Vanderbilt Betting Odds Preview
Vanderbilt is not known as a football school but head coach James Franklin is trying to turn it into one. Just before Franklin arrived the Commodores struggled through back-to-back 2-10 campaigns. In his first season in charge he took Vandy to a bowl, a major achievement for this program. And last year the Commodores won nine games, and went 5-3 in the big, bad SEC. Now the trick for VU is to maintain this level of success, and to hang on to its head coach before he's poached away.
The Commodores began last year with tough losses to South Carolina and Northwestern. Later they got blown out at Georgia, won at Missouri, then lost another tough one to Florida to fall to 2-4. But Vandy, as hard as it may be to believe, didn't lose another game after that. The Commodores beat Auburn and UMass at home, pounded Kentucky in Lexington, rallied to beat Ole Miss 27-26 in Oxford, got some sweet payback on Tennessee, put up 55 points on Wake Forest, and knocked off N.C. State in the Music City Bowl. So the Commodores finished 9-4, 5-3 in the SEC and ended the season ranked No. 23. And it's been a long time since Vandy finished in anybody's season-ending poll.
The Commodores also went a profitable 9-4 ATS last year, as oddsmakers and bettors were slow to pick up on what was happening down in Nashville. This year Vandy returns 13 starters; seven on offense, including their top two receivers and three along the line, and six on defense, including five of the back seven. But they'll have to replace QB Jordan Rodgers, 1,100-yard rusher Zac Stacy, and three of the defensive front four. This year's schedule is not quite as nice as last year's.
The Commodores should be favored in three of their four SEC home games (probably not against Georgia), but they must play at South Carolina, at Texas A&M, at Florida, and at Tennessee. Fortunately they miss Alabama and LSU, but at this point, it looks like they'll still have a tough time equaling last year's win total.
SEC Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of July 29
South Carolina +500
Texas A&M +850
Mississippi State +10000