Last week was exactly what the doctor ordered with the picks going 6-0 and all the analysis being a pertinent part of the games. It’s been a grind all year but that is the type of week that starts a run. That and SEC teams are what they are at this point. Let’s get to this week’s picks.
My record for the year is 31-27 ATS.
Kentucky at Mizzou (-6)
This is a tricky line being that both teams can score some points and both defenses are among the bottom of the SEC in points allowed (32.3 for UK and 29.7 for Mizzou). The O/U at 70 might be the best play in this game. Mizzou is coming off a terrible home loss to MTSU which runs their record to 2-5 and puts any meager bowl hopes essentially to rest. Mizzou has given up 40+ points to 3-straight opponents. Meanwhile, the Wildcats pulled off a huge victory last week putting the elusive bowl trip squarely in their sights. I think we see a Mizzou team that is given up and a Kentucky team who just got a shot of adrenaline.
My pick: Bluegrass 42-31
#14 Florida at Georgia (+5)
I know this is a traditional rivalry game and I know the history. All that said, I have no idea how this line opened inside of a TD. It’s moved up to 7.5 to 8.5 but the early bird gets the worm. What this game boils down to is defense. The Gators are 2nd in the nation in total defense and have the best passer rating allowed in the country (80.82). That’s bad news for Jacob Eason who when away from home is only completing 48% of his passes, 5 yards per attempt, and a passer rating under 100 (99.43). If UGA had a rushing attack I could trust, in leu of a middle-of-the-road attack (8th SEC), I would have some faith. Crazy things have happened in this game but the stats don’t support anything like that happening Saturday.
My pick: Gators 34-10
Samford at MSU (NL)
Mississippi State should never ever have trouble at home with a FCS team. That said, it’s happened before and this year looks to be a year where new exciting lows are accomplished weekly. If MSU decides to make this a close game, it will be because of Samford QB Delvin Hodges. Hodges was a 3-star dual threat QB from Alabama with 12 offers including UAB, USM, MTSU, ULM, and more. MSU recruited him heavily but decided not to offer. He has led his Bulldogs to a 6-1 record and is completing 71% of his passes and has 24 TDs to go with it. Dude is a player. Keep an eye on him.
My pick: MSU 42-20
#15 Auburn at Ole Miss (+2)
This game couldn’t pit 2 teams with more opposite momentum and trajectories. At the season’s start, the Gus Bus was rolling on hubs with a knock in the engine that sounded like it could blow at any moment while Freeze could walk on water in Oxford. Oh what a difference a few weeks makes. Now Gus has his fanbase back and Rebel fans want Freeze to fire no less than 2 coaches. Ole Miss continues to scare me to death as a bettor because I don’t think they’ve played up to their potential. We’ve seen it in glimpses and it’s terrifying. End of the day, I have to go with who has been more consistent and that is the Tigers. Ole Miss has the worst rushing defense in the SEC allowing 227 ypg. That number is good for 113th nationally. Pit that against Auburn’s conference leading rushing attack which is going for 303 ypg. That number is good for 3rd nationally. Stranger things have happened and Ole Miss could just overload the box forcing Sean White to beat them through the air. Well, White has the best passer rating in the SEC (156.13), he’s completing 69% of his passes, and has a 7-2 TD to INT ratio.
My pick: Plainsmen 38-24
#18 Tennessee at South Carolina (+13.5)
A few weeks ago, SC’s offense looked like roadkill. Insert true freshman QB Jake Bentley and all of a sudden they have life. He goes for 201 yards and 2 TDs with no INTs. SC’s previous season scoring high was 20 against East Carolina and they go for 34 against UMass. That is improvement and there is a glimmer of hope for Coach Boom’s future. One thing to remember is that the Vols aren’t UMass and they are itching to get back on the field after a brutal 2-game stretch. This is a line that opened at 14 and I wasn’t crazy about but has been betted down to 13.5. That half a point makes all the difference. I think UT rights its wrongs and SC’s marked improvement last week is exposed for what it was (playing one of the worst teams in CFB).
My pick: Vols are back 38-10
New Mexico State at #9 Texas A&M (-43.5)
Oh my goodness I hate this line. I mean seriously, what in the hell am I supposed to do with this? NMSU is the 125th ranked scoring defense in the nation allowing 41.6 ppg. I think A&M can get to the points necessary to cover this line the question is if NMSU can score? They don’t run it well (3.6 ypc) and they don’t throw it well (10 INTs). What is a bettor to do? I hate this line but I’m going Aggies in a bloodbath.
My pick: A&M 63-7