Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
SEC fans are the most passionate in college football but also the most arrogant as they believe their level of play is vastly superior to every other league. They probably are right. Thus, this Saturday is a holiday of sorts in the southeastern portion of the United States because the SEC kicks off its season. The SEC will play a 10-game, league-only schedule this year.
Alabama is per usual the SEC favorite and is ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Tide will visit Missouri at 7 p.m. ET and Coach Nick Saban’s squad will face a short-handed foe. As of now, Mizzou is down 12 players due to COVID-19 and two more opted out. First-year coach Eli Drinkwitz hasn’t disclosed which players are out due to the virus, nor should he. It doesn’t necessarily mean they tested positive, either. Bama is -27 and Missouri is 0-7 ATS in its past seven SEC games.
No. 4 Georgia is the favorite to repeat in the SEC East Division and kicks off at Arkansas at 4 p.m. ET. The Dawgs not long ago were dealt a shocking blow when projected starting QB and Heisman Trophy candidate Jamie Newman opted out. That probably won’t matter against the Hogs, who haven’t won an SEC game since October 28, 2017. That’s 19 losses in a row. First-year coach Sam Pittman has his work cut out for him with the Razorbacks, who are +26. They are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 SEC games.
No. 6 LSU opens defense of its national title with a 3:30 p.m. ET home kickoff against Mississippi State in the Bulldogs’ coaching debut of Mike Leach. The Tigers have almost no chance of repeating because they lost 19 starters from last year’s team either due to declaring for the NFL Draft early, end of eligibility (reigning Heisman winner Joe Burrow) or opting out (superstar receiver J’Marr Chase). LSU is -16.5 for this one and on a national-best 16-game winning streak, by an average margin of nearly 26 points per game.
Coach Lane Kiffin makes his return to the SEC with his Ole Miss head coaching debut at home with a noon kickoff against No. 5 Florida, which is -14.5. The Rebs are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings.
From the ACC, one of the country’s top rivalries is renewed as Florida State visits No. 12 Miami at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Seminoles were off last week and needed to regroup after a shocking 16-13 home loss to Georgia Tech on September 12 in Mike Norvell’s FSU coaching debut. He will miss this game, though, after testing positive for COVID-19. The Hurricanes are -11.5 but 1-6 ATS in the past seven at home in the series.
From the Big 12, No. 8 Texas visits Texas Tech at 3:30 p.m. Perhaps no team in the country has been hit harder by COVID-19 than the Red Raiders, who reported 75 players tested positive since players returned to campus in the middle of June. Twelve missed TTU’s 35-33 escape against FCS school Houston Baptist on September 12. Texas opened on September 12 as well against a terrible UTEP team and trounced the Miners 59-3. The Horns are -18 for this one and have won and covered their past five at TTU.