Here’s a look at up-to-date betting information for each SEC contest, complete with analysis and picks from Brian Edwards.
Edwards, a longtime VegasInsider.com handicapper with an emphasis on SEC football, will provide his thoughts and insights on line moves throughout the 2017 season. He is a University of Florida graduate and a weekly radio guest in Las Vegas, Omaha and Memphis.
Note: All times for Saturday games Eastern. Lines and over/under totals are courtesy of Westgate Superbook.
Arkansas at Ole Miss
Friday line: Ole Miss minus 3.5 (opened same)
Public (ATS): 52 percent Ole Miss
Edwards’ analysis: “I’ve got some good information that [Austin Allen] has a chance to play tomorrow. He is going to warm up and see how he feels. Bettors should not be surprised if he plays tomorrow.
“With Shea Patterson out, that’s a huge loss for Ole Miss. If you think Allen’s going to play and the line’s 3 1/2, I like Arkansas. If Allen’s not going to play, then I just lean that way.”
The Play: If Austin Allen starts, take Arkansas and the points. If he doesn’t, lean to Arkansas.
No. 3 Georgia vs. Florida (in Jacksonville)
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m.
Friday line: Georgia minus 14 (opened same)
Public (ATS): 78 percent Georgia
Edwards’ analysis: “Even in years like this, perhaps even more so, something happens to Georgia when it arrives in Jacksonville. Regardless of whatever it has done all season, things change when the Bulldogs line up against the Gators, who haven’t lost by more than 12 points to Georgia since 1997 when Robert Edwards ran for four TDs in a 37-17 victory.
“The catalyst in me loading this play is the fact that three of five Florida starters who missed the 19-17 loss to Texas A&M two weeks ago have been upgraded to probable. Those three players include the offense’s two best playmakers [beside running back Malik Davis] in receiver Tyrie Cleveland and human-joystick/utility player Kadarius Toney. Also, Jabari Zuniga, the team’s best pass rusher [especially now that Jordan Sherit is out for the season], was upgraded to probable. There’s still a chance that starting guard Brett Heggie, who was the SEC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week after a 38-24 win over Vandy, could play — but he remains questionable. The Gators have only been double-digit underdogs three times under Jim McElwain, going 2-1 against the spread with one outright win at LSU as 14-point ‘dogs last season.
“Florida’s defense will keep it in the game and with Davis, running back Lamical Perine, Cleveland and Toney all available, the Gators’ pedestrian offense will find a way to produce enough points to make this a close game. And if it’s close in the fourth quarter, watch out. Georgia will start to doubt itself because, well, it’s in Jacksonville going against the Gators, who have beaten the Bulldogs three straight times by double-digit margins and have won 21 of the last 27 meetings dating back to 1990.”
The Play: Florida and the points
Vanderbilt at South Carolina
Kickoff: 4 p.m.
Friday line: South Carolina minus 6.5 (opened same)
Public (ATS): 64 percent South Carolina
Edwards’ analysis: “I made South Carolina a 10.5-point favorite. When I picked South Carolina as an underdog early in the week for its trip to Tennessee prior to the open date, I was under the impression that at least one, if not two, of three starting offensive linemen would be returning to the lineup at Neyland Stadium. As it turned out, none of the three played against the Vols. Nevertheless, USC won 15-9.
“After an open date, all three are ready this week and have been upgraded to probable. This will make life easier for Jake Bentley, who has 5 touchdowns without an interception in the last three games. He has two elite targets in sophomore receiver Bryan Edwards and junior tight end Hayden Hurst. Vanderbilt has lost four in a row both straight up and against the spread, losing all four of those games by at least 14 points. I like the Gamecocks.”
The Play: South Carolina minus the points
Missouri at UConn
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m.
Friday line: UConn plus 13 (opened +11)
Public (ATS): 74 percent Missouri
Edwards’ analysis: “UConn is horrible. Missouri’s not very good, but the Tigers have been better the last couple of weeks. They’ve gotten the offense cranked back up after being in stall mode for nearly a month. Obviously, they lit up Idaho last week. I know laying points on the road with a bad team isn’t a great idea, and this is not one of my main picks, but I lean to Missouri based on Drew Lock playing better the last few weeks.”
The Play: Lean to Missouri
Mississippi State at Texas A&M
Kickoff: 7:15 p.m.
Friday line: Texas A&M plus 1 (opened same)
Public (ATS): 74 percent Texas A&M
Edwards’ analysis: “I don’t want anything to do with this game. Texas A&M has the benefit of having two weeks to prepare. Mississippi State got demolished in its last two SEC road games. It’s a coin-flip game. You can see that in the line, and there’s just better options on the board.”
The Play: Pass
Tennessee at Kentucky
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Friday line: Kentucky minus 3.5 (opened -5.5)
Public (ATS): 55 percent Kentucky
Edwards’ analysis: “Tennessee has won 31 of the last 32 head-to-head meetings. The last time Kentucky was favored was in 2007. They were a 2-point favorite and lost 52-50. If John Kelly had not gotten suspended and the number was Tennessee plus-3 or more, I’d definitely lean to Tennessee. But without Kelly, and with all their issues, I just can’t back them.
“Kentucky looked like garbage last week as well. Neither one of these is a play-on team. Tennessee is a play-against team, but I don’t have confidence in Kentucky with more than a quarter century of ‘Ls’ galore in this rivalry.”
The Play: Pass