Gaming industry journalist David Purdum (@DavidPurdum on Twitter) is back to help us sort out whats going on in the desert. This being Kentucky week, it makes sense that the first question I asked him was about next weeks Georgia line. Right? Here, David gives us the skinny on what to look for next week and more great nuggets about whats going in the SEC betting world.
David, Im going to start with the theme I have established for the week, which is, Lets overlook Kentucky and go right to the Georgia game. What is the thinking on the early line in that game?
It opened up at Georgia minus-2.5. This is way back in June, a Nevada sports book called the Golden Nugget opened up what they call their Game of the Year lines, and they had Georgia 2.5-point favorite, and it actually got bet up to three. This was before the season started. I dont think the perception of either team has changed dramatically, but I can say that the power ratings from the Vegas odds makers that I deal with have Georgia rated just barely ahead of South Carolina, Im talking like a half point. If you figure it homefield advantage at a standard three points, and I think Williams-Brice is a standard three-point advantage, you could see South Carolina favored by two or up to three or you could see Georgia favored by up to three. It will be interesting to see. Obviously, with this weeks games and no injuries happening, itll be a very, very close line. I do not see it being higher than a field goal either side.
I shouldnt completely overlook Kentucky, though. South Carolina is a 21-point favorite. I cant remember the last time the Gamecocks were a three-touchdown favorite in an SEC road game. What do see in this game?
I was a little surprised that they released it early because we dont know much about the status of (Kentucky quarterback) Maxwell Smith, who I think most people believe is the better of the Kentucky quarterbacks. Before a Georgia game, I mean you are already looking ahead, could they pull back the reins a little bit. It will be interesting because it is a big line.
What else is going on the SEC?
South Carolina made a little move in the BCS title odds. They were 25-to-1; they jumped to 20-to-1 with the win last week so they are slowly inching their way up among the favorites to win the BCS title, which is kind of a shock to everybody, but the other big news is Alabama, this is going to be their 31st straight game as a favorite. The record is Southern Cal, in 2003 through 2007, they were favored in 58 straight games. Alabama is a 31.5-point favorite over Ole Miss, which is the third-largest spread in an SEC game in the last 10 years.
How has Vegas adapted to Alabama as a huge favorite?
Alabama could be as high as a four- or five-point favorite at LSU. That number may go up a little bit. Overall, Les Miles has a terrible record against the spread in the SEC. They were great last year covering games but before that, I want to say he was 10 to 15 games under .500 covering games in the SEC.