Best Week 8 SEC picks and ATS predictions
A 2-0 record in Week 7 was a step in the right direction, but still sitting at just 6-8 on the year, there’s much work to be done if we’re going to end this venture in the black.
The SEC schedule for Week 8 is a modest 5-game slate as bye weeks roll around for No. 1 Georgia, No. 19 Kentucky, Arkansas, Auburn and Florida.
The table below lists the odds for all games involving SEC teams in Week 8 (odds as of Oct. 19 at Caesars Sportsbook Louisiana). Under the table, find my best bets for Week 8 action.
Week 8 SEC Odds
Pick 1: LSU -1.5 (-110) vs Ole Miss
The Rebels’ 7-0 record is masking the fact that they aren’t much more than an average SEC team. They didn’t dominate Tulsa (35-27), were lucky to escape Kentucky (22-19), and trailed Vandebilt 20-10 late in the second quarter before reality set in for the Dores. This is the week that No. 7 Ole Miss falls from the ranks of the unbeatens.
Unlike last week’s picks (Kentucky +6.5 and Tennessee +7.5,) which jumped off the page, this pick doesn’t come without hesitation. LSU’s defense has been shredded the last couple of games, giving up a 40-burger to Tennessee in a 40-13 loss and 35 to Florida in a 45-35 win. But they had been playing decently — especially against the run — up to that point. LSU held Florida State to 3.5-YPC, Mississippi State to 3.4, and Auburn to 3.3 in its first 3 games against Power 5 opponents.
Ole Miss has a stronger offense than any of those 3 teams, but it’s also fairly one-dimensional. If we leave out Jaxson Dart’s 448-yard performance against Vanderbilt — a secondary you could shred with a blade of grass — the Ole Miss QB is averaging just 173 passing yards per game and a 57.7% completion percentage.
With LSU back home in Death Valley in Week 8, the front seven will be up to the challenge posed by Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans.
On offense, Jayden Daniels has finally started to click with WR Kayshon Boutte, a potential 2023 first-rounder. Boutte had 6 catches for 115 yards against the Gators after putting up just 130 yards in his previous 5 games combined.
The win over the Gators was the second straight week Daniels surpassed 300 yards through the air, adding a much-needed element to an offense that’s been underwhelming on the ground. Daniels’ Heisman odds also improved from +30000 to +20000 after Week 7 (not a serious contender, but trending in the right direction for LSU fans).
On a neutral field, I’ll take Ole Miss. But at Tiger Stadium, LSU gets the win.
Pick 2: Mississippi State +21 (-110) vs Alabama
For the 3rd time in 4 weeks, I’m going to fade Alabama. It didn’t work out in the Arkansas game, which the Razorbacks let get away from them in the fourth quarter, but Tennessee +7.5 was never truly threatened. Now the Tide are laying 21 points to a solid-if-not-spectacular Mississippi State squad.
I’m not saying the Bulldogs have a realistic chance to pull the upset here. I am saying that they have enough talent on both sides of the ball to make this competitive. Alabama just isn’t in that separate tier this season. They were pushed to the brink by Texas (20-19) and Texas A&M (24-20) and the Arkansas game was 28-23 at the end of the third quarter. (I’m still a little confused how Alabama won that game by 23 points.)
Counterintuitively for a Mike Leach team, Mississippi State’s defense ranks 17th in the nation in FEI per Football Outsiders, better than its offense (18th).
The Bulldogs are coming off a disappointing 27-17 setback at Kentucky in which they repeatedly hurt themselves with penalties (13 for 109 yards). Their only other road game this year was a 31-16 loss at LSU. Add in the fact that they have lost their last 4 games against Alabama by at least 24 points and, as above, this pick comes with some consternation.
But all my senses tell me the 2022 Crimson Tide are mortal, and covering a 3-touchdown spread against a quality opponent is too much to ask of mere mortals.