• Even with a potentially potent offense, the Tennessee Volunteers‘ sub-par defense is the primary reason why the team should fall short of its eight-win total in 2022.
The 2022 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27, as Week 0 is headlined by the Northwestern Wildcats and Nebraska Cornhuskers squaring off in Dublin, Ireland. Most of the value has been lost on preseason bets in college football, but that’s not to say there aren’t some winners available on the market.
Let’s look at the best last-minute preseason bets in the SEC.
The SEC sent two teams to the College Football Playoff in 2021, and they are the only conference with a remote chance of doing so in 2022.
- Alabama and Georgia are the only teams that have a greater than 40% chance of making the College Football Playoff, according to PFF’s simulation.
- The SEC has nine of the top 25 teams in PFF’s preseason power ranking, including the top two teams.
Here is a look at the PFF projected win total for every SEC program compared to their win total posted on BetMGM Sportsbook. The further away from the black line, the more PFF disagrees with the posted win total.
All of these win totals listed on BetMGM Sportsbook are juiced in either direction. Here is where which listed win total is leaning:
|PFF Win Total
|BetMGM Win Total
South Carolina OVER 6.5 wins (+115)
South Carolina is one of the most intriguing teams in the country this year. After having one of the worst quarterback situations in the country in 2021, the Gamecocks have one of the best in 2022 thanks to former Oklahoma Sooner Spencer Rattler's arrival.
- Despite the public narrative surrounding the transfer quarterback, Rattler has been one of the top passers in the country when on the field. He actually owns the highest passing grade in the country since 2020.
- South Carolina returns tight end Jaheim Bell — the most productive player at the position in 2021 (yards per route run). The Gamecocks also bring back wide receiver Josh Vann, who ranked seventh among SEC wide receivers in explosive receptions of 15-plus yards last season.
- Tight end Austin Stogner transferred to South Carolina alongside Rattler from Oklahoma. The new Gamecock could become one of the country's best tight ends. Stogner was in the midst of a breakout in 2020 before suffering an injury in Week 10 that led to a staph infection, and he failed to regain form in 2021. Before the 2020 injury, Stogner owned an 87.3 receiving grade while recording a 15-plus yard gain on 32% of his targets, both of which ranked top five among FBS tight ends.
- South Carolina also brought in transfer wide receiver Juice Wells from James Madison. Over the last two years, the transfer wide receiver was one of the five most valuable players in the entire FCS, according to PFF wins above average (WAA).
- Last year’s pass defense ranked fifth in the FBS in EPA per pass allowed. Expect this number to regress a little bit considering some interception luck, but it won’t fall too far with the return of outside corner tandem Cam Smith and Darius Rush.
Tennessee Volunteers UNDER 8 wins (-115)
Tennessee’s up-tempo, quarterback-friendly offense should be able to put up points in 2022, but its defense may be an issue against the Volunteers' tough schedule.
- Tennessee has the eighth-most difficult schedule in the country, and PFF projects them to win just 6.5 games entering the year.
- The Vols’ pass defense ranked 75th nationally in EPA per pass allowed in 2021, and it lost the three most valuable players from that group.
- If Tennessee’s offense falls behind in an outing, the offensive line could prevent them from clawing back. Because every single returning offensive lineman earned a poor pass-blocking grade (below 60.0) in 2021, the unit should continue to be a liability in 2020.