After the Supreme Court’s recent ruling allowing states to determine the legality of sports betting, it’s something of a brave new world for gambling. Here at SDS, we’ve always been ready to drop some predictions and some wild long-shot ideas. The difference is that soon, you can gamble on them. So in honor of these new developments, here are 10 fun SEC prop bets (some real, some definitely imagined) that we’d take for 2018. Use these wisely (which probably means sparingly).
The SEC will NOT allow alcohol sales in 2018.
C’mon, fresh off the potential opening up of the other social taboo, we’re certain to hear the resounding chorus of those who want to add liquor — or at least beer — to SEC football. The problem is that the chorus doesn’t include the university and conference honchos who could make it happen. Unless the Supreme Court gets involved in this issue, nothing is changing.
No SEC head coaches will be fired after the 2018 season.
Look, this is a long shot (looking at you LSU) … but given the transition from last season, there’s a good likelihood that nobody is getting fired. Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi State and Texas A&M have new coaches who aren’t getting fired after Year 1. Auburn just extended Gus Malzahn. Kirby Smart is a hero in Athens. Will Muschamp is raising expectations in Columbia. Who’s left? Missouri, Vandy and Kentucky all look to be in fairly stable spots with their coaches. Nobody gets fired. Bet on it — possibly legally.
A good Heisman long shot? Nick Fitzgerald at 35/1 looks nice.
Bovada has Connor O’Gara’s favorite quarterback listed as a pretty hard long shot to win the Heisman. Granted, it’d take a perfect storm, but the combination of Fitzgerald’s running and passing, Joe Moorhead’s offensive consistency and State’s light schedule might be that storm.
A national title long shot? Florida?
Similarly, Bovada has Florida at 55/1 to win the title. Yes, granted, moving from 4 wins to the title would be quite a story. But the East is very much Georgia and everyone else. And given the amount of talent on their roster, and Dan Mullen’s penchant for making something out of nothing, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing ever for the Gators to make a run. Also, buy in now, before Jalen Hurts becomes a Gator.
The head coach of the 2019 Dallas Cowboys? Nick Saban
I have no idea what kind of odds this would gather, but it’s a perennial pick of mine based on a couple of things. First, Saban — after the 2018 title he will win — has absolutely nothing to prove in college. Second, his NFL failure doubtlessly eats at him. Third, it would take a ton of prestige and money to lure him back to the NFL. Fourth, the long-suffering Cowboys have those in abundance, and will go 9-7 again this year.
Tim Tebow will play Major League Baseball in 2018.
Yeah, I know, this is only kinda/sorta an SEC bet. But for all the Hatorade he had to drink last season, Tebow is quietly turning into a legitimate baseball player. Yes, he’s a bad defender. Yes, he still strikes out too much. But he has extra-base power, and has shown both the work ethic and some of the raw tools to suggest that a September call-up could be in the cards.
The NCAA won’t loosen the transfer rules.
If players aren’t professionals (which they are) and can’t be paid (which they should), then surely the NCAA will start to apply a more humane set of transfer rules. It’s already on the table. But it won’t happen. The recent NCAA Commission on College Basketball report on amateurism suggests what an outdated and inefficient mentality college sports’ governing body has. It might change, but it won’t be in 2018.
Take South Carolina over 7 wins
Another fun prop bet is the over/under on total wins. BetDSI’s latest figures have Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks hanging around at 7 wins. Sounds like some easy pickings to us. The only two games Carolina figures to be a substantial underdog are home against Georgia and at Clemson. USC has three easy home nonconference games (Coastal Carolina, Marshall, Chattanooga). Vandy and Ole Miss are a pair of very winnable road games, and home games against Tennessee, Missouri and Texas A&M look likely to produce at least another pair of victories. Which would mean a road game at Kentucky could be the money maker. It’s far from a gimme, but Carolina seems a little light on preseason respect from here.
Take Arkansas under 5.5 wins
On the other hand, Arkansas looks like a tough team to back. Sure, they have a light out-of-conference schedule. But a road game at Colorado State could turn into a surprise loss. And while Vandy and Missouri from the East aren’t exactly dangerous opponents, will the Razorbacks have enough healthy parts down the season’s stretch to win those games? Says here that they don’t.
A move WILL be made toward an 8-team Playoff
I talked above about the likelihood of no meaningful action on transfers. And while that’s true, the NCAA likes money. By the end of 2018, actions will be taken to move toward an 8-team playoff. It’s probably still a couple years away, but the first steps toward a 2020 8-team field will be taken this season.