LITTLE ROCK — The over-under number for Arkansas victories during the regular football season is perfect to the point that I’d rather back Alabama to win 12 than take one side or the other of 5 1/2 Ws for the Razorbacks.
Every review of the Razorbacks’ schedule comes down to Rutgers, Auburn, and Mississippi State and three scenarios, each yielding either 5-7 or 6-6:
• Lose the first road game and win two SEC games in Arkansas.
• Win in New Jersey and split the SEC games.
• Sweep all three.
Therefore, the dilemma created by 5 1/2 and a reminder that a late friend once said, “Those aren’t two drunks in a bar” making the wagering lines in Las Vegas.
Among the 14 teams in the Southeastern Conference, only Kentucky at 4 1/2 has a lower over-under than Arkansas, according to Bovada.lv. On record with Alabama to win the West and Georgia to prevail in the East, taking a stand on the best in the league might be easier than zeroing in on the Razorbacks or the Wildcats.
At 11, Alabama is elite. Among the six dozen-plus teams assigned a number, only Ohio State and Oregon are also pegged at 11.
With a $1,500 bankroll of Monopoly money, here’s a personal investment strategy based on confidence levels:
• Alabama, 11, $500, over. The worse that can happen is a push at 11-1. The Crimson Tide only has two games (LSU and Texas A&M) that are in doubt.
• Georgia, 9 1/2, $500, over. Much riskier than Alabama. The Bulldogs could be 1-3 in September with Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU, but I am an Aaron Murray believer.
• Texas A&M, 9 1/2, $100, under. Rightfully so, there are high expectations in College Station. But, sometimes teams with lofty goals suffer a loss in September and never recover. That could happen to the Aggies when Alabama visits in mid-September.
• Florida, 9, $100, under. Non-conference opponents Florida State and Miami, plus LSU from the Western Division, and six Eastern Division rivals adds up to four losses.
• Kentucky, 4 1/2, $50, under. Mark Stoops has created excitement about football in Lexington, reflected in the 50,000-plus for the spring game. That day, the Wildcats were playing an opponent of equal ability. In the fall, they will be overmatched almost every week.
• Vanderbilt, 7 1/2, $50, under. A year ago, who could imagine that the Commodores would be assigned a higher number than a half-dozen other SEC teams. Vandy must split against Western Division opponents Ole Miss and A&M to get to eight.
• Ole Miss, 8, $40, over. Another push. Eight is right for Rebels.
• LSU, 9, $40, over. A lukewarm endorsement of quarterback Zach Mettenberger, but a hearty yes for new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
• Missouri, 6, $40, over. Like the Rebels, the number is correct. After a fast start and East opponents, the Tigers finish against Ole Miss and A&M.
• South Carolina, 9 1/2, $30, over. The Gamecocks better get to 10 before the season finale against Clemson, another team assigned 9 1/2.
• Tennessee, 6, $20, under. Playing Oregon, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina in a six-game stretch could zap the Vols before November.
• Mississippi State, 6, $15, under. After South Carolina, A&M, and Alabama back to back to back, the Bulldogs will have to win in Little Rock to get to six.
• Auburn, 6 1/2, $10, over. Same as Mississippi State, Auburn needs to defeat Arkansas on the road to better the number.
• Arkansas, 5 1/2, the five remaining singles, under. To complete the MSU-Auburn-Arkansas trifecta, the Razorbacks lose to Auburn and beat MSU.
When all is said and done, the financial hit could be the same as landing on Park Place with a hotel on it.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His email address is email@example.com.