Every week, Rock M Nation will post the SEC betting lines for that week’s slate of games. DISCLAIMER: Rock M Nation is not an online gambling operator, nor a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only. None of the staff will be using this information for gambling purposes and are not liable for any losses incurred due to the analysis contained within.
It’s officially here - the first real week of the college football season. The entire conference is in action this weekend with 14 different SEC games available for you to watch, stretching from Thursday night through Sunday evening. College football, ladies and gentlemen, is BACK.
That means it’s time for our first week of picks against the spread. I can’t promise this is going to go well, but I can promise to provide picks to the best of my abilities. Whether you follow or fade, here’s to a good time for all, and may all of your bets cover.
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL:
Louisiana Tech (+19) @ Missouri - 7:00 on ESPNU
- Don’t let Louisiana Tech’s record last season (3-9) fool you. They quietly kept games close in the first half of the season last year against Mississippi State (35-34), SMU (39-37), NC State (34-27). They lost their starting quarterback, but bring back most of their weapons both offensively and defensively. I like Missouri to won, but I’ll take the Bulldogs with a backdoor cover.
Ball State @ Tennessee (-33) - 6:00 on SEC Network
- Do you remember Missouri’s offense against inferior opponents with Josh Heupel in charge? The Tigers showed no mercy. I expect something similar for Tennessee against Ball State. The Vols put up 60 points last year against South Alabama and 56 against Tennessee Tech. Expect a big (first half) season-debut for Heisman hopeful Hendon Hooker.
Oregon vs Georgia (-17) - 2:30 pm on ABC (Played in Atlanta, GA)
- Do you remember Bo Nix? The former Auburn quarterback has landed in Eugene with the Ducks. I’m not saying that’s why I’m siding with Georgia... But that’s a large part of why I’m siding with Georgia. Oh, and the Bulldogs’ best defensive lineman is also back for another year. Jalen Carter is a superstar, and you’ll see a whole lot of him on Saturday.
#23 Cincinnati (+6) @ #19 Arkansas - 2:30 pm on ESPN
- I understand KJ Jefferson is tremendous. But I’m just not a believer in that Arkansas offense without Treylon Burks. The Razorbacks’ second-leading receiver last season finished with fewer than 350 yards. Burks was at 1,100. Cincinnati has plenty of production to replace, but Luke Fickell has that program humming and I’m a believer in their infrastructure. Give me Cinci and the points.
Troy @ #21 Ole Miss (-22) - 3:00 pm on SEC Network
- How quickly can a team full of transfers come together? That’s the question with Ole Miss. The Rebels have a transfer likely starting at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. There are also a half dozen transfers likely to see playing time on the defensive side of the ball, too. I’m trusting things will come together quickly enough against a Troy team that isn’t the program it once was. The Rebels’ offense might get off to a slow start, but it’ll be enough to cover the spread late.
Utah (-2.5) @ Florida - 6:00 pm on ESPN
- This line has already been bet up from the opening line, and it might continue moving in that direction. Utah was one of the more under-appreciated teams in the country last year, finishing 16th in SP+ rankings. The Utes have some large shoes to replace at linebacker with Devin Lloyd moving on to the NFL, but the offense should be in good shape and Florida has questions all over the field in Billy Napier’s first season in Gainesville. This could be a rude awakening for the Gators, and a sign of things to come.
Miami-Ohio (+17.5) @ Kentucky - 6:00 pm on SECN+
- There has been some reverse line movement on this game. According to The Spread, about two-thirds of the bets have been placed on Kentucky, but the line has quickly moved in favor of Miami-Ohio. That tends to suggest there is some big money coming in on the RedHawks, and that’s the side I like. Kentucky has a lot of production to replace on the offensive side of the ball with Wan’Dale Robinson and both tackles heading to the NFL. The Wildcats are also replacing their offensive offensive coordinator, and it seems likely superstar running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. will miss at least the first few weeks of the season. Don’t expect Miami-Ohio to win, but this one should be closer than expected.
Utah State (+41) @ Alabama - 6:30 pm on SEC Network
- This is pretty simple: How long will Nick Saban play his starters? The Tide beat Southern Miss 63-14 and New Mexico State 59-3 last season, but they also “struggled” in their first lower level non-con game last season, beating Mercer 48-14. I think Bama pulls their star starters by halftime and Utah State has enough talent to keep it respectable in the second half. Bama wins big, but the Aggies cover the number.
Memphis @ Mississippi State (-14) - 6:30 pm on ESPNU
- Another line seeing some reverse movement. The Tigers are getting a good amount of public support, but the big money seems to be coming in on Mississippi State. Memphis has a tall task of replacing speedy wide receiver Calvin Austin III, who accounted for nearly one-third of the team’s receiving production last year. Mississippi State could be in for a long year in the SEC West, but Will Rogers has proven to be a capable quarterback and the Bulldogs return more production than any team in the SEC. I like Mississippi State to cover the points.
Georgia State (+12) @ South Carolina - 6:30 pm on SECN+
- There are very few teams tougher to peg for me than South Carolina. Spencer Rattler could prove once again he’s among the most talented quarterbacks in the country, or he could prove that last year was not a fluke and he’s not a legitimate power five starter. They return plenty of production outside of quarterback, but is that a good thing when you finished last season worse in SP+ than Illinois? Shane Beamer has folks in the other Columbia convinced this is going to be a better season, but color me skeptical. I’ll take Georgia State and their dominant rushing attack with the points.
SAURDAY - NO BETTING LINES:
Sam Houston State @ Texas A&M (No Line) - 11 am on SEC Network
Elon @ Vanderbilt (No Line) - 6:00 pm on SECN+
Mercer @ Auburn (No Line) - 6:00 pm on SECN+
Florida State (+3) @ LSU - 6:30 pm on ABC (Played in New Orleans, LA)
- It’s Brian Kelly time in the bayou, baby! This LSU team will not resemble the squad we’ve seen in recent seasons. The Tigers have added transfers galore, and if we know anything about Kelly’s history, he’ll run a tight ship with a disciplined program. That said, it could take some time before the results start to follow. Kelly went 4-7 in his first season at Central Michigan before finishing 9-4 in year three. It took a couple years at Notre Dame before things really picked up on a national level. The same could be true at LSU. The Tigers will be better, but the Seminoles take care of business and spoil Kelly’s debut in New Orleans.
Those are my picks for the week. Which SEC teams will you be taking this week against the spread?
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.