1. #1
    Hman
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    Best SEC College Football Bets 🏈

    Best SEC college football bets: The numbers our experts like

    ESPN PLUS ($ MATERIAL)


    Although the sports world is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, it doesn't mean we can't look ahead to a time when there is college football again.


    Caesars Sportsbook just released season win totals and conference title odds for every FBS team and below our experts -- Bill Connelly, David Hale, Doug Kezirian, Preston Johnson and Phil Steele -- give their best best bets for teams from the Southeastern Conference.


    SEC Championship best bets


    Auburn Tigers (6-1)

    Hale: For the first time in a long time, the SEC seems pretty wide open -- there's a case to be made for as many as seven teams to be in the mix. For the money, however, Auburn looks like the team to bet. All four losses last year were by 11 points or less, came to teams that finished in the top 10, and all that happened with a true freshman QB who really struggled to find his footing at times. With a year of experience under his belt, Bo Nix can showcase his upside in 2020, and while the path to an SEC title won't be easy, the potential payoff (+600) combined with the talent on the roster makes War Eagle a solid bet.




    Tennessee Volunteers (25-1)

    Connelly: Honestly, I expected to pounce on decent Florida odds -- I figured the Gators might end up overshadowed by Georgia a bit. Instead, Florida's odds are nearly even with Georgia's, and you have got to go a bit further down the list to find a standout. SP+ projects Tennessee to average 4.5 conference wins, 1.2 behind Georgia and 1.4 behind Florida. The Vols' chances of winning the East aren't amazing, but SEC title odds of +2500 equate to about a 3.8% chance of breaking even. That might be worth a swing; Kentucky at +5000 might be, too, to be honest.


    Steele: Tennessee opened last year just 2-5 but won its final six games and is now in Year 3 under Jeremy Pruitt. Not only do the Vols have momentum, but they also have a veteran squad with 17 returning starters. To win the SEC, a team must be in the SEC title game, and the Vols have a decent shot at winning the East. Tennessee hosts Georgia, Florida, and Kentucky, who are their three toughest divisional foes. The Vols are worth a shot at this price.



    Texas A&M Aggies (10-1)

    Steele: Last year, Texas A&M was 97th on my experience chart and faced one of the toughest schedules in the country. This year, the Aggies are a much more experienced team with a much more manageable schedule: Georgia and Clemson drop off and are replaced by Vanderbilt and Colorado. I consider Texas A&M to be Alabama's biggest threat in the West. The Aggies have to travel to Tuscaloosa, but so did LSU last year, and the Tigers pulled off the upset.

    Season win totals


    Ole Miss Rebels over 5.5 wins (-120)


    Johnson: I don't do the majority of my college football preparation until the summer, but with the state of the current sports landscape and Caesars putting up win totals already in April, I took an early look to see what initially jumped out. Ole Miss over 5.5 wins was first. I professed my love for freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee plenty last season. He took over in a game against Cal and led the Rebels on a near-fourth-quarter comeback. While Plumlee didn't see the entirety of the snaps going forward and traded series with Matt Corral, his speed devastated defenses to the tune of 1,023 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in just eight games splitting snaps (including 212 yards and four touchdowns against LSU).


    Plumlee doesn't have a great arm, but another year under his belt as the potential starter in Lane Kiffin's offense should show improvement. He's the fastest player on the field at all times, and I imagine Kiffin is chomping at the bit to utilize his versatility in a heavy RPO offense. I know that Kiffin's stint at USC was unsuccessful, but he has exceeded expectations since as the offensive coordinator at Alabama and the head coach at Florida Atlantic. A return to the SEC isn't worrisome despite the tough schedule, and I ultimately expect this season win total to be six or 6.5 by summertime.


    The 4-8 Rebels lost one-score games in 2019 to Memphis, Cal, Texas A&M, Auburn and Mississippi State, and the jump to six wins with Plumlee in Year 2 and Kiffin at the helm should be expected.


    Connelly: SP+ doesn't take coaching changes into account (and this is clearly a very strange time to be a first-year head coach), but the odds here are pretty overwhelming. At -120, that means that to pay off, there needs to be about a 55% chance of the Rebels hitting 6-plus wins; SP+ says there's a 75% chance. They'll likely be favored in games against SE Missouri State, UConn and Georgia Southern and trips to Vandy and Arkansas, and games against Baylor and Mississippi State are also quite winnable. There's not a ton of margin for error here, but I'm thinking Kiffin gets it done.



    Arkansas Razorbacks over 3.5 (-105)

    Johnson: This was the second win total that caught my eye. The Razorbacks have three very likely wins on their schedule with Nevada, Charleson Southern and UL-Monroe. The transfer of quarterback Feleipe Franks from Florida can only be a positive alongside new head coach Sam Pittman (he's been an assistant under Kirby Smart at Georgia the past four years). Can the Razorbacks find a way to win a conference game? We only need one, and they should have at least three legitimate opportunities. I envision four or more wins often enough compared to three or fewer to make the -105 price tag cheap.



    Mississippi State Bulldogs under 6.5

    Hale: The Bulldogs beat just three Power 5 teams last season, one of which was woeful Arkansas and another came only after a player mimicked a dog soiling the end zone. This was not a good team, which is why Joe Moorhead was looking for a way out before he was pushed out. Mike Leach's arrival has boosted expectations for 2020, but that's a bit unrealistic. For one, it's a massive change in terms of scheme (Mississippi State threw downfield more than all but five other Power 5 teams; Washington State was dead last). And while the job in Starkville isn't quite what it was when Leach took over in Pullman, it's worth remembering it took him five years to top six wins there.



    Steele: The past three years, Mississippi State has been a run-oriented attack, rushing on 63% of their total offensive plays. Washington State is at the other end of the spectrum, as last year, the Cougars threw the ball 77% of the time. Generally, when a team makes a drastic scheme change on offense, it is a two-to-three-year process. When Mike Leach took over at Washington State, his team didn't top six wins until his fourth year. I have the Bulldogs an underdog in seven games this season.



    Vanderbilt Commodores over 3

    Hale: Let's be clear: Vandy is not good. But three wins? Mercer, Colorado State and Louisiana Tech provide three opponents in which the 'Dores should have more talent. And while talent is, of course, a problem in SEC play, there was some bad luck involved, too. Vandy ranked 115th in FBS in inside 40 scoring, 118th in red zone TD rate and 122nd in goal-to-go TD rate, while enduring the second-biggest negative swing in point-off-turnover margin from 2018 to 2019. Those numbers all tend to regress to the mean the following year, which could mean Vandy doesn't need to be drastically improved to get to four or five wins.



    Auburn Tigers under 8.5 (+170)

    Connelly: Each year, Gus Malzahn and Auburn field a top-10 or top-15 level team, then face a schedule against which a very good team would go about 8-4. This year is no exception: the Tigers are projected 11th overall in SP+ with the third-best defense in the country. They also face Alabama and Georgia on the road, LSU and Texas A&M at home and maybe the best North Carolina team in decades on a neutral field. The result: an average of just 8.3 wins with a 56% chance of hitting the under. The under comes in at +170, or a break-even point of 37%. That's pretty good value.



    Missouri Tigers over 5.5

    Kezirian: Missouri isn't a very good team but the schedule presents a nice opportunity for a strong start and winnable games throughout the season. In September, the Tigers host Central Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Eastern Michigan, while also traveling to South Carolina. Given the Gamecocks also have a win total of 5.5, Mizzou could win in the Palmetto State. The Tigers host Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas, while visiting Tennessee and Mississippi State. Those are all solid opportunities for bowl-eligibility.


    Eli Drinkwitz leaves Appalachian State after one successful 13-1 season and replaces the fired Barry Odom. Mizzou might experience some growing pains with a new offense, new quarterback and limited practice time, given the coronavirus pandemic. However, if the NCAA plays a full season, I am optimistic Drinkwitz can prepare his team in time to capitalize on that advantageous September schedule.



    Tennessee Volunteers over 7.5


    Kezirian: It won't be pretty and it will likely involve a huge sweat, but I do think the Vols win eight games. Tennessee has four tough games: at Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama and at Georgia. If they fail to win one of those, I still believe Tennessee can sweep the other eight because the schedule is so weak. Those opponents include Charlotte, Furman, Troy and Vanderbilt. I also think they can handle Missouri, South Carolina, Arkansas and Kentucky. The Wildcats are likely the toughest opponent of that bunch, but the Vols get them in Knoxville.


    As for the product, Tennessee closed the 2019 season with six straight wins, and Pruitt should be able to ride that momentum into 2020. Even without any spring ball, Pruitt needs to choose Jarrett Guarantano or Brian Maurer as his starting quarterback. I also expect him to make an in-season change and for the position to provide some headaches; Maryland transfer Kasim Hill or a couple of others could even surface. Even with all that, I still believe in Rocky Top, and there's a chance they upset one of those four tough opponents to make this play relatively sweat-free.



    Kentucky Wildcats over 7

    Steele: Mark Stoops is doing a great job, and last season in a rebuilding year with only eight returning starters, he still got the Wildcats to an 8-5 record. This year Kentucky, returns 15 starters and has a manageable schedule. I have the Wildcats favored in eight games this year, and Kentucky has pulled off 11 upsets in each of the past four years.

  2. #2
    Hman
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    Hopefully it happens

  3. #3
    carolinakid
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    we can only hope now if the season will even happen.1st we got to get back to a normal lifestyle

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    Hman
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolinakid View Post
    .1st we got to get back to a normal lifestyle
    Yes that's the #1 goal

  5. #5
    BadNina
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    1. The whole Auburn write up made me laugh. Auburn's strength last year was a senior/junion Oline and defense. They don't have those. And last I heard Boobie had entered the transfer portal. Last year during the NFL draft, the commentators (more than 1 and more than once) made the comment that Auburn is one of the worst coached college teams because their staff does not coach them up. I think that lack of experience is gonna bite them this year.

    2. The Egg Bowl is one game I can't wait to watch!!! Kiffin and Leach. Leach has lost a couple of players during this social distancing time. Ole Miss is gonna surprise some people.

    3. I hate Kirby Smart. So...go whoever wants to beat them. Feel free to score a lot on punt returns.

    4. I hope South Carolina has a good year because I like Will. I hope Tennessee looks better, as long as they continue to lose to Bama.

    5. Why do we still have Vandy?

    6. I think LSU is going to find out that Bama made losing players and coaches look easy. They will still be a good team but reloading is harder to do than they seem to think it is.

    7. Everything was fine in the world until a) Popeye's went after God's chicken sandwich and LSU won the national championship. Both from Louisiana and all that voodoo.

  6. #6
    gojetsgomoxies
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    some of those picks seem bizarre...........

    tennessee has to go 8-0 in favored games to hit that over (as the author himself mentions).. not even sure they'd be favored in all 8 of those games....... the other 4 games are very tough.

    the SEC champion picks are bizarre too...... odds don't seem that long and none of the picks are alabama, auburn, georgia......... i think lsu, auburn, alabama each play one east rival every year. florida/georgia/tennessee. auburn playing georgia puts them behind the sec west 8-ball very quickly.

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