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College football fanatics, we made it (no disrespect to the SunBelt, ACC, BigXII, etc)! Each season we unveil our Bet the Board top 10 updating our rankings throughout the fall sharing the numbers exclusively with our loyal fans at Outkick. Of course that’s not all as we’ll provide a best bet in this column each week that differs from our top investment on the podcast.
It’s only fitting that this week’s overrated and underrated teams also both reside in SEC country; sure to infuriate and enlighten fans across the top conference in all the land. Unfortunately investing in season openers didn’t yield much upside so we’ll leave those bets to the fade Clay Travis fans and we’ll head to the ACC instead…but more on that later.
Keep in mind we’re operating under the very real assumption that the Big Ten will kick off late October so you’ll see a strong dose of Midwestern flavor included in our rankings. As for the Pac12? Well even if they were playing none of those programs would have worked into the top 10 right now anyways.
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Bet the Board Top 10 Championship Week:
1.) Ohio State
6.) Penn State
7.) Notre Dame
10.) Texas A&M
LSU topped off an unforgettable 2019-2020 season with a blowout championship win over another dominant program in Clemson. The AP Poll currently slots the defending champions at #6 but as you can see above we don’t even have them in our Top 10 to start the season. LSU lost 20 players this offseason, 14 of which headed to the 2020 NFL draft and that’s before we account for all the impact players that opted out and key members of the coaching staff that took their talents elsewhere. Now the program turns toward junior QB Myles Brennan to be the heir apparent to Joe Burrow and those are some mighty big shoes to fill. With only 1 starter returning on the offensive line this season, there is too much turnover to have the LSU Tigers in the Top 10 at this juncture in our opinion. The betting market seems to agree with our sentiment that the Tigers may be overrated coming into this season as money has come in on the Mississippi State Bulldogs this week, driving this line down to 16.5 from the open of 19.5 at Fanduel.
Despite losing Lynn Bowden Jr. to the professional ranks, the Wildcats ground game shouldn’t miss a beat. QB Terry Wilson is expected to be the man under center (12-3 as a starter) and all three of their leading running backs in Rose, Rodriguez and Smoke, will run behind an underrated offensive line that returns two ALL-SEC lineman in Drake Jackson and Landon Young. The defense looks to be absolutely loaded with edge rusher Boogie Watson returning and a healthy and talented secondary with cornerbacks Brandin Echols and Kelvin Joseph leading the charge. Coach Mark Stoops defenses typically play downhill, physical football, and he has the talent this year to wreck havoc amongst the SEC elite. Kentucky is also home to the Ray Guy award winner, punter Max Duffy, who could give them a special teams edge that usually goes unnoticed by most casual fans. While the usual suspects of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Auburn garner all the preseason hype, this Kentucky team could be sneaky good. Week 1 offers an intriguing matchup at Auburn, where the Wildcats are just over a touchdown underdog and poised to make some waves right out of the gates.
Best Bet: 449 Duke+5.5(-110)
With two games under their belt and some revenge on their minds from last season’s blowout loss, we’ll look to back the Dukies at any price above 4. In this unusual season there is an opportunity to place our money on a team with two games played against one yet to hit the field after Covid complications disrupted their early season schedule. Virginia is trotting out a new QB under center in redshirt sophomore Brennan Armstrong and is dealing with two significant injuries to LB Robert Snyder and OT Bobby Haskins. Meanwhile their transfer from Penn State, tackle Alex Gellerstedt, recently opted out this past week leaving a major void on the offensive line. Looking back on Duke’s two performances they were never in danger of being outside of the number Week 1 vs. a talented Notre Dame squad remaining within striking distance until the final stanza. Last week Duke “puked” all over themselves, done in by turnover after turnover, amassing 5 by the final whistle and thus giving themselves zero chance of success against BC. We’re of the opinion Virginia could start a little slow out of the gates and the Blue Devils poor performance last week creates line value this Saturday. Duke+5.5, 1H+3, ML+180 are all worth a look.