With half of the top 14 teams in the latest AP poll, SEC teams have to be playing with inflated odds, right? Join us as we look at some opening numbers for Week 4.
It was one of the biggest games on the college football betting card last week, and it certainly didn't go the way Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs had hoped. It did, however go my way after taking the points and South Carolina Gamecocks to upset the Bulldogs. Georgia had been ranked No. 6 in both polls, and receiving a 1st-place vote from both the writers and coaches before dropping a 38-35 decision in a wild one at Columbia.
Georgia closed as 6.5 point road chalk in Week 3, and while the Bulldogs were able to run the ball effectively behind Todd Gurley once again, they couldn't stop the Gamecocks who rolled up nearly 450 yards of offense, or take advantage of a late Dylan Thompson pick. The defeat slid Richt's outfit down to 13-14 in the two polls, and Georgia now comes home to begin a 3-week homestand against the Troy Trojans.
The noon (ET) kickoff at Sanford Stadium will be broadcast by the SEC Network, and the Bulldogs opened -37.5 before that spread quickly shot up to 39 at most sports books monitored by SBR's live college football odds.
Even with the early jump in the spread, these odds are not inflated since Richt and the Bulldogs should be able to name their score against a winless Troy team that is allowing 40 PPG and ranks near the bottom of the country in run defense (233.67 ypg). But with the conference schedule beginning in earnest after this tilt, how long will Richt let his starters go?
I'm guessing long enough, and even when he does call on 2nd- and 3rd-teamers, Georgia should be able to cover up to 45 points. The inflation so far is on Troy.
Aggies Defense Shows Chinks As Rice Controls Clock
For the second consecutive year, the Rice Owls outgained the Texas A&M Aggies and came away with a cover at Kyle Field this past Saturday. We expected the Owls to stay inside the 31 point spread, but A&M's 38-10 triumph was nowhere near the total that dipped to 69 by the closing bell.
The reason for both outcomes was that the Owls simply didn't let the Aggies stay on the field enough to generate points. Rice obviously had trouble putting points on the board as well, but did show us that Texas A&M still has plenty of room for improvement on defense.
Texas A&M will take on a second consecutive former Southwest Conference foe with a trek up to Dallas to meet the SMU Mustangs on Saturday (3:30 PM ET). There will be regional coverage of the clash on ABC and ESPN2, and the Aggies are dragging a very similar 31 point spread up to Big D looking for their 4th-straight blowout win over the Ponies in as many years.
Let's face it, this is a very bad SMU team that is in disarray after June Jones abruptly left after an embarrassing loss to North Texas. The Mustangs have had an extra week to try and regroup under Tom Mason, but unless they brought in some offensive linemen, it's going to be the same story this week when even an Aggies front 7 will look good. Kevin Sumlin has a return trip to D-FW next week for an SEC clash with Arkansas, but A&M backups will still be enough to corral the Ponies and cash for our college football picks. The inflation is once again on the underdog; sell SMU up to 50 points.
Tigers In Final Tune-Up Before SEC Slate
The Missouri Tigers aren't one of the seven SEC teams in the top 14 of the AP poll, but they're not far behind after throttling Central Florida as 10 point favorites last week. Gary Pinkel's troops started slow before controlling the second half in the 38-10 decision, and the Tigers now turn their attention to the Indiana Hoosiers who visit Faurot Field this week.
Missouri opened as a 16 point favorite for the contest, that spread pushed up to 17 almost immediately for the 4 PM (ET) boot that will be carried by the SEC Network.
The Tigers should be tested a little more on defense than they were against the Knights as the Hoosiers bring an offense in that can move the chains averaging 574 yards per game. In this case, yes, the 17 point spread on Missouri is inflated, in part by their performance last week along with Indiana's loss on the road at Bowling Green. I'm looking for the Hoosiers to keep this one within 14 points, especially with Mizzou having South Carolina and Georgia on deck.