We need to turn this ship around. And we aren't going to do that by betting the way we have been betting. I'm going to go #guru on this, the way I normally do for college basketball. I'm looking at strengths and weaknesses. And god damnit, we're going to win a fucking bet!
The SEC's Best Rushing Teams
- LSU (334.0 yards per game, 75.4% of offensive plays)
- Georgia (244.8, 61.2%)
- Tennessee (225.0, 63.5%)
- Arkansas (204.0, 58.3%)
- Alabama (199.8, 52.8%)
- South Carolina (190.2, 60.1%)
- Auburn (190.0, 66.0%)
- Texas A&M (188.0, 54.1%)
- Ole Miss (173.0, 49.7%)
- Vanderbilt (157.0, 50.4%)
- Mississippi State (155.0, 44.1%)
- Florida (140.6, 53.1%)
- Kentucky (135.0, 53.4%)
- Missouri (116.2, 51.8%)
The SEC's Best Passing Teams
- Ole Miss (327.4 yards per game, 50.3% of offensive plays)
- Texas A&M (292.4, 45.9%)
- Mississippi State (284.8, 55.9%)
- Arkansas (272.0, 41.7%)
- Vanderbilt (255.4, 49.6%)
- Florida (253.6, 46.9%)
- Alabama (244.0, 47.2%)
- Kentucky (230.6, 46.6%)
- Georgia (208.0, 38.8%)
- Missouri (203.0, 48.2%)
- Tennessee (192.8, 36.5%)
- South Carolina (163.2, 39.9%)
- Auburn (153.8, 34.0%)
- LSU (95.5, 24.6%)
My first takeaway is LSU might as well not even have a quarterback. The same goes for Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. Arkansas is right on the border.
Here are the SEC matchups this weekend:
Georgia (-3.5) @ Tennessee, 3:30
Lotttttt of rushing yards to be had here. In SEC play, Georgia beat Vandy and SC both handily, then got creamed by Alabama. That doesn't really tell us a whole lot, other than those lists I just made are utterly useless.
I can tell you that UGA held Vandy - granted, a team not totally committed to rushing - to just 105 yards and 2.7 yards per carry. South Carolina, a team that focuses more on the run, managed to get 174 yards and 4.5 yards per carry. Alabama runs more effectively (although not necessarily more) than either of those teams, and they hit the Dawgs for 189 yards while holding Georgia to 193.
This is pretty simple then: will Tennessee be able to hold Georgia's rushing attack in check and counter it with Jalen Hurd and Josh Dobbs? The Vols did that to Florida, though the Gators are more of a balanced attack. Arkansas ran ALL OVER Tennessee, out-rushing them 275 to 133. That didn't get reflected on the scoreboard, though, as the Hogs only won 24-20. Of their 11 total drives (not counting the end of the game), Arkansas scored just two touchdowns and two field goals.
Four different Georgia players have combined to rush for the team's 15 touchdowns, and Malcolm Mitchell and Sonny Michel have each caught 3 of the team's 8 passing touchdowns. Greyson Lambert is one of the better quarterbacks in the SEC, and the Dawgs are going to be hungry after last week's embarrassment. I'm in.
LSU (-15) @ South Carolina, 3:30
In conference, LSU has played Mississippi State and Auburn. That should give us a good look at how they fare against pass-heavy teams and against rush-heavy teams. They squeaked by on the road at MSU (21-19), and creamed Auburn at home (45-21), and the Tigers sit at a Kind Of Overinflated 4-0
That Auburn game is key because those blue and orange tigers are similar to South Carolina. They want to pound the ball on the ground. Auburn did that against LSU, totaling 160 yards and 4.3 yards per carry. But 65 of those yards (and the only rushing touchdown) came on one touchdown run for Jeremy Johnson, who still only averaged 3.4 yards per attempt.
I'm penciling in the Cocks for the high teens or low twenties. Can LSU score enough to cover two touchdowns? If their games against Kentucky (3 rushing touchdowns), Georgia (4), and Mizzou (1) mean anything, it is going to be a busy day for Future Heisman Winner Leonard Fournette. Give me the Tigers on the road and let's help the Ol' Ball Coach one step closer to living on a beach.
Arkansas @ Alabama (-16.5), 7:00
If you just look at the two lists above, this looks like it should be a lot closer than a 17 point game. It seems like half of that spread is coming from Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin being a million times better than Brent Bylsma, and the other half is coming from the players on the field.
'Bama has played 3 legitimate top-25 teams: they beat Wisconsin by 18, lost to Ole Miss by 6, and just thrashed Georgia by 28 last week.
Arkansas has played one team that is MAYBE as good as any of those three - Texas A&M, who beat the Hogs by 7.
To cover this big of a spread, though, Alabama is going to have to be firing on all cylinders. Derrick Henry has 9 touchdowns so far, and he's going to need at least a pair. Jake Coker has run for 2 touchdowns and thrown for 9, but he's also thrown 4 interceptions this year. Arkansas has 3 interceptions on the year, but one came against UTEP and the other two came against Texas Tech, who have attempted 44 more passes than any SEC team (and 61 more than the Tide).
This one is going to be a game time decision. Rule number one is Never Bet On The Worse Team, so it's either Alabama or nothing. Spoiler alert: on Saturday at like 6:58, it will be Alabama.
Florida (-5) @ Missouri, 7:30
These two have three things in common. (1) They stink. (2) They run the ball slightly more than they throw the ball. (3) They aren't particularly effective at running or throwing the ball.
Bovada doesn't post over/under numbers until game day, but my side chick (Sportsbook.ag) has the total for this game at 39.5. Both of these teams are going to be kind of inflated coming off wins last week (Mizzou 24-10 against South Carolina and Florida 38-10 against Ole Miss), and I think this number is actually inflated too.
I'm never a person that bets the under. I think, if your goal is to enjoy watching the game, betting the under is incredibly counterproductive. But listen, man. I made those lists. It told us that these two teams don't do anything good on offense. Courtesy of Fox Sports, I can also tell you that they are the first- and third-ranked teams in the SEC in points against per game.
Neither team is breaking twenty points, baby! Under 39.5! Catch the fever!