Ole Miss seems on the verge of contending for something big, such as a division title. Bookmakers are offering some tempting futures odds on the Rebels for this season. But great expectations can be tough to play with.
2015 Ole Miss Betting Preview
The Rebels got within a good sniff of college football's Final 4 last season, but three losses in their last five games relegated them to a second-tier bowl, where they got blown out by an angry TCU squad. This season Ole Miss returns even more talent than it did last year, putting it in position for another run at something big. But they will have to come up with at least two victories over the Big Three of the SEC East. And that will be a tough task.
2014 in Review
Ole Miss began last season by winning its first seven games, beating Boise State, Alabama and Texas A&M along the way, reaching No. 3 in the polls, which had them right in the running for a spot in the college football championship playoff. But the Rebs then lost a very tough game at LSU, then fell at home to Auburn when talented WR Laquon Treadwell fumbled just shy of the goal line going in for what could have been the winning score, suffering a broken leg in the process. Ole Miss went erratic after that, getting blown out at Arkansas (out-gaining the Hogs by five yards but committing five turnovers), upsetting rival Mississippi State, which was ranked No. 4 at the time, in the Egg Bowl, but then getting roasted by the Horned Frogs in the Peach Bowl.
So the Rebs finished 9-4 overall last season, 5-3 in SEC play and 7-5 against the spreads.
Ole Miss is now 24-15 straight-up, 24-14-1 ATS in three seasons under head coach Hugh Freeze.
Also, the Rebs played 10 UNDERS last season, as their games averaged just 44 total points, thanks mainly to a very tough defense.
2015 Rebels Personnel
Ole Miss returns 16 starters this season, tied for third-most in the conference. Nine starters are back on offense, including three parts of one of the best receiving corps in the conference and all five along one of most experienced offensive lines in the country.
Defensively seven starters are back, including five on what should be one of the best front sevens in the nation.
Last year the Rebs averaged 419 yards per game on offense, while holding foes to just 329 YPG on defense. With its offensive line Ole Miss has a chance to improve on that first figure, and with the talent on D it should come close to repeating that second figure.
5Dimes is offering +16000 (160/1) on Treadwell winning the Heisman Trophy this season, and +20000 (200/1) on DE Robert Nkemdiche's Heisman chances.
This year the Rebs get four very winnable non-conference games against UT-Martin, Fresno State, New Mexico State and Memphis. From there they have to play at Alabama, at Florida, at Auburn and at Mississippi State, but get Texas A&M, Arkansas and LSU all at home. And they miss three of the top contenders out of the East Division in Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri.
Ole Miss should start 3-1; the trip to Tuscaloosa will be tough. Games at Gainesville and Starkville are both doable, but the trip to Auburn and home dates with the Razorbacks and Bayou Bengals could go either way. From afar we would say that with some good luck the Rebs could go 10-2; or they could go 7-5.
Betting the Rebs in 2015
If football games are won (and spreads covered) in the trenches, Ole Miss should be alright this season. They have a new quarterback that should step up quickly, and the Rebs could easily start 7-1. Pull an upset at Auburn and hold serve at home and Ole Miss could be on its way to a first-ever berth in the SEC championship game.
But if the Rebs new QB has a tough time, especially over the last third of the schedule, they might end up playing a bunch of low-scoring games.
As of early this week 5Dimes was offering Ole Miss at +510 to win the West Division, +850 to win the SEC championship, +975 to make the Final Four (which is about the same as winning this conference) and +5000 to win the national championship, with a wins OVER/UNDER of 8.5. The Rebels have a bunch of talent all over the place, but a question mark at quarterback. That's the only reason we're thinking UNDER on that wins total.