carries. WR Damon Hazelton, a grad transfer who started 18 games and had 1,329 receiving yards in 2018 and ‘19 at Va. Tech, had four catches for 66 yards.

-- Missouri’s defense is led by junior LB Nick Bolton, who was a fourth-team All-American selection in 2019 when he had 107 tackles, eight tackles for loss, eight passes broken up, two interceptions and one sack. Bolton had 17 tackles against the Vols last week.

-- LSU owns an 8-4 spread record in 12 games as a road favorite during Ed Orgeron’s tenure.

Tennessee at Georgia

  • Odds: Georgia -12.5, Total 43
  • TV-Time: CBS, 3:30 p.m.
  • Venue: Sanford Stadium
  • Location: Athens, GA

-- As of Friday afternoon, most spots had Georgia (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) listed as a 12.5-point favorite with a total of 43. The Vols were +400 to win outright.

-- UGA didn’t take its first lead at Arkansas two weeks ago until midway through the third quarter. Since then, though, Kirby Smart’s team has played outstanding football. The Bulldogs pulled away to beat the Razorbacks 37-10, although they failed to cover as 28-point road ‘chalk.’

-- Georgia dominated Auburn from start to finish in last Saturday’s 27-6 win as a 7.5-point home favorite. The 33 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 44.5-point total.

-- In his first career start, Georgia junior QB Stetson Bennett completed 17-of-28 passes for 240 yards and one TD without an interception. Zamir White had 88 rushing yards and two TDs on 19 totes, while sophomore Kearis Jackson had nine receptions for 147 yards. George Pickens brought down two catches for 26 yards and one TD.

-- Bennett has solidified himself as the starter even though USC transfer QB JT Daniels was cleared to play last week vs. Auburn. Daniels was the Trojans’ starter in 2018 before sustaining a torn ACL in last season’s opener. Bennett has completed 37-of-57 throws (64.9%) for 451 yards and three TDs without an interception.

-- White, the third-year sophomore who is a former five-star recruit, has turned 32 carries into 159 rushing yards and three TDs for a 5.0 YPC average. Jackson has 15 catches for 209 yards, while Pickens has six grabs for 73 yards and two TDs.

-- UGA is 10-15 ATS as a home favorite during Smart’s tenure.

-- Tennessee (2-0 SU, 1-0-1 ATS) currently owns the nation’s longest winning streak at eight games. However, all eight of those victories have come against unranked foes. Jeremy Pruitt’s squad won 31-27 at South Carolina as a four-point road favorite in its opener. Then the Vols won a 35-12 decision over Missouri as 10-point home favorites.

-- Jarrett Guarantano threw for 190 yards and one TD without an interception vs. Mizzou. RB Eric Gray ran for 105 yards and one TD on 16 attempts, while Ty Chandler had 90 rushing yards and one TD on 19 carries. Guarantano also had a pair of rushing TDs, while WR Josh Palmer was his favorite target with four catches for 71 yards.

-- Guarantano has completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 449 yards and two TDs without a pick. Chandler has 176 rushing yards, a 5.5 YPC average and one TD, while Gray has run for 145 yards and two TDs with a 5.2 YPC average. Palmer has a team-high 10 receptions for 156 yards and one TD.

-- Tennessee owns a 6-2 spread record in eight games as a road underdog on Pruitt’s watch.

-- Since winning 34-31 at UGA on Josh Dobbs’s Hail Mary TD pass to Juan Jennings on the game’s final play in 2016, the Bulldogs have won three straight games over UT by scores of 41-0, 38-12 and 43-14.

-- There’s a 70 percent chance of showers Saturday afternoon in Athens, according to the latest weather reports.

Arkansas at Auburn

  • Odds: Auburn -14.5, Total 45.5
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 4:00 p.m.
  • Venue: Jordan-Hare Stadium
  • Location: Auburn, AL

-- Auburn was favored by 17 points early in the week, but the number was 13.5 or 14 on Friday afternoon. The total was in the 45-46 range. The Razorbacks were +425 on the money line.

-- Bo Nix struggled mightily in last week’s 27-6 loss at UGA. The sophomore QB completed 21-of-40 passes for 177 yards with one interception. The Tigers were limited to 39 rushing yards on 22 attempts.

-- Auburn is 18-23-1 ATS as a home favorite during Gus Malzahn’s eight-year tenure. However, we’ll note that the Tigers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven such spots.

-- Arkansas ended a 20-game SEC losing streak last Saturday night when it won 21-14 at Mississippi State as a 16.5-point road underdog. The Razorbacks’ defense led the way, intercepting MSU QB KJ Costello three times one week after he set an SEC record for passing yards. Greg Brooks got Arkansas on the board first with a 69-yard pick-six off Costello in the first quarter. The Hogs’ defense sealed the deal at crunch time, producing a pair of fourth-and-short stops and an interception to end MSU possession that were deep in Arkansas’ territory in the fourth quarter.

-- Feleipe Franks, the Arkansas QB who is a grad transfer from Florida, completed 20-of-28 passes for 212 yards and two TDs without an interception in Starkville. Senior WR De’Vion Warren had four catches for 100 yards and one TD.

-- Arkansas is 10-7-1 ATS as a road underdog since 2015.

-- Auburn has won four games in a row in this rivalry by an average of 39.3 points per game. Malzahn’s bunch won 51-10 in Fayetteville last season.

-- Auburn senior LB K.J. Britt, a first-team All-SEC selection in 2019 when he produced 69 tackles, 7.5 TFL’s and 2.5 sacks, had thumb surgery earlier this week and is out indefinitely.

-- Four Arkansas starters are listed as ‘questionable:’ WR Treylon Brooks, RB Rakeem Boyd, safety Montaric Brown and LB Grant Morgan. Brooks led the Razorbacks in receiving yards last season, Boyd paced them in rushing yards (1,133, eight TDs and a 6.2 YPC average) and Morgan and Brown had 39 tackles apiece.

Alabama at Ole Miss

  • Odds: Alabama -23.5, Total 69.5
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 7:30 p.m.
  • Venue: Vaught Hemingway Stadium
  • Location: Oxford, MS

-- As of Friday afternoon, most shops had Alabama (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) listed as a 23.5-point favorite with a total of 24-point favorite with a total of 69.5. The Rebels had 10/1 money-line odds.

-- Nick Saban is 20-0 in games against his former assistants. He also beat Lane Kiffin during his one season at Tennessee, but Kiffin’s Vols easily covered and had a chance to win outright until Terrence Cody blocked a potential game-winning field-goal attempt on the game’s final play in 2009.

-- When these teams met in Tuscaloosa last season, Alabama (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) won a 59-31 decision as a 38-point home favorite. The Rebels took the money with the 90 combined points soaring ‘over’ the 62.5-point tally. DeVonta Smith had a career performance, hauling in 11 receptions for 274 yards and five TDs.

-- The weather forecast is calling for occasional rain and just 5-10 mph of wind. However, the area is going to take heavy rain Friday night and early Saturday, so the conditions will be wet.

-- In last week’s win over Texas A&M, Alabama QB Mac Jones completed 20-of-27 throws for 435 yards and four TDs with one interception. Najee Harris had a pair of rushing scores, while John Metchie had five catches for 181 yards and two TDs. Jaylen Waddle had five receptions for 142 yards and one TD, and Smith had six grabs for 63 yards and one TD.

-- After producing more than 600 yards of total offense in a 51-35 home loss to Florida, Ole Miss (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) picked up the first win of the Lane Kiffin Era by capturing a 42-41 overtime victory at Kentucky. The Rebels won outright as 6.5-point road underdogs, while the 83 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 63.5-point tally. The score was tied at 35-35 at the end of regulation, so the ‘over’ had already hit.

-- UK started the extra session with a TD, but the Wildcats missed the PAT. That left the door open for the Rebels, who drew even on Matt Corral’s three-yard TD pass to Elijah Moore. Luke Logan’s PAT was true to seal the win. Corral had a second straight strong performance, connecting on 24-of-29 passes for 320 yards and four TDs without an interception. He also had a team-best 51 rushing yards on 13 attempts. Sophomore WR Jonathan Mingo had eight catches for 128 yards and two TDs, while Moore snagged 10 receptions for 92 yards and one TD.

-- Jones has the nation’s best QB Rating (222.07), while Corral has the country’s third-best (211.94). UF’s Trask (196.42) is ranked sixth nationally in QBR.

-- Corral has completed 46-of-60 passes (76.7%) for 715 yards with a 7/1 TD-INT ratio. He also has 101 rushing yards. Moore leads the nation in receiving yards per game (159.5 YPG) by more than 20 yards over Waddle, who is ranked second (138.0 YPG). Moore has 20 catches for 319 yards and one TD.

-- Since beating ‘Bama in back-to-back games under Hugh Freeze in 2014 and ’15, the Rebels have lost four in a row to the Tide by scores of 48-43, 66-3, 62-7 and 59-31.

-- Ole Miss is 1-7 ATS in its last eight games as a home underdog. Meanwhile, Alabama is 21-16 ATS as a road favorite since 2011.

Mississippi State at Kentucky

  • Odds: Kentucky -3, Total 57.5
  • TV-Time: SEC, 7:30 p.m.
  • Venue: Kroger Field
  • Location: Lexington, KY

-- As of Friday afternoon, most spots had Kentucky (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) installed as a three-point favorite with a total of 57.5.

-- Weather.com’s forecast for Lexington on Saturday night calls for a 90 percent chance of steady rain. That’s an advantage for the Wildcats, who want to pound the ball with the running game. Mike Leach’s Air-Raid attack obviously has a heavy emphasis on the aerial attack.

-- Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill, a fourth-team All-American last season when he ran for 1,350 yards and 10 TDs, left last week’s 21-14 home loss to Arkansas with a head injury and didn’t return. His presence was badly missed. Leach has been notorious for decades about not discussing his team’s injuries, but all reports out of Starkville have indicated that Hill will play at UK and he’s ‘probable’ on the injury report. With that said, I’m not sure that I trust that. Hill had eight receptions for 158 yards and one TD in MSU’s 44-34 win at LSU, but he was limited to seven rushing yards on his only touch vs. Arkansas.

-- KJ Costello, the grad transfer QB from Stanford who was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2018, broke the SEC record with 623 passing yards at LSU. He also threw for five TDs against the Tigers. However, as good as Costello was in Baton Rouge, he was equally as bad last week in Starkville. Although he threw for 313 yards and one TD, he was intercepted three times, including his second pick-six of the season. Also, on a fourth-and-two play deep in Arkansas’ territory midway through the fourth quarter, he short-hopped what should’ve been an easy first-down completion to a wide-open receiver on a short throw. Costello has a 6/5 TD-INT ratio through two games.

-- MSU was mired in a 0-6 ATS slump in its last six games as a road underdog until winning outright at LSU.

-- Kentucky went 4-2 ATS as a home favorite in 2019. However, the Wildcats were 0-9 ATS as home ‘chalk’ in 2017 and ’18. With that said, UK has won outright in 12 of its last 16 games at Kroger Field.

-- Kentucky sophomore RB Kavosiey Smoke is out for the next 4-6 weeks with a broken rib. Smoke ran for 616 yards and six TDs while averaging 6.1 YPC in 2019. In UK’s first two games, he had run for 91 yards and one TD on just 12 carries (7.6 YPC). Fortunately for the ‘Cats, they have quality depth at RB with Asim Rose (148 rushing yards, one TD and a 6.7 YPC average) and Chris Rodriguez (146 yards, two TDs and a 5.6 YPC average).

-- After struggling with costly turnovers in a 29-13 loss at Auburn, Kentucky QB Terry Wilson was outstanding in last week’s 42-41 overtime loss to Ole Miss. Wilson completed 14-of-18 passes for 151 yards against the Rebels. He ran for 129 yards and three TDs on 22 attempts. For the season, Wilson has a team-high 171 rushing yards. He has 390 passing yards with a 1/1 TD-INT ratio. WR Josh Ali is his favorite target, hauling in 16 catches for 186 yards.

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