Oct 23, 2020
SEC Betting Notebook - Week 8
Editor's Note: Be sure to cash College Football Week 8 winners from Brian Edwards on VegasInsider.com. Click to win!
After Alabama stormed past Georgia to a 41-24 win last Saturday night, the Crimson Tide moved to a -400 ‘chalk’ to win the SEC Championship Game at most books.
UGA has the next-shortest odds at +500, followed by Florida (+800) and Texas A&M (20/1 or +2000).
2020 SEC Championship Odds
- Alabama -400
- Georgia +500
- Florida +800
- Texas A&M +2000
- Kentucky +5000
- Arkansas +20000
- Auburn +20000
- Tennessee +20000
- Missouri +25000
- South Carolina +25000
Odds Subject to Change - per FanDuel
UF’s football facilities have been closed for more than a week now due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the team and the coaching staff, including a positive result for head coach Dan Mullen. The Gators caught a break with the SEC moving the LSU game from last Saturday to Dec. 12. Then with some other scheduling re-arrangements, this week’s game vs. Missouri was pushed back to next Saturday.
UF hopes to be able to open the facility and practice on Monday, but that’ll depend on testing results in the coming days. If Florida can have 53 scholarship players ready for Missouri on Oct. 31 at The Swamp (and those 53 include Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts), I think UF will beat the Tigers at home.
The question then becomes how much the virus and the time off has impacted the players’ rhythm, strength and conditioning with a date vs. Georgia on deck for Nov. 7.
If Appalachian State’s performance last night – it beat Arkansas State 45-17 after not playing for 26 days and going 17 days without a practice until Monday – is any indicator, the Gators should be fine.
And maybe – just maybe – Florida will be better off in the long run from getting this outbreak over with in October. (There are your glass half-FULL thoughts from me today.)
As for glasses half-empty or just downright empty, what a meltdown from the Tennessee football team and its fan base – check out the Garza Law Firm Fifth Quarter Postgame Show hosted by my buddy, Tony Basilio (@tonybasilio on Twitter), after any loss by the Volunteers for next-level comedy – after last week’s 34-7 home loss to Kentucky.
Here’s a stat for you: Tennessee hadn’t lost to Kentucky by 27 points since……1893! The Wildcats hadn’t won at Neyland Stadium since 1984, snapping a 17-game losing streak in Knoxville with that pimpslap last week.
Let’s get to the Week 8 games…
Week 8 SEC Analysis
Auburn at Ole Miss
- Odds: Auburn -3, Total 70.5
- TV-Time: SEC, 12:00 p.m.
- Venue: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
- Location: Oxford, MS
-- As of early Friday afternoon, most betting shops had Auburn (2-2 straight up, 1-3 ATS) installed as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 71.5. The ‘over/under’ moved up a point from 70.5 on Thursday afternoon. The Rebels were +145 on the money line.
-- Auburn won its season opener over Kentucky 29-13 as a 6.5-point home favorite, but it got smashed 27-6 at Georgia the following week. Then on Oct. 10 at home, the Tigers were extremely fortunate to get the benefit of a controversial call that allowed them to edge Arkansas 30-28 on a last-second field goal. However, after losing 30-22 at South Carolina last weekend, it appears that Gus Malzahn’s annual plank walk in terms of his job security has started once again.
-- Making last week’s defeat even worse was the fact that Auburn had healthy advantages over the Gamecocks in both first downs (27-20) and total offense (481-297). Three turnovers and nine penalties for 89 yards were the difference in the game, though. AU sophomore QB Bo Nix was intercepted three times and couldn’t even get a pass off into the end zone on a snap taken in the red zone on the game’s final play. Nix and his best WR, Seth Williams, were also caught by TV cameras arguing on the sidelines during the second half.
-- Nix completed 24-of-47 throws at South Carolina for 272 yards and one TD. He made some plays with his legs, producing 69 rushing yards on 15 attempts. Williams had four catches for 74 yards, while Eli Stove returned to the field after a two-game absence to grab seven balls for 60 yards and one TD. Anthony Schwartz had six receptions for 59 yards.
-- One bright spot for Auburn last week was the play of RB Tank Bigsby, the appropriately named true freshman who bullied his way to 111 rushing yards and one TD on 16 carries.
-- Nix is officially in a proverbial sophomore slump. He has connected on just 78-of-142 passes (54.9%) for 869 yards with a 5/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has 141 rushing yards and one TD.
-- Williams has 16 receptions for 290 yards and two TDs, while Schwartz has 27 catches for 256 yards and one TD. Despite missing a pair of games, Stove has 11 grabs for 115 yards and two TDs. Bigsby has 303 rushing yards and one TD on 50 totes for a 6.1 yards-per-carry average. Malzahn and offensive coordinator Chad Morris (who in my opinion was an awful hire by Gus!) need to feed the rock to Bigsby early and often. If Bigsby gets 25 carries, I think Auburn wins (to be clear, though, this game is a pass for me, as I’ll be looking for in-game or halftime options on a potential play).
-- Auburn is averaging a meager 21.8 points per game, ranking No. 64 out of 77 FBS teams that have been playing to date (prior to the Big Ten starting Friday in Week 8).
-- Auburn is 9-7-1 ATS in 17 games as a road favorite on Malzahn’s watch. Meanwhile, Ole Miss is mired in a 2-8 ATS slide in its past 10 spots as a home underdog.
-- Ole Miss (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) opened the season with a 51-35 home loss to Florida as a 14-point home underdog. Then on Oct. 3, the Rebels picked up their first win of the Lane Kiffin Era by beating Kentucky 42-41 in overtime as 6.5-point road underdogs. There were six ties and Kiffin’s bunch held three separate seven-point leads in a 63-48 loss vs. Alabama. Furthermore, the Crimson Tide didn’t take its first two-possession lead of the game until less than four minutes were remaining in the final stanza, and the Rebels comfortably covered the spread as 23.5-point home underdogs.
-- After an outstanding effort vs. ‘Bama, Ole Miss was in a bit of a letdown scenario (and without a few players who tested positive for COVID) last week at Arkansas. Third-year sophomore QB Matt Corral was playing like one of the top-10 signal callers in the country in the first three games, but he laid a serious egg in Fayetteville. Corral was intercepted six times, including a pair of pick-sixes, in the 33-21 loss in a pick ‘em affair. (Ole Miss was favored by 2.5 or three early in the week, moved to 1.5 at some books on Thursday or Friday and dropped to pick ‘em on game day.)
-- Trailing 20-0 at intermission, Ole Miss finally got on the board with a seven-yard TD pass from Corral to junior WR Elijah Moore. Then with 12:06 remaining, the Rebels pulled to within 20-14 on a 21-yard scoring strike from Corral to WR Jonathan Mingo. After the Razorbacks answered with a TD, Ole Miss RB Jerrion Ealy scored on a one-yard TD run with 5:30 left. Ealy’s TD run was set up by a fake punt that busted for a big play on fourth-and-10 from Ole Miss territory. The Rebels got the ball back down 26-21 with more than three minutes remaining, and they had a shot at stealing a victory. However, Arkansas senior LB Grant Morgan intercepted Corral and returned the pick 23 yards for a game-sealing TD.
-- Corral committed a total of seven turnovers with one fumble, too. He completed 20-of-38 throws for 200 yards. Ealy had 112 rushing yards and one TD on 23 totes, while Moore had 11 receptions for 113 yards and one TD.
-- For the season, Corral has connected on 69.0 percent of his passes for 1,280 yards with an 11/7 TD-INT ratio. Moore has 42 catches for 575 yards and two TDs, while TE Kenny Yeboah has 15 receptions for 355 yards and four TDs. Ealy has run for a team-high 355 yards and five TDs with a 5.2 YPC average. Snoop Conner had 219 rushing yards and four TDs, averaging 4.2 YPC.
-- The ‘over’ hit in the Rebels’ first three games before last week’s 54 combined points dipped way ‘under’ the 78-point tally.
-- The ‘under’ is 3-1 overall for Auburn, 2-0 in a pair of road assignments. This is Auburn’s highest total by 17 points. The Tigers’ previous totals have been 46, 44.5, 46.5 and 53.5.
-- Auburn has won four in a row in this rivalry by scores of 40-29, 44-23, 31-16 and 20-14, but the Rebels have taken the cash in two of the last three encounters.
Week 8 College Football Video Bets
Alabama at Tennessee
- Odds: Alabama -21.5, Total 65
- TV-Time: CBS, 3:30 p.m.
- Venue: Neyland Stadium
- Location: Knoxville, TN
-- Tennessee won its first two games at South Carolina (31-27) and vs. Missouri (35-12) ahead of a showdown at Georgia in Athens. The Volunteers had a great goal-line stand to end the first half and took a 21-17 lead into intermission against the Bulldogs. However, Kirby Smart’s team outscored UT 27-0 in the final 30 minutes en route to a 44-21 win as a 12-point home favorite.
-- Then as a 6.5-point home favorite last week vs. Kentucky, the Wildcats ended a 17-game losing streak in Knoxville by beating UT 34-7 thanks to a pair of pick-sixes in the first half. Senior QB Jarrett Guarantano completed 14-of-21 throws for only 88 yards and the two interceptions for TDs to the opponent. RB Eric Gray was the only bright spot for the Vols, rushing for 128 yards on 24 carries. Ty Chandler had 51 rushing yards and one TD on 12 attempts.
-- In the span of six quarters, UT went from enjoying an eight-game winning streak and a four-point lead at Georgia to right back where the Vols were after a season-opening loss to Georgia State (38-30) at home as 26-point favorites last year. Remember how quickly things went South on Butch Jones in Rocky Top in 2017 after back-to-back 9-4 campaigns? Pruitt could be in a similar boat soon because, as previously noted in my reference to Tony Basilio’s postgame show (which I listened to for more than an hour last week), the natives are calling for his job already.
-- The Vols are 3-4 ATS in seven games as home underdogs on Pruitt’s watch, but they’re an abysmal 8-15 ATS in 23 such spots since 2010.
-- As of early Friday afternoon, most betting shops had Alabama (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) listed as a 21.5-point favorite with a total of 65.5. If you like the Crimson Tide, you’d better get on it quickly because the guess here is that this number will close around -24. The Tide is favored by 12.5 for first-half bets. That’s a play I endorse. In fact, if the first-quarter line is ‘Bama -7 or fewer (I haven’t seen a first-quarter number yet), I also encourage backing the Tide in the opening stanza. With that said, I’m a little concerned that the backdoor could be open for the Vols in the second half. Pruitt was a long-time assistant for Nick Saban at Alabama. I could see a scenario – much like its opener vs. Missouri when the Tigers posted a backdoor cover when the Tide’s backups let a 35-3 third-quarter lead turn into a 38-19 final score – where Saban removes star players like Mac Jones, Jaylen Waddle and Najee Harris in the third quarter. If that happens, Alabama’s offense could stall out and its defense is hit or miss so far this year.
-- Saban’s team rallied from a 24-20 halftime deficit to knock off previously-unbeaten Georgia 41-24 as a six-point home ‘chalk.’ The 65 combined points soared ‘over’ the 57-point total. Jones led the way by connecting on 24-of-32 passes for 417 yards and four TDs compared to only one interception. Najee Harris ran for 152 yards and one TD on 31 carries, while DeVonta Smith had 11 catches for 167 yards and two TDs. Jaylen Waddle added six receptions for 161 yards and one TD.
-- Alabama is second in the nation in passing yards and second in scoring with its 48.5 points-per-game average. Jones has completed 78.3 percent of his throws for 1,518 yards with a 12/2 TD-INT ratio. Harris has 499 rushing yards, 11 TDs and a 6.0 YPC average. Waddle has 25 catches for 557 yards and four TDs, while Smith has 38 catches for 483 yards and four TDs. John Metchie has caught 14 balls for 348 yards and three TDs, averaging 24.9 yards per reception.
-- From 1995-2006, Tennessee won 10 of 12 head-to-head meetings against Alabama. However, the Tide has now won 13 games in a row over the Vols, with 11 of those 13 wins coming by margins of 14 points or more. With that said, UT did cover in Tuscaloosa last year in a 35-13 loss as a 34.5-point underdog.
-- Totals have been an overall was (2-2) for UT, but the ‘under’ is 2-0 in its home games.
-- The ‘over’ is 4-0 for Alabama with its combined scores finishing at 57, 76, 111 and 65 points.
Kentucky at Missouri
- Odds: Kentucky -5.5, Total 47
- TV-Time: SEC, 4:00 p.m.
- Venue: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium
- Location: Columbia, MO
-- Kentucky (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) has bounced back from a pair of heartbreakers to hand out back-to-back beatdowns to pull even on the season. The season started with a 29-13 loss at Auburn that was an extremely misleading final. Then the Wildcats lost 42-41 in overtime to Ole Miss as 6.5-point home favorites when they missed a PAT after scoring a TD in OT.
-- However, playing at Neyland Stadium last week, a venue where Kentucky had lost 17 games in a row and had not tasted victory at since 1984 when Jerry Claiborne roamed the sidelines for the Wildcats, Mark Stoops’s team handed out woodshed treatment in the form of a 34-7 seal clubbing. Stoops did what Bill Curry, Hal Mumme, Guy Morriss, Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips could never do.
-- When your defense hands you a 14-0 lead on pick-sixes in back-to-back possessions, it isn’t difficult to polish off the opponent when you play sound football. Yes, UK did cough up one fumble for its lone turnover of the day, but it committed only one penalty for 10 yards over the course of 60 minutes. Kentucky finished +3 in turnover margin.
-- UK senior QB Terry Wilson completed 12-of-15 passes for 101 yards and one TD without an interception. He also ran for 32 yards on eight attempts. Chris Rodriguez ran for 73 yards on 13 carries, and his two-yard TD run with 10:54 remaining put the icing on the cake. The defense was the story for the ‘Cats, though. Junior LB Jamin Davis had 12 tackles and an 85-yard interception for a TD. Sophomore CB Kelvin Joseph, a transfer from LSU, had the other pick-six on a 41-yard return to open the scoring for the ‘Cats, who also got six tackles and one sack out of Jamar Watson. Watson, the fourth-year junior OLB who goes by ‘Boogie,’ has a team-best three sacks after recording seven QB hurries, 6.5 sacks and five TFL’s in 2019. Watson had produced 16 tackles, four QB hurries, one interception and 0.5 TFL’s in four games.
-- Davis is UK’s leading tackler with 35 stops, two interceptions and one sack. Senior nose guard Quinton Bohanna doesn’t put up huge numbers, but the 6-foot-4, 350-pound space eater occupies multiple blockers on each play and was a second-team All-SEC selection in Phil Steele’s preseason magazine. Bohanna is listed as ‘questionable’ at Mizzou due to a leg injury sustained at UT. He has tallied five tackles, one TFL, two QB hurries and one PBU in four games.
-- Wilson has completed 58-of-90 passes (64.4%) for 564 yards with a 3/1 TD-INT ratio. He also has 253 rushing yards, three TDs and a 4.5 YPC average. Rodriguez has run for a team-best 257 yards and four TDs while averaging 5.6 YPC. A.J. Rose has 192 rushing yards, one TD and a 4.8 YPC average, while Josh Ali has 22 receptions for 246 yards.
-- As of Wednesday morning, most spots had Kentucky installed as a 5.5-point road favorite, but the number was down to -4.5 by Friday afternoon. The Tigers were +170 on the money line.
-- UK is 2-2 in four games as a road favorite during Stoops’s eight-year tenure.
-- Missouri (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS) is off a huge win over LSU two weeks ago. The Tigers won a 45-41 decision over the defending national champs as 14-point home underdogs. It was a game that was moved from Baton Rouge to Columbia due to Hurricane Delta that was forecasted to hit the Bayou hard that weekend. Eli Drinkwitz picked up his first victory as Mizzou’s new head coach thanks to one of the best goal-line stands in program history. LSU advanced to Missouri 1 and had a first-and-goal opportunity with less than a minute left. However, after a pair of running plays were stuffed, LSU QB Myles Brennan threw incomplete twice to turn the ball over on downs with 16 ticks left.
-- In his first career start, Missouri redshirt freshman QB Conner Bazelak had to face LSU without three of his top-five WRs. It didn’t matter, as Bazelak completed 29-of-34 passes for 406 yards and four TDs without an interception. Sophomore WR Tauskie Dove caught six balls for 83 yards and one TD, while D’ionte Smith had six receptions for 54 yards. Jalen Knox added five catches for 56 yards. Senior RB Larry Rountree had 119 rushing yards on 18 carries, while Tyler Badie had 39 rushing yards and one TD on five totes, in addition to making three catches for 28 yards and one TD.
-- Roundtree has run for 270 yards and one TD on 50 carries for a 5.4 YPC average. Knox had a team-best 14 receptions for 156 yards, while Badie has caught six balls for 126 yards and two TDs. The junior RB also has 69 rushing yards, one TD and a 4.6 YPC average. Knox also has 42 rushing yards and one TD on six attempts.
-- Bazelak has connected on 49-of-69 throws (71.0%) for 692 yards with a 4/1 TD-INT ratio. He also has a rushing TD.
-- Mizzou has seen seven players opt out of the season. Five others are ‘questionable’ vs. UK after testing positive for COVID a few weeks ago. The Tigers saw their game at Florida last week postponed to next Saturday after the Gators were crippled by positive COVID tests.
-- Kentucky has won five games in a row in this rivalry, including a 15-14 win in Columbia two years ago as a 7.5-point road underdog thanks to Wilson two-yard TD pass to C.J. Conrad as time expired. When these teams met in Lexington last season, UK won 29-7 as a 10-point home underdog in a driving rainstorm.
-- The ‘under’ is 3-1 overall for the ‘Cats, going 2-0 in their road assignments.
-- The ‘over’ is 2-1 overall for the Tigers, 2-0 in their home games. They’ve had combined scores of 57, 47, and 86 points.
South Carolina at LSU
- Odds: LSU -6, Total 55.5
- TV-Time: ESPN, 7:00 p.m.
- Venue: Tiger Stadium
- Location: Baton Rouge, LA
-- As of Friday afternoon, most spots had LSU (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) listed as a six-point home favorite with a total of 55. The Gamecocks were +185 on the money line.
-- LSU starting QB Myles Brennan is ‘out,’ so true freshman TJ Finley will get his first career start. The Tigers have had two weeks to prepare after their game at Florida was postponed last week.
-- LSU lost at home to Mississippi State (44-34) in its opener, but Ed Orgeron’s club bounced back to win 41-7 at Vanderbilt on Oct. 3. RB John Emery led the way with 103 rushing yards and one TD on just 12 attempts. Brennan threw for 337 yards and four TDs, while Terrace Marshall had a pair of catches for 67 yards and two TDs.
-- On Oct. 10, LSU had its home game vs. Missouri moved to Columbia due to Hurricane Delta bearing down on the Bayou. The change of venue moved the Tigers from 20.5-point home favorites to 14-point road ‘chalk.’ Despite having a first-and-goal opportunity at the Missouri 2 in the final minute, LSU failed to score on four straight plays (two running, two passing) and lost a 45-41 decision.
-- The LSU secondary gave up 406 passing yards and 586 yards of total offense. Missouri won the game despite being -3 in turnover margin after coughing up three fumbles.
-- Brennan was injured in the second half but gutted out the rest of the game. He finished with 430 passing yards and four TDs without an interception. Marshall enjoyed a monster performance, hauling in 11 receptions for 235 yards and three TDs. True freshman TE Arik Gilbert, who was a five-star recruit, had six catches for 97 yards and one TD.
-- South Carolina is 8-2 ATS in 10 games as a road underdog since 2017.
-- After losing a close game vs. Tennessee (31-27) and falling at Florida (38-24), South Carolina (2-2 SU, 3-0-1 ATS) is looking for its third consecutive victory Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Will Muschamp’s team mauled Vandy by a 41-7 count two weeks before beating Auburn 30-22 as a three-point home underdog last Saturday.
-- South Carolina’s victory over Auburn was even more impressive in that it happened without the team’s best player, junior CB Israel Mukuamu, a second-team All-SEC choice last year when he famously intercepted Jake Fromm three times in an upset win at Georgia. Mukuamu has been dealing with a groin injury, but he’s practiced this week and “is ready to go,” according to Muschamp.
-- Jaycee Horn stole the show for USC with a pair of interceptions last week vs. Auburn. Kier Thomas was a big factor, too, with eight tackles and two sacks. Kevin Harris rushed for 83 workmanlike yards and two TDs on 25 attempts, while Shi Smith had eight catches for 76 yards and one TD.
-- Harris, who is a true sophomore that throws stiff arms with bad intentions, has 409 rushing yards, six TDs and a 5.0 YPC average. Smith has 34 receptions for 347 yards and three TDs. QB Collin Hill will have a new option other than Smith this week, as FCS transfer WR Jalen Brooks, a 6-foot-3 target who transferred from Wingate University, has been cleared to play by the NCAA. Brooks was expected to star at WR in the opener vs. UT, only to get his waiver denied, but USC won the appeal that’ll have Brooks in uniform Saturday night.
-- Hill has completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 842 yards with a 4/2 TD-INT ratio. He’s also added four rushing TDs.
-- South Carolina is 2-18-1 SU in its all-time series with LSU, which hasn’t lost to the Gamecocks since 1994.
-- The 'over' is 3-1 overall for the Gamecocks, 2-0 in their road assignments.
-- The 'over' is 2-1 for LSU, 1-0 in its lone home contest.