The SEC perhaps acts as a mantelpiece for college football.
A rich tradition and storied history deeply rooted within the fanbases, the game comes as second nature, with potential petitions for inscribing Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier-like replicas amidst the crevices of Mount Rushmore.
So when Las Vegas sportsbooks opened up win totals for the FBS, one core of clubs that sought keen proofreading was this such conference.
While the daunting task of pleasing each teams’ enthusiasts remains inevitable, we attempted to break down the unit into three distinct categories when dissecting “over” or “under” the predicted wins: teams whose totals looked on point, those that seem a tad high, and clubs that may not be earning enough respect from the oddsmakers.
Here’s our take:
Looks Just Right
While it may lack the glitz of 2014, Alabama nabs their bid once more as the frontrunner of the SEC, 5Dimes sportsbook opening the Crimson Tide at 9.5 (over -145/under +105) wins respectively.
While the defense has prototypically cemented its presence as the long suit for Bama, Saban was equipped with a lethal tandem on offense with quarterback Blake Sims and Amari Cooper in 2014. With the couplet of athletes withdrawn from the blueprint, I expect Nick Saban to converge upon his defense once more in 2015 to potentially conquer the SEC as a whole, considering eight names return from a season ago, including experience from NT Jarran Reed and ILB Reggie Ragland.
The Tide will clash with a duo of collision courses on the road at Georgia and Auburn, but a doublet of losses would still suffice for “over” bettors, given Alabama runs the table.
With War Eagle, Georgia, and a handful of SEC squads climbing the ranks, Saban and Co. may be abandoned in the shadows by the general public, but the shellacking to Ohio State in the 2014 CFP and regaining troops on defense certifies this club as dangerous once more.
Sticking with the SEC West, we venture to the likes of Mississippi State, the Bulldogs’ projection sitting at 7 victories (over -110/under -130).
The 10-2 regular season docket for MSU initially perceives the 2015 win total to fall beneath expectations, but let’s weight in on this sector a dash further.
The good? Dak Prescott strolls back under center, the once-Heisman contender set to lead the ‘Dogs once more in 2015.
And that’s where the list runs barren.
MSU fails to return more than two players at any respected slot on the gridiron, so while experience lacks for the maroon and white, the scheduling offers roadblocks of its own.
Consecutive road expeditions to Auburn and Texas A&M may equate to two defeats, while traveling to Arkansas a week prior to the notorious Egg Bowl with rival Ole Miss poses an additional obstacle.
That’s excluding the intertwining with LSU and Alabama, so while the number significantly drops for Mississippi State, their lone shot at a title may be wallowing in the shadows of 2014.
For this pair of SEC clubs, I’d recommend straying away from any type of wager, as the books seem to have pinpointed accurate digits.
Looks Too Low
One SEC representative seizing some favorable offseason love, the Tennessee Volunteers (7.5, over-140/under -110) appear primed to take a stab towards relevancy in 2015.
Aside from progressing down the stretch in ’14, Rocky Top secures a hoard of returnees from last year’s assembly with 19 total, upping their experience primarily at the skill position and D-line, two critical channels within a rigid conference.
The crucial segment of the Volunteers lies within the opening weeks of the season: a pair of non-conference opponents in Bowling Green and Western Carolina in weeks one and three should formulate into victories without much distress, however, a barricade stations itself between the two with powerhouse Oklahoma.
Nabbing three consecutive may rev the engines for a fruitful season, as I perceive the Vols to also seize the upper hand over Arkansas (week 5), North Texas (week 11) and Vanderbilt (week 13).
While we’re fixated on the subject, let’s stick with the Commodores of Vandy (3, over -135/under -105), as they surpass the Volunteers in terms of experience with a whopping 21 players returning.
I find it increasingly difficult to support a program that failed to vanquish a conference foe in 2014, however, I’m not dwelling on the past.
They rendezvous with Western Kentucky the opening frame of 2015, and while the Hilltoppers sparkled on offense a season prior, the ‘Dores may grasp the advantage in terms of physicality.
While we’re a few W’s away from a mere push, I’m hoping Vandy can score a victory versus Texas A&M or Kentucky towards the latter half of their agenda, with a duo of contests outside the Power Five in Houston and Middle Tennessee scattered between.
A supple amount of juice on both Vandy and Tennessee, but I’d advise bettors to take a second look on both parties outranking their projected totals, therefore I’d grab the over.
Looks Too High
Ah, Ole Miss. Hotty Toddy, flim flam, yadda yadda yadda.
I’ll reluctantly admit that I partially adopted the program upon snatching Hugh Freeze as the ringleader and that illustrious 2013 recruiting class, so I’m armed with a supplementary pair of eyes when it comes to the Rebels.
Last year–absolutely glorious. For the most part, at least.
Overcoming the Tide in Vaught-Hemingway, slithering to No. 1, the “Landshark” defense as Ole Miss aficionados title it, the accolades began to accumulate.
The conundrum of ousting the cream of the crop and thwacking the barrier to the SEC appeared all but over until the chips dismantled like that of a Jenga set.
An injury to star-studded receiver Laquon Treadwell amidst a barn burner versus Auburn left War Eagle humming through the warm Oxford evening, while a trip to the Bayou for a showdown with LSU left the Rebels encompassed in a cloud of dust, subsequently halting an opportunity to snag a bid to the playoffs.
A hefty portion of that elite defensive core cuts ties in 2015, including Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt in the secondary, so while players like DT Shackleford and the Nkemdiche brothers solidify their positions once more via the front seven, I’m not entirely sold on Ole Miss.
The line appears in great shape and a trio of receivers return (including a hungry Treadwell), but the magic may be all but dry from 2014.
They endure their share of cakewalks with New Mexico State and UT Martin, but will be tested as visitors upon waltzing into the likes of Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi State, and a vastly improved Memphis core.
The blockade may have been shattered by Freeze’s bunch in 2014, but I view it as merely fragmented. I’m guiding bettors to take the under (8.5 -130) on Ole Miss’s victory total come fall.