When it comes to quarterbacks in the SEC, right now it’s Tua and everyone else. Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is the most dynamic offensive player in the conference, and the overwhelming college football betting favorite to take home the Heisman Trophy.
Much like the top-ranked Crimson Tide squad he quarterbacks, he’s at a level above the rest.
As for the others? Several seem capable of reaching an elite level but haven’t shown it yet. Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald was humbled by Kentucky last week. Jordan Ta’amu of Ole Miss rolls up yardage on a bad team.
Drew Lock of Missouri, Jake Bentley of South Carolina and Kellen Mond of Texas A&M haven’t beaten anyone of note. Feleipe Franks of Florida has yet to truly develop.
The good news is they still have plenty of time to make their mark, with a few of those quarterbacks facing critical games Saturday. With that, here are six best bets in the SEC for Week 5.
LSU has remained unbeaten against a rugged schedule by minimizing turnovers and maximizing scoring opportunities. The Tigers have committed one turnover all season and cashed in on all 16 red-zone chances.
Joe Burrow’s presence at quarterback has stabilized an offense that presents an array of skill-position standouts, and this week meets an Ole Miss defense that’s worst in the league in every category.
Oddsmakers must think the Rebels’ offense can stay in it — but LSU hasn’t allowed more than 21 points to any opponent, and it’s easy to foresee a two-touchdown margin in Death Valley. Take LSU -11.5 with SugarHouse.
While there’s been plenty of conversation on why the Razorbacks hired a head coach with a losing record at his last stop, Chad Morris wasn’t exactly left with a loaded roster. Still, this is bottom-out stuff from the Hogs, who have the league’s worst offense and are looking at one long week after another in the SEC West.
Those travails should continue in Arlington, Texas, against Mond and the Aggies, who are averaging a league-best 545 yards per game and capable of putting up too many points for Arkansas to keep pace with.
Let’s put it this way: The Razorbacks lost by 31 to Auburn, and it seemed like a moral victory. Bet Texas A&M -20.5 with SugarHouse.
Kentucky has beaten the Gamecocks four years running, and it eats at South Carolina fans like a batch of bad mustard-based barbecue. This Kentucky team is ranked, unbeaten and sports a fantastic defense that shut down Mississippi State last week.
The Gamecocks have a better quarterback in Bentley and a better collection of skill-position players on offense.
But Kentucky has a defense and a running back in Benny Snell capable of controlling the game, and weird things can happen in Lexington -- such as five in a row by the ’Cats over South Carolina.
While plucky Southern Miss has sometimes proven capable of staying in games with SEC opponents, it’s hard to see the Golden Eagles pulling a shocker in Jordan-Hare Stadium this week.
And yet, coach Jay Hopson’s team can put up some points, averaging 38 per game after hanging 55 on hapless Rice a week ago. While Southern Miss might give Auburn more of a fight than Arkansas did last week, it’s tough to pull the trigger on the Eagles as a four-touchdown underdog.
Going over a total of 53.5 points with SugarHouse is far more palatable.
They may be overshadowed by Tua Mania, but Georgia and quarterback Jake Fromm keep taking care of business. Routs on the road of capable South Carolina and Missouri teams are more impressive than they look.
Into Athens limps a Tennessee team hammered at home by Florida last week, and perhaps girding for worse. That Vols defense continues to be wretched, and a line of Georgia -31.5 is mind-boggling for a game that once pitted two traditional powers.
The Bulldogs won 41-0 last year in Knoxville. Saturday, Georgia might hit the over by itself. That’s why betting over 52 with SugarHouse makes sense.
So, think the cowbells will be lying in wait for this one? Dan Mullen returns to StarkVegas as the coach of the Gators in what’s sure to be an emotional night. The Bulldogs return home after being manhandled at Kentucky. Florida comes in after blasting Tennessee, but with an offense that remains pedestrian.
Mullen didn’t leave on bad terms; if anything, many seemed to appreciate what he accomplished at a place where it can be very hard to win. At the same time, Mississippi State will be jacked up over the prospect of delivering a message to its former head coach. Bet Mississippi State -7.5 with SugarHouse.