Last week was finally a good week for the ATS picks going 4-1. Is this the beginning of a streak? One can only hope… Let’s get to this week’s picks and score predictions.
After going 4-1 last week, that runs the season total to 23-24 ATS.
MSU at BYU (-7)
The Cougars have had a weird year. They lost 3 straight games by a combined 7 points with 2 of the losses coming at the hands of ranked opponents (and the 3rd being UCLA). At 1-3 many considered them dead in the water before beating Toledo and Michigan State on the road. This 3-3 isn’t a bad 3-3. They have quality wins and losses. A battle tested team. MSU comes in off a drubbing by the hands of Auburn that brought Bulldog fans back to the Croom days. What this game will boil down to is QB play and BYU has a big edge with senior Taysom Hill. Hill is averaging roughly 255 yards of offense a game and is equally as dangerous on the ground as he is through the air. Hill will guide an offense against a defense that gave up 35 points to UMass (nation’s 122nd scoring offense) and allowed 228 rushing yards and 3 TDs vs Auburn last week. MSU’s offense has to get back on track after being abysmal a week ago and that’s asking them to do a lot on a 1,752 mile road trip, on a Friday night, in a game that kicks off at 9:15 central. Sure seems like a lot to ask…
My pick: Cougers 38-20
Vandy at Georgia (-14)
If I was just picking the o/u, I’d go with the under in this one since it features the SEC’s 10th and dead last total offenses. Vandy is last in passing offense and 2nd to last in rushing offense. They have no offense. UGA isn’t much better but what they do have is the SEC’s 5th best rushing attack. They’ll need it with the roller coaster they’ve had at QB with freshman Jacob Eason. He shows flashes of amazing but also has games like vs Ole Miss (16-36, 1 INT, 0 TD) and the last time out vs SC (5-17, 1 TD, 1 INT). Sandy’s defense is sneaky good especially considering they get zero help from the offense. This line is a tough one to pick but since UGA is at home and has a few more explosive athletes, I’ll go with them.
My pick: UGA 28-13
#1 Bama at #9 Tennessee (+13)
If Tennessee could have pulled off last week can you imagine the sizzle this game would have? When you look at that game, sure UT didn’t deserve to win but how they had a shot after 7 turnovers is mind-boggling. That game leads me to believe that if UT can protect the ball, they have a legitimate shot vs the Tide. The difference in this game is the Bama defense. They are the SEC’s best rushing defense only giving up 69 ypg. If they can shut down the Vol rushing attack and make Dobbs one-dimensional, look out. The other side of that equation is the Vol defense which is 10th in the league in scoring (27 ppg) and facing the best scoring offense in the SEC (45 ppg). All the analytics tell me that Bama will cover but what isn’t taken to account is the atmosphere and emotion this game will contain. I think this will be the toughest place Bama has had to play since LSU in 2012. This is a game that I see close until a late score by Bama pushing them to cover.
My pick: RTR 38-24
Mizzou at #18 Florida (-13)
What in the world do we make of Mizzou? Right when I think they are turning a corner, they get boat raced by a previously dead on arrival LSU team 42-7. Another interesting fact is that both teams are coming off a bye week, albeit for completely different reasons. I think there are 2 main reasons the Gators will win and cover: (1) The Swamp. Florida has listened to how they dodged LSU for over a week now. From an administration standpoint, that’s absolutely true. However, the players had nothing to do with that and I’m sure they are chomping at the bit. I expect a rowdy crowd to energize a team in a foul mood. & (2) The return of Luke Del Rio will give not only the struggling offense a lift but the entire team as well.
My pick: Gators 38-21
#12 Ole Miss at #22 Arkansas (+7.5)
Is it true that Bielema has had Freeze’s number of late and that the Rebels haven’t fared well in the state of Arkansas? Yes, all true. That said, at the end of the day it’s about players and match-ups and this is the game I think the Rebs turn those talking points around. Arkansas has the SEC’s 11th ranked defensive passer efficiency rating at 126.23. They face a passing offense that is ranked 2nd in the league and has the best WRs in the nation in my humble opinion. The flip-side is the Rebel’s struggles at LB and how that plays into the Razorback scheme and how they use the play-action game, TEs, and crossing routes. Austin Allen has been really good and I have no doubt he’ll move the ball. The only question is if they can keep up. I don’t think so over the course of a 4 quarter game. I see a lot of excitement and offense culminating is a relatively comfortable win for the Rebels.
My pick: Ole Miss 48-35
Southern Miss at LSU (-25.5)
Even though the Bengal Tigahs looked like a new team last time out vs Mizzou, I need just a bit more before I buy in. This week provides a good opportunity against a USM team that has disappointed over the last 4 weeks dropping 2 conference games. LSU had a weird week with the Florida game getting canceled due to Hurricane Mathew and this game is sandwiched before the Ole Miss game. You know Coach O has that one circled on his calendar. With all the making of a classic trap game, I think LSU is just too good to give he Golden Eagles a real opportunity. That said, 25.5 points is a whole bunch, especially if they are looking ahead and have the nation’s 16th best passing offense in town. I see a game that LSU dominates from the whistle but a USM offense that can throw it around enough to score some points. Too many points.
My pick: Tigahs 45-21