Two weeks of college football action in the books … two fantastic weeks of straight up and against-the-spread performances for the Southeastern Conference.
Last Thursday, we discussed a 13-1 opening salvo that went 11-3 against the spread in non-conference action. The SEC followed that up with an 8-2 straight up mark against outsiders (four league teams faced each other), 7-3 against the spread. Through two weeks, that’s 21-3 straight up against opponents from other conferences, 18-6 against betting market point spreads.
As was the case in openers, there were some “bullying cupcakes” results on the card that might give false reads down the road. But, if you focus on the toughest challenges, the SEC still shines through. You’ll recall last week we showed you a chart focusing only on results at point spreads of 24 or less. The SEC started out 5-2 ATS in those. Let’s update…
SEC at -24 or Less in Week Two
Missouri (-20) beat Wyoming 40-13
Arkansas (-13.5) lost to Colorado State 34-27
Vanderbilt (-10) beat Nevada 41-10
Mississippi State (-8) won at Kansas State 31-10
Texas A&M (+12) lost to Clemson 28-26
That’s 4-1 against the spread, making it 9-3, 75% so far this season versus its most competitive opponents. Same rate as the overall cover mark of 18-6. Nobody could make the case that the SEC as a whole is creating illusions of greatness by bullying bad teams. The SEC is bullying good teams! And, its projected also-rans are hanging tough with national elites.
Arkansas was an embarrassment. But, note again all the double digit covers. Vandy covered by three touchdowns (its second straight statement vs. mid-level opposition). Mississippi State covered by just under two touchdowns. A&M almost forced overtime as a bit dog against a perennial Final Four threat.
We’ll continue to monitor the market’s response to the SEC’s hot start in future reports. Now, let’s recap what happened last week for the three Mississippi schools we’ll be following for you all season…
▪ Mississippi State (-8) won at Kansas State 31-10, with a staggering rushing yardage advantage of 384-113. Total yardage was 538-213. That’s called passing a test! Many respected bettors believed the Bulldogs would have some trouble in Manhattan. Bad read from the sharps. State 2-0 so far straight up and ATS.
▪ Ole Miss (-28) beat Southern Illinois 76-41. Rebels fans were SHOCKED to see their team trailing 38-35 at halftime! Salukis ran out of gas in a track meet against superior athletes. Mississippi never called off the dogs on its way to a late cover. Rebels also 2-0 straight up and ATS.
▪ Southern Miss (-6) lost to Louisiana-Monroe 21-20. Disappointing result for the home favorite. Eagles won total yardage 436-354, but lost the turnover battle 4-2. One of those was a fumble returned for a Monroe touchdown. Southern Miss is 1-1 straight up and ATS.
▪ Ole Miss (+21) hosts Alabama in a high-energy showdown that will be nationally televised at 6 p.m. by ESPN. Mississippi’s defense will have to step up significantly. Crimson Tide has much many dynamic scoring threats than Southern Illinois did, and there’s no way a Nick Saban team is going to lose its legs in the second half.
▪ Mississippi State (-33) hosts Louisiana-Lafayette. Might be tough to get up emotionally after bearing down so hard for a big road win last week. State’s SEC opener at Kentucky is on deck.
▪ Southern Miss (+15) visits Appalachian State. The market, as well as math-based models, are showing great respect to Appalachian State. Mountaineers took Penn State to overtime in a statistical dead heat in Happy Valley the week before the Nittany Lions pounded Pittsburgh. Last week, the Appalachian State crushed Charlotte 45-9.
Back with you Saturday to search through the wreckage of the New Orleans Saints’ stunning season-opening home loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs. A Las Vegas oddsmaker told VSiN “The Saints losing on Sunday was one of the best results in the NFL in the history of Nevada.” We’ll discuss why and preview Browns/Saints.