The Mississippi Rebels and the Vanderbilt Commodores will open their 2013 season on Thursday, Aug.29, in an early SEC showdown at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville. Kickoff is set for 9:15 p.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Ole Miss reversed a recent trend of losing seasons in 2012 with a 7-6 overall record that included an improved 3-5 record in conference play after winning just three SEC games combined in the two previous seasons. The Rebels capped off the 2012 campaign with a 38-17 victory over Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
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Vanderbilt is coming off one of its best seasons in recent memory with a 9-4 mark overall and a 5-3 record in conference play. It closed out the season with a seven-game winning streak and a 38-24 victory over NC State in the Music City Bowl in its own backyard.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt Betting Storylines
Expectations are running high for the Rebels in 2013 with 20 starters expected back from last year’s squad. They showed solid balance on offense in 2012 with 249.9 passing yards a game to complement a rushing attack that racked up an average of 173.8 yards each week. Quarterback Bo Wallace will be under center for this contest after completing 63.9 percent of his passes for 2,994 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2012. The only concern was his 17 interceptions on the year.
Also back is Jeff Scott, who led the team in rushing with 846 yards on 197 carries for an average of 4.3 yards a carry. Wallace proved to be a dual-threat by rushing for 390 yards and adding another eight scores with his legs. The defense, led by linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, remains almost entirely intact. However, it will need to tighten things up a bit after allowing an average of 27.6 points a game.
Vanderbilt is another team that is looking to make some noise this season after turning the corner with last year’s nine-win campaign. A big reason for such optimism is the expected return of 15 starters from that team. Wyoming transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels is pegged to replace Jordan Rodgers at quarterback, and he will have Jordan Matthews as a key target in the passing game after posting 1,323 receiving yards last year. The running game has a trio of backs to handle the load in Wes Tate, Brian Kimbrow and Jerron Seymour after Zac Stacy moved on.
This change at key skill positions could take some time to gel, which could be a big factor in this game. The Commodore’s strength last season was a defense that was ranked 15th in the nation in points allowed (18.7). With a solid core of players back in the fold, including cornerback Andre Hal, this should be enough to ensure a close, hard-fought battle against Ole Miss.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt College Football Betting Tends and Futures Odds
BetOnline has opened Vanderbilt as a 2.5-point home favorite in its preseason Week 1 lines with the total still listed as “off” for this SEC opener.
The Rebels went a profitable 10-3 against the spread last season that included a 4-1 record ATS on the road. The total stayed “under” in four of their five road games. Mississippi has been opened at +1200 to win the Western Division and at +4600 to win the SEC.
The Commodores were also a solid play ATS in 2012 at 9-4 overall. They went 5-2 ATS at home, and the total went an even 3-3 in six home games with a posted line. They have been opened at +1500 to win the Eastern Division and at +10000 to win the SEC title. Only Kentucky (+12000) has longer odds to win the conference.
Vanderbilt squeezed out a 27-26 victory on the road last season as a 2.5-point underdog. The total went “over” the 50.5-point closing line.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt Picks and College Football Week 1 Betting Predictions
As already mentioned, this should be a close battle between two teams looking for a fast start to the season. Conference rivals have long memories in college football, especially in the highly-competitive SEC, so look for the Rebels to avenge last year’s loss by upsetting Vanderbilt on its home turf this time around.
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