Three games involving SEC teams are capturing the majority of media attention this weekend. Two of the games – Alabama at Arkansas and Florida at Tennessee – feature conference openers for three of the squads. Florida looks to go 2-0 in SEC play with a victory in Knoxville. The other contest – Texas at Ole Miss – features a Big 12/SEC matchup under the lights in Oxford.
Who does the public like? Who do the media favor in these matchups? Read on to find out who’s putting their money where there mouth is or their reputations on the line.
Alabama at Arkansas
Opening line: Alabama the pick – opening line varied – as low as 11 in some places.
Current line: Alabama by 20 points
The public likes? Alabama – 75% of bets according to TheSpread.com
The experts like? We checked with the Sporting News, Yahoo!, CBS, CollegeFootballTalk, USA Today and Phil Steele. We could find only one – we count 23 picks among them – that was willing to take Arkansas and that’s against the spread – not to win outright. CBS issues two sets of picks – with and without the spread. Both groups favor the Tide. But Phil Steele bucks the trend. ”I am shocked that Alabama is now favored by nearly three touchdowns and with everyone piling on the Hogs this week, I actually think they have a shot to be competitive here.” Steele calls for a 27-20 Alabama win.
An efficient market happens when all publicly available information is incorporated into the price. We saw that in action here. When word came down Friday morning that Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson wouldn’t play Saturday – the line didn’t budge. Bookies and bettors had already anticipated that information.
Texas at Ole Miss
Opening line: Texas by 11
Current line: Texas by 9 1/2 to 10.
The public likes: Texas – 68% of bets according to TheSpread.com
The experts like? Same group as above but adding Athlon Sports and removing CollegeFootballTalk.com (no pick) Similar story here but with one exception. Against the spread, one lone voice at CBS speaks up and takes the Rebels (with a 10 1/2 point line). Athlon picks the Longhorns against a 9-point spread. Steve Greenberg of the Sporting News says Texas wins by 10. Phil Steele says Texas 35 – Ole Miss 17.
Can a borderline double-digit underdog pull it out – or at least cover – at home? If they can, should be one of the more interesting non-conference matchups of the weekend.
Florida at Tennessee
Opening line: Tennessee by 2
Current line: Tennessee by 3
The public likes? Tennessee – 68% of bets according to TheSpread.com
The experts like? No surprise here given the small line – experts are divided. We count 14 picking the Vols, nine siding the Gators. Against the spread, the CBS panel has four members on the Vols,three on the Gators. Phil Steele is on the contrarian side here as well – picking Florida to win outright 24-20.
Not the consensus pick as the previous two but both the public and the media panels are leaning toward the Vols.
The Tennessee-Florida game provides a segue way to this trivia question. How many times have current SEC members been featured on ESPN’s GameDay? We’ll hang up and listen to your answer. Higher….higher…nope, lower. You can find out the answer here. Did you get it right?
You can check out MrSEC’s take on Tennessee-Florida and everything else around the SEC this weekend here
Who do you like this weekend?