My 7 favorite bets from way-too-early marquee SEC game spreads
I don’t mean to be that guy. You know. The guy who can’t help but overreact to way-too-early lines and whatnot.
Who are we kidding. I’m that guy, and I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you’re that person, too.
You’ve come to the right place.
FanDuel Sportsbook gave us an early read on where the oddsmakers rank each SEC team.
Thanks to the online sportsbook, we now have 19 point spreads for some of the biggest games set to be played in the upcoming college football season, including 4 point spreads for opening weekend.
Instead of picking all 19 games, I focused on the 7 that I felt most confident about. For the most part, I’d say stay away from those November games because so much can happen over the course of the season that changes our outlook.
And obviously, that can apply to the summer, too. Guys transfer, guys get in trouble and guys get hurt.
Still, though. There’s a strong emphasis on early games. These are how I’d bet some of those way-too-early lines for SEC games:
Georgia vs. Clemson (-3) in Charlotte
The pick — Clemson -3
While I’m less and less worried about Georgia’s new-look secondary, I still think this is a brutal matchup out of the gate. D.J. Uiagalelei, with or without Justyn Ross, has plenty of weapons to make his early Heisman Trophy case. So does JT Daniels. The problem? He’s going against a Brent Venables defense that returns all but 1 starter. On top of that, the Tigers had an entire offseason to stew about how awful things ended against Ohio State. It could easily be a 1-score game, but if all I’m giving is 3, the Tigers should be able to take care of that and slow the Georgia hype train.
Ole Miss (-7) vs. Louisville in Atlanta
The pick — Ole Miss -7
I’m a Malik Cunningham believer. I’m a bigger Matt Corral believer. I’m also a bigger believer that Lane Kiffin’s team is going to be better in 2021 with so many offensive weapons back, as well as, dare I say, a defense that flirts with mediocrity. The latter feels like the key in this one. Cunningham can make some mistakes when he faces pressure, and given what Ole Miss returns in the secondary combined with Louisville’s top 2 wideouts off to the NFL, I like the odds of making 1-2 of those mistakes be the difference.
Auburn vs. LSU (-4)
The pick — LSU -4
I did a bit of a double-take when I saw this line. I know that Auburn smoked LSU last year, but I also know that one group of Tigers haven’t won in Baton Rouge this century. That’s the visiting Tigers. This sets up as the first real headliner in Death Valley in 2021, and assuming we’re getting full capacity crowds back, that’s bad news for Bo Nix. It’s no secret that Nix has been a vastly different quarterback on the road, where he averaged 5.7 yards per attempt and has a 9-10 touchdown-interception ratio. I’m trusting that in Death Valley, against the best cornerback duo in America in Derek Stingley and Eli Ricks, LSU should be able to win by at least a touchdown.
Texas (-4) vs. Arkansas
The pick — Arkansas +4
Bet on Texas to disappoint in a nonconference Power 5 game, rinse, repeat. Here’s a wild stat: From 2013-19, Texas lost at least 1 nonconference game every year. This is the list of teams that beat the Longhorns during that stretch:
- BYU (twice)
- Ole Miss
- Notre Dame
- Cal (twice)
- Maryland (twice)
That’s 11 nonconference losses in a 7-year stretch. For Texas. Keep in mind, that was with 3 different head coaches. Steve Sarkisian, as SEC fans know, might be wired a bit differently. He won the chess match with Barry Odom last season, albeit with vastly different talent for Sarkisian against what was then a decimated Arkansas squad. I’m banking on Odom’s defense, which returns all but 1 starter, to bounce back. Texas will be freshly removed from a tricky season opener against Billy Napier’s Louisiana squad, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see struggles against an improved Arkansas team. Give me the Hogs to cover +4.
Texas A&M (-13) vs. Colorado in Denver
The pick — Colorado +13
I had this theory last year that with so many moving pieces because of COVID, going to Colorado and playing in the altitude was brutal. At least early in the season before guys were in shape. The Buffs started off as a surprise 4-0 team. This game, which is being played in Denver, will be in Week 2. I don’t think A&M loses, but 13 points is a lot when this will essentially feel like a road game. I could see A&M struggling with cramping issues in Week 2, and this game is one of those “too close for comfort” results for Jimbo Fisher’s squad.
Alabama (-15) vs. Florida
The pick — Florida +15
This doesn’t really have much to do with last year’s result because these teams just lost a combined 18 players to the NFL Draft. This game could also be played in a full capacity crowd in The Swamp. With all due respect to the Gators’ opening week matchup against FAU, Alabama is the real first home game of the year. I’m not willing to say Florida’s revamped defense will totally stymie Bryce Young and that new-look Alabama offense, but man, 15 points? That’s a lot. Even if Florida has some figuring out of its own to do on the offensive side, I’d worry about Brenton Cox and Zachary Carter speeding Young up in that raucous atmosphere.
LSU vs. Alabama (-24)
The pick — LSU +24
Sure, let’s make 1 late-season exception here. I’ve got a stat that’ll blow you away. Since Nick Saban took over at Alabama, LSU is 3-4 in Tuscaloosa, and the Crimson Tide only have a 43-point advantage for an average margin of victory of 6.1 points. Now, it’s LSU that returns a ton of experience on both sides of the ball and it’s Alabama that is coming off a national title, albeit still with some key contributors and promising up-and-comers. Do I think that formula will yield Alabama’s most lopsided win vs. LSU in Tuscaloosa since Saban arrived? Nope. That current number is 21, by the way.
Even with how ugly last year was, I can’t imagine the Tigers getting demolished like that in consecutive years. Take 24 while you can get it.