When you are football-crazy, you look for signs of the new season wherever you can. It begins around Memorial Day, as the new preseason magazines begin to hit newsstands. Mostly, you’re going to casually peruse them, leaning against the magazine rack in Barnes & Noble. A quick glance at where your Hogs are projected and...you gently set the magazine back down. That copy can be for someone else.
The next week or two after that, you’ll hear reports that the freshmen, those who didn’t start school in January, have gotten on campus to begin summer classes and workouts. Hey! The new team is coming together. That’s exciting!
Then, a couple weeks after that, the most knowledgeable of all sports prognosticators, the bookmakers, come down from the mountain to deliver the stone tablet that’s inscribed:
Arkansas Regular Season Wins: 6 (over +235, under -295)
That’s what the Bovada book is showing right now. You may see 5.5 wins elsewhere, but 6 wins seems to be the usual. If you’re new to gambling in sports, that part that says “under -295” indicates that most of the money being bet is for the Hogs to not achieve that sixth win in the regular season.
Also, if you’re new to gambling in sports, hi, here’s a friendly piece of advice: gambling on the Razorbacks to do anything you expect them to do, good or bad, is a fool’s errand. Never, ever, ever, ever. Unless the thrill of burning money has lost its joy for you. Then by all means.
More than 6 wins is asking a lot. 5.5 wins actually makes a ton of sense, considering the non-conference slate is more than manageable and the expectation that a coach’s second year will show a ton of improvement. So, even if I were a non-Arkansas fan, I would have a hard time putting money anywhere near this.
What I’m more interested in, though, is where this places Arkansas in relation to the rest of its brethren within the SEC. Below I’ve compiled Bovada’s odds for each team, in order of expected wins.
Alabama Crimson Tide: 11 (over -140, under +110)
Georgia Bulldogs: 10.5 (over -230, under +190)
LSU Tigers: 9 (over -120, under -110)
Florida Gators: 9 (over -110, under -120)
Mississippi State Bulldogs: 8 (over -135, under +105)
Auburn Tigers: 8 (over +125, under -155)
Texas A&M Aggies: 7.5 (over -140, under +110)
Missouri Tigers: 7 (over -250, under +195)
Tennessee Volunteers: 7 (over +105, under -135)
Kentucky Wildcats: 6.5 (over -225, under +185)
South Carolina Gamecocks: 6 (over EVEN, under -130)
Arkansas Razorbacks: 6 (over +235, under -295)
Vanderbilt Commodores: 5 (over -145, under +115)
Ole Miss Rebels: 5 (over -115, under -115)
LOOK WHO’S OUT OF THE BASEMENT! And please, ignore that these are basically the same expectations that Vegas laid out for the Hogs last year.