SEC Coaching Changes Foster Betting Opportunities

jimbo fisher

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 1:56 PM GMT

Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2018 1:56 PM GMT

The SEC introduces five new head football coaches for the 2018 season, tying the conference record for most ever to begin a year.  If betting futures, don’t expect much change from last season. Here’s a look at how new hires fared in the win-loss department since 2005, and a couple of betting angles to consider.

Call it the Nick Saban Effect. SEC football programs are undergoing a host of leadership changes in recent years in an attempt to knock off perennial favorite Alabama. Since 2016, the conference has witnessed 10 coaching replacements, including five this season. One has to go back to 1946 and a post-WWII conference shakeup to uncover has many new hires. The changes this year include Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M), Dan Mullen (Florida), Joe Moorehead (Mississippi State), Chad Morris (Arkansas) and Jeremy Pruitt (Tennessee).

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Nick Saban made a dance video too.
It doesn't have a Mustang tho ...just another Trophyhttps://t.co/dnezRBc5b1 #RollTide

— LivingCrimson (@LivingCrimson) July 20, 2016
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There is guarded optimism among fans changes in leadership will achieve immediate success. Don’t expect a revolution right away. Since 2005, the win-loss difference from the prior season under a new administration averages just 2.4 games. Consider this if placing futures bets on win totals. Could the bottom drop out? Sure. In conference history, seven first-year coaches did not win a game, most recently Lou Holtz at South Carolina in 1999. For those dreaming of knocking off Alabama, Jim McElwain (Florida, 2015), Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M, 2012) and Les Miles (LSU, 2005) each accrued double-digit victories in their debut. In SEC history, 72 new coaches have recorded a better record then their predecessor, while 78 tallied a worse mark.

Below is a list of all the new SEC coaches since 2005, including their win-loss record compared to the previous season:

Season

School

Coach

Previous W/L Record

W/L Record

2017

LSU

Ed Orgeron

8-4

9-4

2017

Ole Miss

Matt Luke

5-7

6-6

2016

Georgia

Kirby Smart

10-3

8-5

2016

Missouri

Barry Odom

5-7

4-8

2016

South Carolina

Will Muschamp

3-9

6-7

2015

Florida

Jim McElwain

7-5

10-4

2014

Vanderbilt

Derek Mason

9-4

3-9

2013

Arkansas

Bret Bielema

4-8

3-9

2013

Auburn

Gus Malzahn

3-9

12-2

2013

Kentucky

Mark Stoops

2-10

2-10

2013

Tennessee

Butch Jones

5-7

5-7

2012

Arkansas

John L. Smith

11-2

4-8

2012

Ole Miss

Hugh Freeze

2-10

7-6

2012

Texas A&M

Kevin Sumlin

7-6

11-2

2011

Vanderbilt

James Franklin

2-10

6-7

2011

Florida

Will Muschamp

8-5

7-6

2010

Kentucky

Joker Phillips

7-6

6-6

2010

Tennessee

Derek Dooley

7-6

6-7

2010

Vanderbilt

Robbie Caldwell

2-10

2-10

2009

Auburn

Gene Chizik

5-7

8-5

2009

Mississippi St.

Dan Mullen

4-8

5-7

2009

Tennessee

Lane Kiffin

5-7

7-6

2008

Arkansas

Bobby Petrino

8-5

5-7

2008

Ole Miss

Houston Nutt

3-9

9-4

2007

Alabama

Nick Saban

6-7

7-6

2005

Florida

Urban Meyer

7-5

9-3

2005

LSU

Les Miles

9-3

11-2

2005

Ole Miss

Ed Orgeron

4-7

3-8

2005

South Carolina

Steve Spurrier

6-5

7-5

Betting Angles

Since 2005, the ‘over’ is 20-8-1 when new SEC coaches face a non-conference opponent sandwiched between two conference games. These are typically against softer Sun Belt or Conference USA foes, at home and late in October or November as a breather from the arduous SEC schedule already played. The average line in these contests is -19.2 points. A 61.4 final score surpasses a 56.8 average total by 4.6 points per game.

There are two justifications for this betting angle. Firstly, many teams use this week to “rest up” and focus on critical late-season conference clashes. One has to imagine there is little attention given to these matchups from a preparation standpoint. How well a coach performs in the division ultimately defines his or her season, and overlooking a walk-in-the-park type test may allow the underdog to score more points than anticipated. Eighteen of the 29 opponents have surpassed their projected team total in the betting market, for what it’s worth.

One can also make the case coaches may be looking to impress a homecoming crowd or run up the score to improve in power rankings. A convincing victory against any opponent is a positive for fans, voters, committee members, you name it, and takes a bit of pressure off new hires. This betting situation arises five times in 2018: Tulsa at Arkansas (Oct. 20), Charlotte at Tennessee (Nov. 3), Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State (Nov. 3), UAB at Texas A&M (Nov. 17), and Idaho at Florida (Nov. 17).

Our second angle involves passing offenses and betting game totals. Since 2005, the ‘over’ is 36-20-2 when a new SEC head coach kicks off a home favorite and his team posts more passing yards than its opponent going into the contest. It’s likely new leadership is reluctant to let its foot off the gas when it owns a passing advantage and the pressure is on to win at home in a game where they are expected to.

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