Written by Jay Horne of Bangthebook.com your football betting picks resource site!
Bookmaker betting line – Rebels –17, 55 O/U
The 8th ranked Ole Miss Rebels head up the road to take on the Memphis Tigers this Sunday afternoon in both teams first contest of the year. Mississippi will enter the games with tons of anticipation for the 2009 season. The Rebels were among the biggest surprise stories of the 2008 season behind new coach Houston Nutt. The Rebels finally found success through the offense after struggling for most of the decade behind sensation quarterback Jevan Snead. Now the offense becomes the forefront of high expectations. However, the Rebels will have to face their first test on the road against a hungry Memphis team who is looking to rebound after a mediocre season a year ago. The Tigers have a lot of promising hopes on the offensive side of the ball as well this year and they hope the offense can explode to upset the Rebels this Sunday afternoon.
If you remember correctly, the Rebels return the majority of the same team that was the only to defeat the mighty Florida Gators last year. The Rebels will return one of the most promising offenses in the SEC. Jevan Snead has one of the best arms east of the Mississippi coming off a big season throwing for 2,762 yards and 26 touchdowns. Also, Snead will be accompanied by the all-purpose threat of Dexter McCluster. McCluster is a dangerous player who can get yards on the ground and is equally dangerous catching passes through the air. Shay Hodge should also be on the verge of a big year aiding the air assault that will be the big strength of the offense this year.
However, the strength of the team could still be on the defensive side of the ball despite the hype around the offense. The Rebels defense ranked 19th nationally in 2008 and 4th in rush defense. The defensive front will again be among the best in the country and they really played well last season against some really good offensive teams. Add that to the promising outlook on offense and perhaps you can see why expectations are so high for year two behind Houston Nutt.
The Memphis Tigers had a disappointing 6-7 overall record last season and are also looking for things to be much brighter in 2009. The Tigers will be led by the athletic play of senior quarterback Arkelon Hall. Hall threw for 2,276 yards and 12 score despite throwing 7 picks on the season. However, if Hall can make things happen through the air they should be able to keep defenses on their heels with the firepower on the ground. Not only is Hall a dual threat quarterback, but senior tailback Curtis Steele should have plenty of success this season. Steele rushed for 1,223 yards in his junior campaign along with 7 scores. If the offensive line can be a little better this season, expect the running game to add some excitement to the Tigers offense.
On defense, the Tigers were so-so allowing 350 yards per game. Although, the 200 yards per game allowed by the pass defense may cause concern when Snead and company come rolling to town. Although, this year the defensive front may be the biggest concern considering they experienced the most casualties. Memphis must be able to get some pressure on Snead if they are to make a difference on defense. The Rebels will have some offense success, but the big area of the game that could help score the upset could be the turnover game. If Memphis can score some turnovers early in the game and keep the offense from firing out the gates, then they will have a legitimate shot to make a run at an upset. However if they can not force the turnovers, they will need some playmakers to emerge quickly on defense.
Pick – Under 55