No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama highlights the Week 8 SEC schedule, one of three matchups involving two ranked teams this coming Saturday. Vegas oddsmakers open the Crimson Tide as 17-point favorites for the contest, the largest spread ever between the two schools.
Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin has a history of shocking the betting market in this spot, going 3-1 straight up and against the spread as double-digit underdogs in conference play. One of the victories came in 2012 when former Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel led Texas A&M to a 29-24 win over Alabama as a 13.5-point pup. The Crimson Tide, meanwhile, are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven at Bryant-Denny Stadium versus SEC opponents.
No. 21 Auburn is laying 8.5 points to No. 17 Arkansas. The Tigers haven’t spotted this many against a conference foe since gifting 22 to Texas A&M in 2014 — one of Sumlin’s aforementioned double-digit underdog victories (41-38). It’s a familiar market for the conditions, though, with Auburn kicking off as chalk in 11 of the last 12 meetings at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is 7-2-1 against the spread in his last 10 as a single-digit pup in SEC play.
Oddsmakers expect a close one at Tiger Stadium between No. 23 Ole Miss and No. 25 LSU. The Rebels open 4-point underdogs for the annual showdown. LSU is 8-5 straight up in the last 13 meetings as home chalk, but a dismal 1-12 against the number. Ole Miss won 31-13 the last time it kicked off a single-digit dog (+3.5) in Baton Rouge in 2008.
South Carolina is a 20.5-point favorite over Massachusetts. The Gamecocks lost 23-22 to Citadel the last time they went off 20-point chalk or more in a contest. An outright defeat to the Minutemen is a long shot, but the Independent program has covered its last four against the SEC. Two, in fact, occurred this season: one, as a 35-point underdog to Florida (24-7) and the other getting 22 points versus Mississippi State (47-35).
Mississippi State hits the board as a slim road favorite (-2) over Kentucky. It’s a big change in number over the last five meetings, with the Bulldogs going off double-digit chalk in each. Historically, the Wildcats have fared well in the matchup with few points offered, winning the last seven games set within a field-goal spread.
Missouri is 4.5-point chalk over Conference USA foe Middle Tennessee State. The Tigers needed overtime to claim victory the last time these two clashed in 2003, winning 41-40 as 21.5-point favorites. The Blue Raiders are 3-22 straight up in the their last 25 against the SEC, going 3-7 against the spread in the past 10 matchups. They’re averaging 9.9 points per game during this span.
Tennessee State at Vanderbilt is off the board, as lines against FCS opponents are typically delayed until later in the week.
Here’s a look at all the Week 8 opening lines for the SEC as set at the Wynn Las Vegas on Sunday:
|UMass at South Carolina||Noon||Gamecocks -20.5|
|No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama||3:30 p.m.||Crimson Tide -17|
|Middle Tennessee St. at Missouri||4 p.m.||Tigers -4.5|
|No. 17 Arkansas at No. 21 Auburn||6 p.m.||Tigers -8.5|
|Mississippi St. at Kentucky||7:30 p.m.||Bulldogs -2|
|Tennessee State at Vanderbilt||7:30 p.m.||Off|
|No. 23 Ole Miss at No. 25 LSU||9 p.m.||Tigers -4|
*Based on Eastern Time
#Based on Wynn Las Vegas lines as of 6:15 p.m. ET Sunday