It’s a weird time in the sports world as even Las Vegas has pretty much closed shop in every casino, but that doesn’t mean the bookmakers have stopped working. In a lot of ways, the college football season never truly sleeps and the good folks over at Caesars have given something very juicy to chew on with brand new season over/under totals.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) April 6, 2020
Every conference has been released, but today we’ll focus on the SEC and just how Vegas handicaps the season going for every team. To no one’s surprise, Alabama opens as the head honcho with a 10.5 number, but the battle for who plays them in Atlanta seems to be down to two teams.
It’s no surprise to see Georgia at 10, but Florida at the same number is a little bit surprising. When you look closer, Vegas has placed the juice (have to risk $135 to win $100) on Florida’s over while the juice is on Georgia’s under. That means they are trying to limit the amount of bets on Florida’s over and Georgia’s under. At this point, it’s becoming pretty apparent that the Gators will be the preseason pick to win the SEC East despite Dan Mullen owning an 0-3 head-to-head record against Kirby Smart with an average margin of defeat at 18 points.
Over in the West, reigning SEC and national champion LSU is at 9 following a major talent exodus with juice on the under. Texas A&M is just above at 9.5 and that is mainly due to their schedule. It’s a major prove it season in year three for Jimbo Fisher.
In year eight under Mark Stoops, Kentucky opens at 7 and I believe that is their highest number of his tenure. It is important to remember that this total should be close to the number of games you are projected to be favorite in and Kentucky’s is pretty close to that. Using SP+’s preseason projections and giving out 2.5 points for home field, the Wildcats should be favored in eight games so that gives you some wiggle room when playing the over. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see the juice leaning towards that over, but once again it feels like one of the better value plays on the board.
To no one’s surprise, Vanderbilt comes in at the rear with only three projected wins in what will likely be Derek Mason’s final season on the West End. In a huge season for Will Muschamp, the Gamecocks check in at 5.5 and that definitely won’t be enough to save his job. In their first seasons, Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss sit at 5.5 while Mike Leach and Mississippi State are a smidge higher at 6.5. Tennessee will be labeled as an SEC East darkhorse and consensus top 25 team this summer, but Vegas views them eerily similar to Kentucky. The Vols likely only get the edge because this year’s meeting takes place in Neyland Stadium.
We will discuss these in much more detail on the future episodes of 11 Personnel, but as of right now what is your favorite bet going into a football season that will hopefully be played?