Vegas sharp breaks down Week 8 SEC games
SEC football resumes Saturday at noon ET as South Carolina hosts Furman. There are a total of six games with at least one conference member on the day.
Brian Edwards, a long-time Las Vegas handicapper with an emphasis on SEC football, will provide his thoughts and insights on the line moves throughout the 2014 season. Edwards, a University of Florida graduate, is a weekly radio guest in Las Vegas, Omaha and Memphis and makes regular appearances on Chad Millman’s betting podcast on ESPN.com.
Furman at South Carolina
Kickoff: Noon ET
Friday Line: South Carolina -38.5 (opened -39)
Edwards: “Furman has lost four in a row. Since 2009, South Carolina is 2-4 against the spread when laying 31 or more, and this is their biggest chalk spot since November 2011.”
The Play: Stay away.
Texas A&M at Alabama
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
Friday Line: Alabama -14 (opened -11.5)
Over/Under: 64 (opened 61.5)
Public: 60 percent Aggies
Edwards: “I know I’m guilty of it. I think a lot of people overvalued what seemed like an immensely impressive win at South Carolina. Kenny Hill’s started to show his youth a little bit the last couple of weeks. He burned me last week. I had A&M. I thought it was a great spot for them, but they just got smoked by Ole Miss. I’m done with A&M for the time being.
“The line move may be public money and sharp money, or just people being down on A&M. It was a vintage let-down spot for the Rebels and Ole Miss just destroyed them, which shows Ole Miss is very legitimate. I thought that anyway. But what a poor performance for A&M. I don’t like the game. If I had to pick it, I’d probably go ‘Bama.”
The Play: Stay away.
Georgia at Arkansas
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET
Friday Line: Georgia -3.5 (opened -3)
Over/Under: 55 (opened 58.5)
Public: 51 percent Razorbacks
Edwards: “Look, Arkansas is going to clip somebody here pretty soon. It may be tomorrow afternoon and it may not. A&M and Alabama were fortunate to get a ‘W.’ I made the number Georgia minus-6, so I think the number’s small. Arkansas is not a team to play against right now, but Georgia was the team of Week 7. I don’t know if any other team in America was as impressive as Georgia was last week. Nobody has completely shut down Maty Mauk and made him look lost. That’s a credit to Jeremy Pruitt, the defensive coordinator.
“I’m not going against Georgia after that monster performance against Missouri, but I’m not going against Arkansas either, because they’re going to beat somebody soon.
“Arkansas’ whole defense is just vastly improved. I thought they were going to have one of the best running games and I suspected Brandon Allen would probably be better because he had the shoulder injury last year. But it’s the defense that has been the big shocker. They’ve improved unexpectedly. They could easily be 5-1 and they’d be sitting pretty. This is a tough one for Georgia. I want absolutely nothing to do with this game betting-wise.”
The Play: Run away.
Tennessee at Ole Miss
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Friday Line: Ole Miss -16.5 (opened -17)
Over/Under: 46.5 (opened 46.5)
Public: 55 percent Vols
Edwards: “This Ole Miss defense is nasty. I made the number Ole Miss -17 and the total 49. I think it’s a pretty good number. I’m sure as hell not going against Ole Miss, but I don’t want to eat the chalk either. If we get the Tennessee we saw at Georgia, maybe they’ll hang around and cover. If we get the Tennessee offense they had against Florida, they might get bageled.
“Nothing on this one is getting me excited from a gambling perspective.”
The Play: Stay away.
Missouri at Florida
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Friday Line: Florida -6 (opened -5)
Over/Under: 47 (opened 49)
Public: 53 percent Tigers
Edwards: “When you lose a game like that last weekend, you have no idea where the morale of the team is. If Kentucky loses another game, Florida controls its destiny to win the SEC East. If Florida wins this game, the Gators go into the Georgia game literally controlling its destiny. Win out and you win the East. I’m not implying they’re going to win out, but they showed some life last week and somehow found a way to lose that game.
“Missouri looked awful last week, but they’ve been awesome on the road. They’re 23-9 against the spread on the road since 2007. They’re 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 as road underdogs, and Florida is only 7-12 against the spread as a home favorite under Will Muschamp. I think this is a field goal game. A nailbiter. As bad as Missouri looked last week, it’s not like Florida’s gotten a lot of separation against anybody in the SEC the last two years.
“If Muschamp loses this game, he’s gone. I don’t think he’ll be gone Monday morning, but he could be. He’s in big-time trouble if they lose Saturday.”
The Play: Missouri. Buy it to 6 if the line is 5.5.
Kentucky at LSU
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Friday Line: LSU -10.5 (opened -10)
Over/Under: 53 (opened 51)
Public: 70 percent Wildcats
Edwards: “I made it LSU minus-9.5. It’s not one of my top plays of the week, but I lean to Kentucky. The reason why they’re improved is they’re finally getting good quarterback play. Patrick Towles has a 10-to-4 TD/INT ratio. Jojo Kemp’s been outstanding. They’ve got multiple backs. Braylon Heard, the transfer from Nebraska, has been good. The defense has just been terrific, and that’s what Mark Stoops is all about. Other than the South Carolina game, they haven’t given up more than 20 points in regulation.
“I didn’t upgrade LSU based on what I saw from them last week. They were very fortunate to win that game. I won’t be shocked if they go in there and win outright. I don’t know what to think of this LSU team. They’ve got some talent, but they’ve got some issues and a lot of youth.
“It’ll be interesting to see how the season plays out for both of these teams. Kentucky is as good as they’ve been since Rich Brooks left, and LSU is potentially looking at more losses than ever under Les Miles. It’s off the national radar, but it’s a monster game for both programs.”
The Play: Lean to Kentucky.