Posted: 6:38 p.m. Saturday, June 8, 2013
By Doc Harper
It's important to note that all of these lines will all change once the season begins, with movement happening until the day of the game. But as it stands right now, when all we can do until August is think about hypothetical game situations, these numbers are serving as a bucket of cold water to the face.
There are no lines published for the first three non-conference games. I was kind of surprised we didn't get one for the opener against ULa-La because the Cajuns are expected to be pretty good and that could be the kind of tight game Vegas can throw a tricky line out to bait people with, but it's not out yet.
Expect the Razorbacks to be favored in their first three games, which they'll need to win in prep for the gauntlet stretch of the season.
Arkansas at Rutgers - pick 'em
No one seems to really know what to expect with this. I think people want to see what Arkansas looks like in the first three games, as well as seeing how well Rutgers reloads after losing 7 NFL Draft picks this offseason.
Texas A&M; (-17) at Arkansas
If Arkansas is 4-0 coming into this game I don't know that the line will stay that big. Unless of course A&M; beats Alabama. If the Aggies win that game against the Tide they'll likely be heavy favorites against just about everyone on the rest of their schedule. With it being Bret Bielema's first SEC game, you know there will be a lot of hype surrounding it if Arkansas is 4-0 coming into it, similar to Petrino's first game against Alabama in 2008. Of course, that didn't go too well.
Arkansas (+17) at Florida
Interesting that Arkansas is an underdog by the same number of points on the road to Florida as they are at home against A&M.;
South Carolina (-13) at Arkansas
If the Razorbacks can pull off an upset during this 4-game stretch, Vegas seems to believe the best chance is at home against the Gamecocks.
Arkansas (+29) at Alabama
Horror. 29 points. I don't think many Arkansas fans expect the Hogs to win this game, but it would be great if the Razorbacks could at least be competitive. I'd appreciate that.
Auburn (+3.5) at Arkansas
FAVORITES! Hold it, touch it, hug it, kiss it!
If Arkansas loses those previous four games as badly as Vegas says the Hogs could, then comes back and wins against Auburn, hell of a job by Bielema and the coaching staff to keep the team together and moving forward. Scariest part of that gauntlet is how easily some teams give up after that type of stretch. That's why this Auburn game is one of the most important on the schedule. Win, and you've got a lot of momentum going into the games against the Mississippi schools (no lines posted for those games yet). Lose, and it will be tough to be bowl eligible.
Arkansas (+17) at LSU
By the time we get to this point in the year, who knows? There will be injuries, momentum, development, and all sorts of factors that make picking this game this early crazy, unless you believe the Razorbacks will be more competitive than 17 points, which is conceivable if things go well.
In case you're wondering, Bielema and Wisconsin were 6-8 against the spread last year, losing three games (Oregon State, Michigan State, and Ohio State) they were favored to win. However, in the four games in which they were underdogs, the Badgers beat the spread twice, won one game outright, and didn't lose any of those games by more than 6 points. Hopefully, Bielema can keep Arkansas similarly competitive in the many underdog roles the team will face.
Email Doc at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @doc_harper.