Veteran handicapper Brian Edwards believes there are a bunch of live underdogs in Week 11, including No. 25 Arkansas hosting No. 24 LSU.
Here’s a look at up-to-date betting information for each SEC contest, complete with analysis and picks from Edwards.
Edwards, a long-time VegasInsider.com handicapper with an emphasis on SEC football, will provide his thoughts and insights on the line moves throughout the 2016 season. He is a University of Florida graduate and a weekly radio guest in Las Vegas, Omaha and Memphis.
(All times ET)
Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama
Kickoff: Noon, ESPN
Friday Line: Alabama -29.5 (opened -28.5)
Over/Under: 55 (opened 55)
Public (ATS): 58 percent Bulldogs
Edwards’ Analysis: “I think any implication of this game being a letdown situation for Mississippi State is ridiculous. If anybody is in this scenario where what happened last week is more taxing physically, mentally, psychologically, whatever, it’s Alabama. They were in a physical war on the road last week. Mississippi State, meanwhile, took care of business at home and carry momentum into Tuscaloosa.
“I made ‘Bama -22.5 with a total of 56 points. I like Mississippi State here. This line is too high. (Nick) Fitzgerald gives the Bulldogs the type of quarterback they need to handle ‘Bama’s amazing pass rush. He’s not only elusive, but he’s a big boy, too. He’s hard to take down. Fitzgerald is really good. Mississippi State has lost a lot of really close games this year, and I think they’ll be very competitive in this one. You know, ‘Bama wins by 2 touchdowns at least, maybe 3, but 29.5 points is way too much here.”
The Play: Mississippi State +29.5
South Carolina at Florida
Kickoff: Noon, CBS
Friday Line: Florida -10.5 (opened -13.5)
Over/Under: 37.5 (opened 37.5)
Public (ATS): 55 percent Gamecocks
Edwards’ Analysis: “I’m bullish on South Carolina. I made Florida a 7-point favorite and the total 42. Florida is just 3-6 against the spread as a double-digit favorite under (Jim) McElwain’s watch.
“South Carolina is getting amazing quarterback play from Jake Bentley. The true freshman is 3-0 as a starter, 73 percent completion percentage, 622 yards, 6 touchdowns and no interceptions. Watch out, (Will) Muschamp has found himself a quarterback for the future.
“More than anything, the basis of this play, outside of South Carolina’s quarterback advantage, is that Florida — not only did they get smashed last week — is beat up injury-wise. Leading tackler Jarrad Davis is out. Second leading tackler Alex Anzalone is out for the season. Starting center Cam Dillard is out. (Luke) Del Rio is out — he should have been out whether injured or not. Look, McElwain has gone 16-6 in 22 games. However, other than the Ole Miss game at home last year, and Kentucky this season, the offense has not improved since Muschamp left. The reason he’s won 16 games is because of the great defensive personnel Muschamp left behind.
“Expect South Carolina to be up for this with Muschamp’s return. He’s got a quarterback and momentum, and could even sneak this one outright. I love South Carolina plus the points. By the way, they (Gamecocks) are 2-0 against the spread with a victory as double-digit dogs in 2016.”
The Play: South Carolina +11.5
Kentucky at Tennessee
Kickoff: Noon, SEC Network
Friday Line: Tennessee -13.5 (opened -11.5)
Over/Under: 61 (opened 60)
Public (ATS): 53 percent Wildcats
Edwards’ Analysis: “(Alvin) Kamara is back. Cam Sutton might be back. Their return is a breath of fresh air for Tennessee to get some quality players returning to the mix. If I had certainty Sutton is returning and 100 percent healthy, and Malik Foreman playing, I’d probably lean the Vols here. Will Kamara be as explosive as he was in College Station? If I was confident he was the player he was before the injury, I’d consider the bet. But because of the uncertainty, this game is a pass.”
The Play: Pass
No. 9 Auburn at Georgia
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m., CBS
Friday Line: Auburn -10.5 (opened -9.5)
Over/Under: 47.5 (opened 48)
Public (ATS): 56 percent Tigers
Edwards’ Analysis: “I like Georgia here. How on earth (Gus) Malzahn and Auburn kept that news about Sean White under their hats all last week is nothing short of amazing. On that note, I don’t think we’ll know anything about running back Kamryn Pettway until pregame warmups. I don’t think he’ll be 100 percent if he plays. I doubt we’ll see much line movement as a result.
“Regardless, even if Pettway does play, I like Georgia plus the points. Georgia has only been a home underdog three times in the last deacade. Three. No telling how long it’s been since they were a double-digit home underdog. This is an inflated number. I know Georgia has not had a good year, and I’m not saying they’re hot entering this one hot after needing a game-winning field goal against Kentucky. But maybe the victory gave them a little spark. They’re at home here, and likely feeling a little disrespected by the line; long rivalry, too. They’ll be up for this game. They still have two of the best running backs in the country in Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. I will back the Bulldogs here getting double digits all day.”
The Play: Georgia +10.5
Vanderbilt at Missouri
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m., SEC Network
Friday Line: Missouri -3.5 (opened -1)
Over/Under: 53.5 (opened 53)
Public (ATS): 63 percent Commodores
Edwards’ Analysis: “Vandy and Arkansas are my favorites this week. I made Vandy a 3-point favorite. They’re gonna win this game outright. Missouri hasn’t beaten anyone all year not named Delaware State and Eastern Michigan. They’re 116 out of 128 teams in total defense. They’re number 112 out of 128 against the run. Now they face the SEC’s third leading rusher in Ralph Webb, and Kyle Shurmur played the best game in his career last weekend.
“Vandy’s 4-5 record is a bit misleading. All 4 of their SEC losses were 1 possession games. By the way, very sketchy call to reverse that fumble recovery by Zach Cunningham, and Auburn scored 2 plays later. He’s playing like a first-team All American. It will be a crime if he’s not awarded. That blocked field goal was amazing.
“The Commodores are 4-2 against the spread as underdogs this year with 2 outright wins at Western Kentucky and at Georgia. They’re going to go into Missouri and win outright again. I like ‘em straight up, and with the points.
“I also like the under 54. First off, this is the highest total Vanderbilt has seen all year. They’ve stayed below the total in 4 of their last 5 games. All of their SEC games have had 39 combined points or less. They just held Auburn to 23 after the Tigers scored 38 or more in 4 straight games.”
The Play: Vanderbilt +3.5, Vanderbilt ML (+150), UNDER 54
No. 24 LSU at No. 25 Arkansas
Kickoff: 7 p.m., ESPN
Friday Line: LSU -7 (opened -7)
Over/Under: 46 (opened 46)
Public (ATS): 62 percent Razorbacks
Edwards’ Analysis: “This is a game I had Arkansas winning back in August, and is a game I still have them winning outright. I can’t belive this number. I made LSU a 1-point favorite.
“Arkansas’ last 7 as a home dog, they are 5-2 against the spread — 4 outright wins. They have dominated LSU lately: 17-0 two years ago at Fayetteville, and 31-14 last year. That game was a blowout, over midway through the third quarter.
“From a situational standpoint, similar to the Mississippi State-Alabama game, I know Arkansas is coming off a huge win, but I don’t see this as a letdown spot. LSU, though, is beaten up physically and mentally after Alabama. Their defense played amazing, but they still missed out on the win. We’ve seen how LSU has tired after the Alabama game the last two seasons, and it’s likely to happen again here.
“How about the Hogs’ offense last week? They gashed the second-ranked defense in the nation. Arkansas likely wins a close one straight up. We’ll take them plus the points, and sprinkle a little less on the money line as well.”
The Play: Arkansas +7, Arkansas ML (+230)
Ole Miss at No. 8 Texas A&M
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
Friday Line: Texas A&M -10 (opened -10)
Over/Under: 55 (opened 55)
Public (ATS): 55 percent Aggies
Edwards’ Analysis: “I’m hearing Ole Miss is gonna go to the true freshman (Shea) Patterson. If he is as advertised, it’s a good move with three games left and the Rebels needing a couple more wins for a bowl invitation. If he’s as good as they say, he’ll be going pro after his uunior year. It’s not like they’re burning the redshirt. The next few games are too important. Patterson’s presence may light a fire under Ole Miss.
“Who knows what the psyche is on both of these teams. (Texas) A&M lost their quarterback, obviously. Jake Hubenak is a major downgrade from Trevor Knight. Look, A&M can go 10-2 and still go to a big bowl game, but that has to be a huge shot to the gut to lose that game last week and their offensive leader.
“I don’t want anything to do with this game. I have no idea where either team’s mindset is. A&M may kill ‘em, or Ole Miss could stun them outright with Patterson the top billing. Pass.”
The Play: Pass