The Ole Miss Rebels and the Vanderbilt Commodores could not have turned in more different performances in their season openers last week, likely making for a much bigger spread than most bettors expected for the first SEC game of the year for both teams.
The Commodores saw the biggest line move of the week go against them in a 37-7 home loss to Temple, while the Rebels blew out Boise State 35-13 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic at the Georgia Dome.
Point spread: The Rebels opened as 14-point favorites, but they were laying 20 points by Wednesday; the total was 49.5 at LP Field, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).
Odds Shark computer prediction: 41.6-14.0 Rebels
Why the Mississippi Rebels can cover the spread
Ole Miss is one of the sleepers in the SEC this season, and with good reason. With so many powerhouse teams in the conference, the Rebels tend to get overlooked, and the best way for them to serve notice is to simply go out and win football games.
They did just that in the rout of the Broncos last week. Quarterback Bo Wallace threw for 386 yards and four touchdowns, and the team’s defense stepped up with four interceptions. Ole Miss has covered the spread in six of nine now and has won six of eight straight up as well.
In last year’s 39-35 win over Vanderbilt, Wallace completed 31 of 47 passes for 283 yards and rushed for 48 yards on 18 carries with two TDs to snap a three-game losing streak in the series.
Why the Vanderbilt Commodores can cover the spread
There’s no doubt the Commodores played terribly against the Owls after seeing bettors back Temple all the way from the opening line of +16.5 down to the close of +8.5.
But that was just one game, and Vandy has enjoyed past success against the Rebels, winning five of the last seven meetings straight up and going 10-3 against the spread in the past 13 games between the teams.
The public has likely already forgotten that the Commodores ended last season riding a five-game winning streak with a 4-1 ATS mark during that stretch.
Neither team converted well on third down last week, with the Owls somehow managing to win easily despite going 2-for-17 (12 percent). Vanderbilt is still adjusting to new head coach Derek Mason, who was formerly Stanford’s defensive coordinator and thrived there limiting pass-happy QBs like Wallace.
This week’s spread is a very typical overreaction number based mainly on what we saw last week. The Commodores lost some key playmakers from last season—most notably, wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who is now with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
But they should not be home underdogs of so many points in this spot. Likewise, Ole Miss should not be this big of a road favorite. Sure, the Rebels blew out Boise as 9.5-point favorites a week ago, but they have not beaten Vandy by more than 16 points in any of the the past 10 meetings.
In fact, Ole Miss has not won two straight meetings in the series over that same period. The Commodores may be down this year under Mason, but they should be able to stay within the number here.
- Mississippi is 2-5 SU in its last seven games when playing Vanderbilt.
- Vanderbilt is 4-26 SU as a home underdog since 2004.
All point-spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury updates and line-move updates, and get the free odds tracker app.