SEC Football Week 1 Handicapping Guide
The 2012 college football season gets underway this week and all eyes will be focused on the Southeastern Conference to see if one of its teams can claim a BCS National Title for the seventh straight year. The following is a look at a couple of the top matchups this week in the SEC along with betting lines as provided by 5Dimes.
South Carolina Gamecocks (-7) vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Total Line: 46
Look for the much anticipated return of South Carolina running back Marcos Lattimore in the team’s season opener. He went down with a knee injury last October, but has been cleared to play on Thursday night. It also looks like Conner Shaw will be at quarterback for the Gamecocks after suffering from back spasms last Thursday. He takes over the full-time starting role this season after completing 65.4 percent of his passes for 1,448 yards and 14 touchdowns last year.
It has been a rough go of it for Vanderbilt in the SEC the last three seasons with a combined total of just three straight-up victories in the conference. Last season, the Commodores went 2-6 SU in the SEC and were 6-7 SU overall.
The road team in this series is 6-2 against the spread in the last eight meetings and the total has stayed ‘under’ in four of the last five. The Gamecocks are 8-2 SU in the last 10 meetings, but Vanderbilt is 5-4-1 ATS.
Clemson Tigers (-3) vs. Auburn Tigers Total Line: 56.5
This ACC/SEC rivalry has been staged the last two seasons with Auburn winning 27-24 in overtime in 2010 as a 7.5-point home favorite and Clemson evening things up last year with a 38-24 victory as a 3.5-point favorite at home. This season, the ACC’s Tigers come into this matchup as the third favorite to win their conference at 5/1 and are ranked 14th in the country in the AP preseason poll.
There are six teams in the SEC with better odds to win the conference than Auburn, which has been opened at 25/1. These Tigers are coming off an 8-5 record in 2011 and will start this season with sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier as their starting quarterback. He only threw 12 passes in 2011 and was used primarily in the Wildcat formation. He will try and resurrect an Auburn passing game that was almost non-existent last season with an average of just 155.5 yards a game.
This game will be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta which could favor Auburn. Clemson is 2-7 ATS in its last nine games played at a neutral site while the Auburn is 5-1 ATS in its last six neutral site games. However, keep in mind that Auburn is also 2-7-1 ATS in its last 10 games against the ACC.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (-13) Total Line: 45
Michigan is currently a 2/1 second-favorite to win the Big Ten this season and the No.8-ranked team in the nation in the initial AP Poll. It will undoubtedly be tested in this season-opener, but a SU win out of the gate against the defending national champions would put the Wolverines in the driver seat for a run at its own BCS title.
The Crimson Tide are 2/1 favorites to win the SEC this season and 5/1 second-favorites to successfully defend their title. There are a number of question marks coming into this matchup with quite a few new faces on both sides of the ball, but there is little doubt that this Alabama team remains deep in talent especially on defense.
Saturday night’s showdown will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Wolverines are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 non-conference games but 1-3-1 ATS in their last five neutral site games. Alabama is 8-1 ATS in its last nine non-conference games and a perfect 5-0 ATS in its last five games played at a neutral site.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.