SEC Football: Georgia at South Carolina Headlines Surprises in Early Vegas Lines
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The good folks at the Golden Nugget cured the early summer doldrums on Monday when they revealed 111 early college football lines (via KegsNEggsBlog.com) for the 2012 season. Several of those lines involving SEC teams jumped off the page as surprising.
Being accurate with these lines is the livelihood of the people that set them, so these lines reveal how good (or bad) the professionals expect these teams to be.
Georgia (-2.5) at South Carolina
Georgia a road favorite over South Carolina? Come on. South Carolina topped Georgia in Athens last season 45-42 and swept the entire SEC East en route to its first 11-win season in school history.
The Gamecocks get the benefit of quarterback Connor Shaw with a full offseason as the unquestioned starter, return one of the top defenses in the SEC and running back Marcus Lattimore should be back up to speed by early October.
If this game were in Athens, I could see it. But Georgia as road favorite over South Carolina? No.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Alabama (-12) vs. Michigan (in Arlington, Texas)
Alabama is good, but the timing of this game alone should make it at most a single-digit spread. The Tide has to replace defensive lineman Josh Chapman, linebackers Don'ta Hightower and Courtney Upshaw, cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie and safety Mark Barron off of one of college football's all-time best defenses. Alabama will probably win, but Denard Robinson can make things happen at quarterback.
This one is a four-quarter game, and if Alabama wins by more than 12 points, I'd be a bit surprised.
Florida (PK) at Texas A&M
Florida is coming off a mediocre 7-6 season, but is still a talented team that knows the ropes of the SEC. Texas A&M, on the other hand, already has the reputation of not being able to finish games.
Florida's defense finished with the nation's eighth-best defense a year ago, and is facing a Texas A&M offense that is undergoing a scheme change this offseason and breaking in a new quarterback.
Florida wins big. Really big.
Arkansas (-4.5) at Auburn
Arkansas is getting knocked a bit with the absence of Bobby Petrino roaming the sidelines, but the Arkansas offense will still be potent. Quarterback Tyler Wilson is a Heisman contender, and still has plenty of weapons in wide receiver Cobi Hamilton and tight end Chris Gragg. Plus, the return of running back Knile Davis should take some pressure off of Wilson.
Auburn's defense will be improved under first-year defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, but not enough to keep this one close.
Alabama (+2) at LSU
Okay, this point spread isn't overly shocking considering the two teams split their two meetings last season, but it has to be mentioned. The small two-point advantage that the Golden Nugget is giving LSU at home is an indicator that Las Vegas sees this game as, essentially, a toss up.
Both teams should have filled all of their offseason holes by the time November 3 rolls around, so this one has all of the makings of another classic.
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