Sportsbook expects Arkansas to pull off some upsets

By Otis Kirk
on 2024-02-12 08:38 AM

FAYETTEVILLE — FanDuel Sportsbook placed Arkansas at 5.5 wins for the 2024 football season, but to get to that point or exceed it will require some upsets.

The only Arkansas opponents with less wins than 5.5 would be UAPB, UAB, Louisiana Tech and Mississippi State. That means eight opponents are projected to win more games than the Hogs.

The SEC schools with similar win totals as Arkansas are Vanderbilt (2.5), South Carolina (5.5), Mississippi State (4.5), Kentucky (6.5) and Florida (5.5). The problem with that is Mississippi State is the only one that plays Arkansas.

Even Auburn and Oklahoma at 7.5 wins only the Tigers are on the Arkansas schedule. The bad news with Mississippi State and Auburn is both those games are on the road. I guess one silver lining to that is Arkansas’ lone SEC win in 2023 was on the road in Gainesville against Florida.

The Hogs will go to Stillwater on Saturday, Sept. 7, and take on Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are projected at 7.5 wins. So, on paper, it would seem, that maybe Auburn and Oklahoma State are Arkansas’ path to getting to six wins assuming they win the four games against teams with lower win projection.

But some optimism might be gained by the fact Ole Miss (9.5) hasn’t won in Fayetteville under Lane Kiffin. The Razorbacks have played well even in Oxford against the Rebels. Yes, Ole Miss, has won both the games in Oxford, but both were close. Arkansas has actually had some comfortable wins against Ole Miss in Fayetteville.

In 2020, Arkansas used a big day from Hudson Clark to down the Rebels 33-21 in Razorback Stadium. In 2022, the Hogs jumped on Ole Miss then held off a rally from them to win 42-27 in Fayetteville.

Even Texas at 10.5 has struggled in Fayetteville since Arkansas joined the SEC. The last meeting was in 2021 when Arkansas ran them out of Razorback Stadium 40-21.

No doubt a couple of key games for Arkansas will be against Tennessee in Razorback Stadium and Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas. Both are projected at 8.5 wins and A&M has a new coach. No doubt Bobby Petrino would like to get a win in that game. He was the offensive coordinator there last year and called plays for Jimbo Fisher. The last trip to Fayetteville for Tennessee was in 2020 with the Razorbacks taking a 24-13 victory.

LSU (9.5) also comes to Fayetteville where Arkansas has played them pretty competitive. Those two teams usually play good games regardless of location whether in Fayetteville, Baton Rouge or Little Rock. None bigger than the Miracle on Markham Street or the Razorbacks using Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis to defeat LSU in Houston Nutt’s last game as head coach of the Razorbacks. That game was in Baton Rouge and LSU went on to win a national championship that season.

Unfortunately the one game Arkansas will likely be a decided underdog is the final one at Missouri with their arrogant head coach Eli Drinkwitz, who is 3-1 against Arkansas. The Razorbacks haven’t won at Missouri since the Tigers joined the SEC and Drinkwitz isn’t shy about rubbing it in Arkansas’ face.

Overall, the 2024 season should be an interesting one and it will be important to get off to a good start. The key early games are at Oklahoma State, at Auburn, Texas A&M in Arlington and Tennessee coming to Fayetteville.

(Last updated: 2024-02-12 08:38 AM)