Ten weeks into the SEC football season, the overall picture has become very clear: Alabama likely locked up the Western Division with its victory over LSU this past weekend, and Georgia is a win away from setting up yet another clash between the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs in Atlanta. That’s no surprise, given that Georgia (+115) and Alabama (+300) were the season odds favorites for the conference title.
And over those past 10 weeks, some sports betting trends have solidified in the SEC as well. Based on what we’ve seen so far, here are the best bets in the SEC this season:
LSU over the total
A disappointing season for LSU? Not to sports bettors who have jumped on board the Tigers total train and ridden it to over wins in all eight games LSU has played against FBS opponents to this point. Yes, there have been a few close calls—the Tigers went over by a half-point early in the season against Mississippi State, and needed a touchdown by a true freshman running back in the final seconds to go over against Army. But in every case, that combination of bad defense and tremendous offense has been enough.
There is only ONE perfect OVER team remaining in college football.— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) November 3, 2023
LSU overs are 8-0.
The total for LSU/Alabama is 61.5 tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/5FqLFWr8ZD
The Tigers face a 63-point total this week at home against Florida, a figure they’ve exceeded in five of their last six games. The caveat here is the condition of LSU starting quarterback Jayden Daniels, who leads the SEC in total offense (2,792 yards) and touchdowns (33), but missed the fourth quarter against Alabama after going into concussion protocol. As of Monday, Daniels’ status for the Florida game was not known. Safe to say, we have less confidence in the Tigers hitting the over with Garrett Nussmeier behind center.
Alabama against the spread since Jalen Milroe’s return to starting QB
Remember that bizarre Alabama game early in the season at South Florida, when Tide head coach Nick Saban benched starting quarterback Jalen Milroe, and then benched Tyler Buchner, the signal-caller who started the game? That was a bad dream to sports bettors, who watched as the Crimson Tide failed to cover against a Group of 5 opponent for the first time since 2017. But it also may have set the stage for everything we’ve seen since.
That debacle against the Bulls likely convinced Saban that Milroe was his best option behind center, and in the weeks since we’ve seen Alabama gradually tailor its offense to what the sophomore from Texas does best. The Crimson Tide is 5-1 against the spread over that span, the capper coming last Saturday night against LSU when Milroe ran for four touchdowns as Alabama easily covered as a 3.5-point home favorite. Against the best three teams Alabama has faced since the Texas loss—Ole Miss, Tennessee and LSU—the Tide won by two touchdowns in each case.
Although Alabama suffered an ATS loss to Arkansas during that stretch, Milroe and the Tide have both only gotten better as they’ve gone on. Alabama is a 10.5-point favorite Sunday at Kentucky, which has beaten the Crimson Tide exactly once since 1922, and has dropped the past four games all by 18 or more points.
Missouri against the spread since Week 3
Did the “Thicker Kicker” really lead to all this? The buzzer-beating, SEC-record 61-yard field goal booted by Missouri’s Harrison Mevis in Week 3 gave the Tigers an outright victory as a four-point home underdog to Kansas State. Mizzou is 6-1 against the spread since, and would be a perfect 7-0 if not for an ill-timed pick-six thrown against LSU in the final seconds on Oct. 7.
That one remains the worst beat in the SEC this year. Playing as a 6.5-point home underdog, Mizzou led by four with 5:40 remaining, and then trailed by three and had the ball with 45 seconds left. That’s when Missouri quarterback Brady Cook threw an interception that LSU’s Major Burns returned for a touchdown, the difference in the Bayou Bengals’ 10-point victory.
But beyond that, Missouri has been covering with authority—beating Vanderbilt by 17 as 13.5-point favorites, beating Kentucky by 17 as 2.5-point road underdogs, hammering South Carolina by 22 as 7-point favorites, falling to Georgia by nine as 15.5-point underdogs. The Tigers are 2.5-point home underdogs Saturday to Tennessee, which has also been pretty good against the spread as of late—the Vols have covered five of six, the exception a 14-point loss at Alabama as 9-point underdogs.
Anybody against the spread versus Vanderbilt
Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum: Vanderbilt, which has lost eight games so far this season against the spread, more than any other team in the SEC. (Granted, the Commodores played in Week 0, so they’ve also played one extra game to this point.) Vandy’s 1-8 ATS mark against FBS foes is notable, though, because that one cover came against Georgia, which won by 17 as a 32.5-point favorite in the game where star tight end Brock Bowers went down with a high ankle sprain.
Vanderbilt’s ATS losses have largely been narrow ones, but they’re losses just the same—by 16 to Wake Forest (at +10), by 3 to UNLV (-4.5), by 17 to Kentucky (+14), by 17 to Missouri (+13.5), by 24 to Florida (+18.5), by 26 to Ole Miss (+25.5, ouch), and by 16 to Auburn (+12). Saturday, the Commodores are a 14-point underdog at South Carolina, another bad team which last weekend beat Jacksonville State of the Sun Belt by just 10, and has failed to cover four of its last five.
Vanderbilt is the only Power Five team left without a win against a Power Five team this season 😅 pic.twitter.com/sX6Glw665P— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 5, 2023
Player Prop Watch
A few SEC players to watch this week for potential prop bets, should they be made available:
SEC Pick 3, Week 11
Here are my three picks for Week 11 of college football in the SEC:
Ole Miss +11 at Georgia
Despite their No. 1 ranking and 26-game outright winning streak, the Bulldogs have been one of the worst bets this season against the spread, covering exactly twice against FBS opponents. Last week at home against Missouri, they won by nine as 15.5-point favorites. Despite Lane Kiffin’s reputation as a pass-happy head coach, this is an extremely balanced Rebels team that wins primarily by churning out yards behind running back Quinshon Judkins. No, that Ole Miss defense isn’t great—but neither was Missouri’s, or South Carolina’s, or UAB’s, and all of those teams still managed to cover between the hedges.
Tennessee at Missouri, over 59
The Volunteers haven’t just been covering the spread with regularity of late, they’ve also been going over the total—in three straight games now against Alabama, Kentucky and Connecticut, the latter despite a 53-point total. The Tigers have gone under in two straight, but in one they got out to a big lead early against South Carolina, and the other was at Georgia. This shapes up as a far different game between two SEC leaders in touchdowns and total yards. In five of the last seven games between the Vols and Tigers, one team has gone over 50 points.
Arkansas vs. Auburn, under 50
Auburn has gone under totals in the 40s for three consecutive games, and Arkansas had gone under in three straight before snapping a six-game outright losing streak last weekend in overtime at Florida. The Razorbacks rank last in the SEC in total offense per game and per play, while Auburn has scored fewer points than anyone in the league save South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State—not exactly company you want to keep. These are two bad teams and bad offenses begging to play a grinder that borders on the unwatchable.