LITTLE ROCK — The over-under number for Arkansas victories during the regular 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 Lap 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 over matched 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.