Arkansas Betting Odds Preview
After last year's disastrous 4-8 campaign the Arkansas Razorbacks are now operating under their third different head coach in the last three seasons. Out is John L. Smith, who replaced the disgraced Bobby Petrino, and in is Bret Bielema, who brings his smash-mouth Big Ten-style running game to Fayetteville. But can that approach be successful in the speed-oriented SEC?
Arkansas had gone 21-5 its last two seasons under Petrino, and looked like it could continue along those lines for the foreseeable future. Then Petrino got involved in some off-field shenanigans and lost his job. The Hogs were still supposed to be pretty good last year under Smith, with enough returning talent to at least reach a bowl. Instead, Arkansas fell flat on its collective face, losing a game at home to Louisiana-Monroe and later getting blown out by Alabama, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State. The 4-8 mark was the worst since 2005, and the only two conference victories came against Auburn and Kentucky, who combined to go 0-16 in SEC play.
The Razorbacks also went a dismal 2-9 ATS last year, as both the oddsmakers and bettors were slow to pick up on just how bad they were. A -19 turnover ratio certainly didn't help, either. As for this year Bielema takes over a team that must replace last year's leading rusher, passer, receiver, and three starters along the offensive line, but eight starters return on defense, including three along the front line and the entire secondary. However, any progress Arkansas might make this year, in terms of quality of play, might be muted by a tough schedule that calls for road games at Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss, and LSU, and home dates with Texas A&M and South Carolina. In all the Hogs have to play six of the top seven contenders in the SEC, missing only Georgia.
SEC Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of July 29
South Carolina +500
Texas A&M +850
Mississippi State +10000