SEC First Glance: Pivotal Games In Fayetteville And Oxford, With A Sleeper On The Plains.

Another week has passed in the SEC, which saw Tennessee and Texas A&M pull off massive wins. Now the focus turns towards Oxford, Fayetteville and Auburn, as the SEC kicks off Week Five of conference play.

The biggest games will feature Alabama vs. Arkansas and Kentucky vs. Ole Miss. But don’t sleep on Auburn and LSU’s Saturday night battle. Also, the return of Chris Rodriquez comes at the perfect time for the Wildcats.

Here’s a look at the opening lines, provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and a quick glance at the upcoming weekend.

Alabama (-15.5) @ Arkansas

Coming off the heartbreaking loss to Texas A&M, the Razorbacks won’t have time to sulk, as Alabama heads to Fayetteville for a pivotal matchup. The Tide are coming off a lopsided win over Vanderbilt and look healthy, behind quarterback Bryce Young. This will be the second big road test of the season for Nick Saban’s squad, after their close win at Texas in Week Two.

Arkansas Is 3-1 Entering Week Five

As for Arkansas, the breaks didn’t go its way against the Aggies. Even though KJ Jefferson looked impressive again, the massive turnover in the second quarter and missed field goal towards the end of the fourth gave the Razorbacks their first loss. I’ll be intrigued to see how the Hogs respond after the loss in Arlington.

This spread doesn’t feel like a massive challenge for Arkansas. They’ve proven to have a quality offense that could potentially cause problems for Alabama, but it will all depend on Rock Sanders and KJ Jefferson. The Alabama defense has certainly fixed a few things over the last two weeks. Pay attention to this line over the next few days.

Kentucky @ Ole Miss (-5.5)

The biggest storyline heading into this matchup in Oxford will be the return of Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez. The Wildcats were already a threat with Will Levis, but add Rodriquez to the fold and teams could have a problem on their hands. Ole Miss is coming off an eight point win over Tulsa, with the offense looking stale in the second half again.

Consistency is becoming a problem for this Lane Kiffin offense, though they did score 28 points in the second quarter on Saturday.

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – OCTOBER 02: Chris Rodriguez Jr #24 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates as time runs out in the 20-13 win against the Florida Gators at Kroger Field on October 02, 2021 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

If you’re wondering how Kentucky will handle a hostile environment, I’ll refer you back to the win in Gainesville two weeks ago. Coming off the win over Northern Illinois, the Wildcats are healthy and ready for whatever Ole Miss throws at them, especially on defense. The Rebels will need Zach Evans and Jaxson Dart to consistently eat up yards against a tough Wildcats defense if they’re going to get the win.

Both teams are coming into this game undefeated and looking to continue making national noise, while keeping up with divisional races. If Ole Miss is going to give Kentucky problems for four quarters, falling off on offense in the second half will finally catch up with them. The Wildcats will look tp punish the Rebels with their rushing attack, from both Levis and Rodriquez. I’d watch this line during the week, with some love for Kentucky possibly on the way.

LSU (-7) @ Auburn

The Auburn football program seems to be hanging by a thread, especially at the quarterback position. The status of TJ Finley is still up in the air and Robby Ashford took a beating against Missouri. Somehow Auburn escaped the loss to Eli Drinkwitz, after Mizzou missed a 22-yard game-winning field goal, which would have most likely sent everyone on the Plains into a frenzy.

As for LSU, coming off wins against Mississippi State and New Mexico over the past two weeks, it feels as if Brian Kelly has gotten comfortable with QB Jayden Daniels. How this translate to this field on Saturday night will be interesting, with Auburn needing a big defensive performance. Can Tank Bigsby and the Tigers rushing attack cause problems for LSU? The past few weeks have shown this could be a cause for concern for Harsin.

This feels like a game LSU should win, but we’ve seen some crazy finished between these two teams. I wouldn’t expect this line to change much during the week, so grab it if you want it.

Texas A&M @ Mississippi State (-2)

How bout those Aggies? A wild Saturday night in Arlington saw Texas A&M pull the upset over Arkansas, without needing much of a passing attack. Max Johnson was average for Jimbo Fisher at quarterback, while Devon Achane had a fantastic night rushing the ball against the Razorbacks.

No matter how the games have looked, Texas A&M has won two straight, after losing to App State. The win against Miami doesn’t look very impressive now, after MTSU humiliated the Hurricanes, but the Aggies have momentum.

After losing to LSU two weeks ago, Mississippi State came out and put Bowling Green away early this past weekend. Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers threw for six touchdowns in the win and looked comfortable in the pocket. We’ve seen teams find open space in the Aggies secondary, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Mike Leach have Rogers throw it at least 45 times.

This game will come down to whether or not Texas A&M can force Rogers into passing mistakes, while Mississippi State will need to step-up defensively against the run. This game feels like a mousetrap for the Aggies, with the Bulldogs waiting to pounce, just like 2021. I wouldn’t expect this line to move much, but I’m leaning towards the home team at the moment.

Other Games Of Note

Georgia (-27.5) at Missouri

Good luck, Tigers. This feels like a Georgia beatdown is coming. I don’t expect much out of Missouri this weekend against the Bulldogs defense or offense. Give me Georgia and the points.

South Carolina State @ South Carolina

Yeah, this shouldn’t be close.

Eastern Washington @ Florida

Again, another game that shouldn’t be close at halftime.

 Sign up for DraftKings Sportsbook and get $200 in free bets after placing and winning a single $5 moneyline bet on any NFL game.

That’s it for the SEC slate of games for the upcoming weekend. Happy Betting!

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

Leave a Reply