SEC football betting preview: Ole Miss Rebels at Vanderbilt Commodores

Mississippi Rebels at Vanderbilt Commodores
Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
Saturday, September 17, 2011, 12:20 Eastern, TV: ESPN GP, SEC Network
Opening Line:(all odds courtesy of bookmaker) pick
Current Line: Ole Miss -1 1/2
Opening Total: 50 1/2
Current Total: 48
Opening Money Line: Ole Miss -110 / Vanderbilt -110
Current Money Line: Ole Miss -125 / Vanderbilt +105

The Ole Miss Rebels travel to Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in the SEC opener for both schools. The Rebels are 1.5 point favorites in the game.

The Ole Miss Rebels under coach Houston Nutt rebounded from a season opening 14-13 loss to BYU with a 42-24 win over Southern Illinois. Now the Rebels open SEC play with their first road game of the season at Vanderbilt. The Commodores are 2-0 under first year coach James Franklin with wins over Elon 45-14 and a 24-21 over UConn last week. These two long time SEC rivals are meeting for the 86th time Saturday. Ole Miss leads the series 47-36-2, but Vanderbilt won last year in Oxford 28-14.

Ole Miss jumped out to a 21-3 lead against Southern Illinois last week, and cruised to a 42-24 victory. The Rebels did not cover the college football betting line though. The Rebels only had 315 total yards, including 179 rushing yards. Southern Illinois actually had more total yards in the game with 420 including 223 rushing yards, but 4 turnovers doomed the Salukis. Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott had 16 carries for 118 yards, and 3 touchdowns along with a 67 yard punt return for a touchdown to lead the Rebels.

Ole Miss has only averaged 261.5 total yards a game in two games, including 140 passing yards. The Rebels have 3 turnovers on the season, and Ole Miss has allowed 2 sacks. The Rebels are 6 for 23 on third and fourth down conversions. On defense, Ole Miss has allowed 368 yards a game including 211 rushing yards a game. The Rebels have allowed 19 points a game. Ole Miss has forced 5 turnovers and 2 sacks.

Rebel quarterback Zach Stoudt hasn’t played great this season but he hasn’t  thrown an interception in two games. He is 24/43 passing for 258 yards and a touchdown.  Running back Scott has 21 carries for 135 yards and 4 touchdowns and 2 catches for 25 yards. Receiver Ja-Mes Logan has 8 catches for 106 yards. Kicker Bryson Rose is perfect on kicks this season with 7 extra points and 2 field goals with a long of 29 yards.

Vanderbilt jumped out to a 14-3 first quarter lead against Connecticut last week. The Huskies came back to take a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter but Vanderbilt scored 10 unanswered points to win 24-21 and cover the 2.5 point college football spread. The game was sloppy on both sides with 7 combined turnovers (4 by UConn). Vanderbilt also over came 11 penalties in the win. Vanderbilt only had 259 total yards, including 141 passing yards. Vanderbilt was 2-16 on third down conversions and only had 10 first downs. Vanderbilt scored one of their touchdowns on a 50 yard interception return in the 4th quarter. Vanderbilt held Connecticut to 193 total yards including 89 rushing yards. Vanderbilt didn’t allow an offensive touchdown as UConn scored their two touchdowns on a blocked punt and a fumble recovery. Connecticut had 14 first downs and was 3-16 on third and fourth down conversions.

Vanderbilt is averaging 284 yards per game and scoring 34.5 points. They are averaging 159 passing yards a game. They have 3 turnovers and have allowed 8 sacks. Vanderbilt is 6/29 on third downs, but the Commodores have converted three out of three fourth down conversions. On defense, Vanderbilt has allowed 258 yards a game and 17.5 points in two games. The Commodores have been stout against the run allowing only 86 yards a game. Vanderbilt has forced 7 turnovers and 7 sacks this season. The Commodores are holding opponents to 9/33 on third and fourth downs this season.

Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith is 25/51 passing with 265 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He is listed as probable against Ole Miss with an arm injury. If he can’t go, Jordan Rodgers will be the quarterback. Rodgers played a few snaps in the blowout over Elon and even threw a touchdown pass.  Running back Zac Stacy has 18 carries for 93 yards. Jerron Seymour has 12 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown along with 4 catches for 23 yards. Receiver Chris Boyd has 4 catches for 87 yards and three scores. Smith has spread the ball around this season as 9 Commodores have at least one catch so far in 2 games and no player has more than 4 catches. Kicker Casey Spear has made all 10 of his kicks, with 8 extra points and 2 field goals with a 33 yard kick as his longest of the season.

Vanderbilt is 2-0 against the spread this season and the the total is 1-1. Ole Miss is 1-1 ATS this season and the total is 1-1 as well. The Rebels are 4-12 ATS in the last 16 as a road favorite, 3-10-2 ATS in the last 15 as a favorite of 3 points or less, and 1-4 ATS in the last 5 conference games. The Commodores are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 homes games, 1-10 ATS in the last 11 following an ATS win, 0-6 ATS in the last 6 conference games, 0-7 ATS in the last 7 as an underdog, including 0-4 as a home underdog.

These two teams are arguably the worst teams in the rugged SEC. Whoever loses this game has a good shot of losing every conference game, as either one of these teams will be significant underdogs to every other team in the conference. I like Vanderbilt to win a close game at home, but both these teams struggle to move the ball consistently.

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