Texas A&M Betting Odds Preview
Once in a while a player and a team come from out of nowhere to hit the big time, like Auburn with Cam Newton a few years back. Last year Texas A&M did it with red-shirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, who ran and passed and danced and partied his way to the Heisman Trophy, and guided his team to 11 wins and a top-five ranking. Now the question becomes: What can Manziel and the Aggies do for an encore?
With a new head coach and a new conference, the vaunted SEC, not much was expected out of the Aggies last year; maybe a middle-of-the-road finish in the nasty SEC West and a minor bowl bid. But A&M had a little more in the tank than most folks knew.
The Aggies opened last season, and life in the SEC, with a tough 20-17 loss to Florida. They then won five in a row, putting up some crazy offensive numbers in the process, before falling in a tough game at LSU 24-19. A&M then topped Auburn and Mississippi State, then pulled off one of the great shockers of recent seasons when they beat No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa 29-24. Three easy victories followed, including a 41-13 trashing of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, for an 11-2 finish. Playing under the radar for at least part of the season the Aggies went 8-5 ATS last year, and 4-1 ATS on the road.
This year the Aggies only return 11 starters, six on offense and five on defense. Of course, the main ingredient is QB Manziel, who threw 26 TD passes last year and ran for 1,400 yards and 21 more scores. A&M also retains WR Mike Evans, who caught 1,100 yards worth of balls last year, three along the offensive line, and they add a couple of highly regarded RB transfers. But they lose WR Ryan Swope, four of the defensive front seven, and half the secondary. So there are holes to fill. This year's schedule is fairly accommodating, for the SEC.
After opening with a couple of warmups the Aggies jump into conference play by hosting Alabama; if they win that game they'll probably go unbeaten at Kyle Field. Following the 'Bama bout A&M should be favored in its next seven games. The Aggies then finish with road games at LSU and at Missouri. Notably, A&M misses the top three teams from the East – Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. But both Alabama and LSU have off-weeks prior to playing the Aggies, so they'll both be fully prepared.
SEC Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of July 29
South Carolina +500
Texas A&M +850
Mississippi State +10000