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Bad Gambling Advice: SEC Win Totals

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In here, I tell you what I really think of the rest of the SEC.

NCAA Football: Texas Bowl-Baylor vs Vandebilt Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

DISCLAIMER: This Series is called “Bad Gambling Advice.” Should you rely on this post to bet actual money on the outcomes of sporting events, that is your fault, not mine. After all, this post is titled “Bad Gambling Advice,” and what part of “Bad Gambling Advice” do you not understand?

The win total prop bets for college football teams have been out for months, but now is where I finally get around to telling you what I think about them. If you’re unfamiliar with how this works, the oddsmaker gives you a win total, and your job is to choose whether the listed team will exceed that (Over) or fail to meet that (Under.) If the team wins the exact number of games, the bet is a Push, meaning your bet is refunded. Note that totals bets only include scheduled games, meaning that bowl games and conference championship games don’t count.

Now, the premise of this post is that I am going to choose Over or Under on all of them. In reality, I think some teams will hit the total on the number (as you will see in the projected standings at the bottom); if that is the case, I will choose based on where I think I might be wrong.

Again, this is Bad Gambling Advice. You have been warned.

Alabama: 11 Wins

Over. Here’s your annual reminder that Alabama has not lost more than one regular season game since 2010. But more importantly, where do you see two losses on the schedule? They might lose at Texas A&M or at Auburn, but I wouldn’t bet on them losing both.

Arkansas: 5.5 Wins

Under. The disadvantage of taking the under is that Arkansas might as well have four wins baked into its schedule (their nonconference slate: Portland State, Colorado State, San Jose State, Western Kentucky.) On the other hand, has Arkansas improved enough to beat two of Mississippi State, Auburn, and Missouri? Or to steal a road win at Kentucky or Ole Miss? I don’t think so. They’re still probably a year away.

Auburn: 7.5 Wins

Under. Again, the premise of this post is to make a pick everywhere, so I’m going against my usual recommendation of staying the hell away from predicting Auburn. Anyway, it’s an odd year, so Georgia and Alabama come to Auburn — on the other hand, Georgia and Alabama are probably better than Auburn. Road games at Texas A&M, Florida, and LSU are probably losses. Throw in a neutral-site game against Oregon to open the season — with Auburn starting a true freshman at quarterback — and it’s very easy to get to at least five losses.

Florida: 9 Wins

Under. Florida somehow plays two FCS teams, and I’m not betting on either Miami or Florida State to beat them. But in SEC play, they travel to LSU, South Carolina, and Missouri, in addition to the WLOCP. I think Florida played over its head last season, so I’d bet on them losing at least three of those four, if not all four. Picking the Over is betting on them winning two of those.

Georgia: 10.5 Wins

Over. Much like Alabama, where are the losses coming from? They play Notre Dame out of conference, but it’s in Athens. Their three road games in the SEC are Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and Auburn. They play at Georgia Tech to end the season, but Georgia Tech is switching from the triple option to a more traditional offense. This looks like a team that will go 11-1 at worst.

Kentucky: 6.5 Wins

Over. This is a tough call, because Kentucky will probably take a step back with the loss of Josh Allen and Benny Snell. On the other hand: the schedule. Out of conference, it’s Toledo, Eastern Michigan, UT-Martin, and rebuilding Louisville, all at home. That’s four wins. In conference, they draw Arkansas at home. There’s your fifth win. They also have Tennessee and Missouri at home, which aren’t gimmes, and they get Vanderbilt on the road. Should they lose two of those, winning at Mississippi State or South Carolina isn’t out of the question. This isn’t an easy bet either way, but betting the under is almost betting on a complete collapse.

LSU: 9 Wins

Over. Much like Alabama and Georgia, this comes down to finding the losses. Road trips to Alabama and Texas are the obvious places, but even if you assume losses there, are you going to bet on LSU losing at Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, or Ole Miss? Are you betting on Florida, Auburn, or Texas A&M to win in Baton Rouge? And keep in mind, if they lose one of those in addition to Texas and Alabama, it’s a push. The Over looks like the safer bet here.

Mississippi State: 7.5 Wins

Under. You can see five losses with road trips to Auburn, Tennessee, and Texas A&M, as well as home games against LSU and Alabama. And even if they win one of those, there are enough potential traps — like the season opener against UL Lafayette in New Orleans, or a road trip to Arkansas, or the Egg Bowl — that I wouldn’t feel good about the Over. This is one of the easier picks on the board.

Missouri: 8 Wins

Over. You can take away my total homer pick of Vanderbilt to beat them in Nashville and still not see five losses on the schedule. Outside of road trips to Kentucky and Georgia and a home game against Florida, where exactly are they losing? Maybe you can talk yourself into South Carolina or Tennessee beating them, but both of those are at home. No, they’re not losing at Wyoming. The only real hangup I have has to do with their appeal of their bowl ban being denied, but that’s just a complete unknown. With their schedule, 8-4 feels like a worst-case scenario.

Ole Miss: 5 Wins

Under. I don’t think Matt Luke is a great coach, and this is where they start to feel the effect of sanctions. They open the season at Memphis, and they’re losing that game. Don’t try to argue this, it’s happening. They also have a tricky non-conference game against Cal, though it’s in Oxford. They’ll probably beat Arkansas, and they might beat Vanderbilt. They’re not beating LSU or Texas A&M, and they’re probably losing at Missouri, Auburn, and Mississippi State (and there’s no “probably” in Tuscaloosa.) I can maybe see five wins on the schedule; I don’t see six.

South Carolina: 5.5 Wins

Over. This seems stupidly low — until you look at their schedule. They probably get three wins out of conference; UNC isn’t a gimme, but they’re not particularly good, and App State is kind of tricky — but their annual game against Clemson is a loss. Their four conference road games are at Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. They also get Alabama at home. Can they win home games against Florida, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt? Well, I think they can win those, and that’s why I’m picking the Over.

Tennessee: 6.5 Wins

Over. ugggggggghhhhhhhh I hate myself right now, but with Tennessee’s nonconference schedule (Georgia State, BYU, UT-Chatt, UAB) and with home games against Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Vandy on the schedule, Tennessee can win seven games without being particularly good.

Texas A&M: 7.5 Wins

Over. The Aggies are improving, but I think they’re still a year away, and the schedule is brutal. They play at Clemson out of conference, and the SEC schedule includes trips to Georgia and LSU, as well as a visit from Bama. But everything else on the schedule should be a win, so I lean to the Over here.

Vanderbilt: 5 Wins

Over. Assuming that Vegas is undervaluing Vanderbilt is usually profitable.

Projected SEC Standings

East

  • Georgia (12-0, 8-0)
  • Missouri (9-3, 5-3)
  • Florida (8-4, 4-4)
  • Kentucky (7-5, 3-5)
  • Tennessee (7-5, 3-5)
  • Vanderbilt (7-5, 3-5)
  • South Carolina (6-6, 3-5)

West

  • Alabama (12-0, 8-0)
  • LSU (10-2, 7-1)
  • Texas A&M (8-4, 5-3)
  • Mississippi State (7-5, 3-5)
  • Auburn (6-6, 3-5)
  • Ole Miss (4-8, 1-7)
  • Arkansas (4-8, 0-8)