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2005 Ole Miss Handicapping Review


By Tom Wilkinson


If ever a college football team was obviously fully ripe for a sports handicapping market correction it was most definitely the 2004 Mississippi Rebels. Ole Miss was coming off a near epic season in 2003 in which they had a shot at the SEC West Division title to the very end of the season as senior quarterback Eli Manning was re-writing the record books. It was obvious in 2003, however, that Ole Miss was overly dependent on Manning and would be in trouble upon his graduation. Ole Miss concluded the 2003 season as one of the hottest teams against the sports betting odds with eight payoffs in their final nine games but as they entered 2004 without Manning and many of their other key players from their 10-3 team of 2003, a violent sports betting market correction was near certain.

Right from the start of 2004 it was obvious that Ole Miss was in serious trouble beginning with the lack of a true number one quarterback. The Rebels ended up alternating quarterbacks with a rotation system during games, which is a sure sign of a team in trouble. For once, many online sports betting bloggers were correct in labeling this team as poison to any sports betting player’s list of football picks.

Ole Miss opened the 2004 campaign as 3.5-point home chalks against Memphis and lost 13-20, following that up with a 7-28 loss at Alabama as 12-point dogs. The Rebels barely squeaked by traditional SEC Doormat Vanderbilt in overtime 26-23 as 6.5-point home chalks and then were shocked at Wyoming in a 32-73 loss as 3.5-point favorites. It was quite clear that Ole Miss had no business being favored at Wyoming and it was simply a prime example of “name brand” sports betting odds as the general public would be more likely to side with an SEC team coming off a bowl season than a Mountain West Conference team that had not bowled in several years. A deeper sports handicapping effort, however, would have revealed that Ole Miss was a horrible value and had no business being on anyone’s list of football picks. Just as ridiculous was the Rebels’ next game in which they were installed as rip-off 18.5-point home chalks against Arkansas State, winning 28-21. More SEC prejudice can explain this utter lack of sports handicapping value.

Having dropped their first five games in dreadful fashion against the sports betting odds, the “word” was finally out on Ole Miss, which enhanced their value and they went 4-2 against the line in their final six games.





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