SEC Week 11 predictions (and bets)
It’s that time of the week again, time for some SEC predictions and gambling advice!
If you missed this column the first few weeks of the season, SDS news desk editor Michael Bratton (@MichaelWBratton) and SDS Podcast co-host Chris Marler (@VerneFUNquist) make their weekly predictions for every game involving SEC teams.
Michael finished last weekend with a 4-2 against the spread record which gives him a 35-35-1 overall record. Chris went 2-3 last week, dropping his season total to 30-38-2 on the season.
Here is how the guys predict the Week 11 action to play out:
Western Kentucky at Arkansas (-1.5)
Michael: At this point, not even a win over mighty Western Kentucky should be enough to save Chad Morris his job but it may provide him a stay of execution for another week in Fayetteville. There’s no way Arkansas is going to let Ty Storey march into Razorback Stadium and walk away with a win, right? The long-awaited move to John Stephen Jones and KJ Jefferson under center may only be two months late but better late than never, I suppose. If the Razorback players haven’t given up yet on the season, that’s debatable given last weekend’s performance, they should muster just enough of a showing to finish non-conference play with a victory.
Arkansas 27 Western Kentucky 21
Chris: My first job out of college was in sales at a radio station in Atlanta. During the interview, they offered me the job and I asked what the salary would be. Then I followed that up by asking “Is that before or after taxes?” Why is this important? Because up until last week it was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life… Until I picked Arkansas to win last week. That take aged worse Ric Flair. Regardless, I’m doubling down. WOO! Pig Sooie.
Arkansas 27 Western Kentucky 24
New Mexico State at Ole Miss (-28.5)
Michael: John Rhys Plumlee continues to amaze. I counted against the freshman having much impact on the road last weekend a week after having surgery against Auburn’s incredible defense, yet there he was, driving for what could have been a game-winning touchdown in the final possession of the game. I’m done doubting Plumlee and Ole Miss as after seeing how hard they continue to play week in and week out. I don’t know how much you know about New Mexico State but I’ll tell you all I know about them — they are terrible. Rebels roll this weekend.
Ole Miss 45 New Mexico State 10
Chris: New Mexico St is so bad they honestly should build a wall around themselves. They’re 0-8 this season. I think Ole Miss wins and wins big. The 1st half spread of 16.5 is one of my favorites of the week as well. New Mexico St has allowed almost 27 ppg in the 1st Half of games this season which ranks 129th in FBS. Rebels big.
Ole Miss 41 New Mexico State 7
Appalachian State at South Carolina (-5)
Michael: Scrappy Appy coming to Columbia this weekend looking for a beatdown of epic proportions. Ryan Hilinski is rounding back into the form we saw early this season coming off one of his most efficient games of his college career and South Carolina’s running game continues to impress, regardless of which Gamecock has the rock. Of Appy State’s eight games to this point in the season, five have essentially been against directional schools. They won’t be ready for this one. If you are a Gamecock supporter and plan on going to the game, do me a favor and make sure you let each and every Mountaineer fan they should go be Appy State. Trust me, they love that nickname.
South Carolina 38 Appy State 14
Chris: This game has put me in a mind pretzel. Despite last week’s loss to Ga Southern, I think App State is actually a really good football team. They’re ranked in the Top 20 nationally in scoring offense and rushing offense. They’ve also got the 8th best pass defense in the country and the 2nd fewest turnovers in FBS with 4 all season. This is a dangerous game for Carolina, but I’m going to take the Cocks at night in Williams Brice.
South Carolina 27 App State 20
Vanderbilt at Florida (-26.5)
Michael: I really want to pick Vanderbilt and the points here but I just can’t do it. Thankfully, this line shifted slightly in favor of the Commodores since opening which is just enough for me to pick the Gators despite the massive spread in this one. I could see the Gators coming out slow and still covering in this matchup.
Florida 38 Vanderbilt 10
Chris: Vandy fans have to be so thankful for Arkansas this season because they might not be the biggest embarrassment in the conference each week. Don’t get me wrong. They’re still horrible. The Dores are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games and 3-19 in their last 22 road games vs the SEC East. Florida should win this game, but a 4 TD spread seems a little high. They’ve won the last 5 in the series by an average of only 11.4 ppg. And, the Gators are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 matchups following the UGA game.
Florida 35 Vanderbilt 10
Missouri at Georgia (-16.5)
Michael: On Tuesday, Barry Odom indicated Kelly Bryant may not be ready to play come Saturday, only to turn around and note his QB would be ready for Georgia on Wednesday. Some gamesmanship going on here by Odom? Perhaps, but it’s hard for me to imagine Bryant sitting in this one, he’s going to want to have this game film on his resume come draft season. Combine that with Georgia’s struggles to cover tight ends this season and Albert O could also make himself some money this weekend with a solid performance against Kirby Smart’s defense. Another storyline to watch is the letdown factor for the Bulldogs after the big win over Florida. Mizzou has its back against the wall, has two weeks to prepare and after giving Georgia a game last year, this team should be able to do the same into the second half.
Georgia 34 Missouri 21
Chris: UGA looked to get back on track last week thanks to a dominant defense and everyone’s favorite self-implosion, 3rd & Grantham. The offense looked especially better for the Dawgs specifically in the passing game. Mizzou has fallen apart and has struggled on the road worse than a 90-year-old retiree on a Boca Raton highway. They’re 0-3 away from home and have averaged 23 points less per game on the road while giving up 17 more points as well. Sure, they’ve won 9 straight November games, but that ends abruptly and emphatically this weekend in Athens. 11 of UGA’s last 15 wins vs the SEC East have been by 20+ points, and they’re 4-1 ATS in their last 5 matchups after playing Florida. Also, they’re just better. Period.
Georgia 35 Missouri 10
Tennessee (-1) at Kentucky
Michael: It’s not exactly clear which flip Jeremy Pruitt and his coaching staff hit but Tennessee’s defense has quickly turned into one of the SEC’s most improved units and with Brian Maurer seemingly ready to return to the field for the Vols, the offense should be in a great position to score some points on the road this weekend. That’s not to say Kentucky won’t have some success against Tennessee this weekend but the limitations of a Lynn Bowden-run offense will catch up to the Wildcats Saturday night. This game will come down to the wire but I’m predicting Tennessee to keep its streak going for another week.
Tennessee 20 Kentucky 17
Chris: They should call this “The Little Engine That Could Bowl” because both of these teams have shown tremendous fight over the last month of the season. The Vols have won 3 of 4 and Kentucky has won 2 of their last 3 despite basically running the same one-man offense the Toon Squad did in Space Jam. It makes sense. Lynn Bowden is obviously MJ, and Jeremy Pruitt looks like a Monstar.
All jokes aside this should be the 2nd best game in the SEC this week. Kentucky has been a different team at home. They’re 4-1 overall and 5-0 ATS. They’re also averaging 23 points more per game at home than on the road. Regardless, I think Tennessee wins this game. Kentucky has had at least 1 turnover in all 8 games this season including multiple turnovers in 4 of the 8.
Tennessee 20 Kentucky 17
LSU at Alabama (-6.5)
Michael: The latest version of the LSU-Alabama rivalry is here but will this edition live up to the hype or will this game of the year/decade/century/millennium prove to be a dud filled with more hype than actual substance? If you can possibly wipe the memory of all the previous games in this series and just focus on this year’s teams, it’s tough to justify picking Alabama to roll in this matchup. Joe Burrow and his receivers have matched the production of Tua Tagovailoa and his amazing group of pass-catchers. Both defenses have been suspect at times but both feature elite talent across the board and have the potential to slow the opposing offense down 0n Saturday. Outside of the punt returning of Jaylen Waddle, LSU should have the special teams edge in this matchup. Until last week, not only did the Tigers have an undefeated record, they were undefeated against the spread this season, too. This game goes down to the wire but I’m going with them Tigas.
LSU 33 Alabama 30
Chris: I can’t tell what SEC fans are more excited about: this actual game itself or the potential of Alabama losing and not getting into the Playoff. This game should live up to the hype the 2011 game didn’t live up to. Bama has won 8 straight and have held the Tigers to 17 points or less in 9 straight. Both of these teams are elite, and LSU has the best resume in the country (no matter what the CFP committee says). However, neither has been tested like they will be on Saturday. Combined these teams have faced only one offense or defense ranked in the top 20 nationally (Texas).
As most of you already know I’ve been a Bama fan my whole life, so with that on the table here is my prediction…
I think Tua plays. I think Terrell Lewis gets to Burrow a lot. I think Bama’s secondary is the best in the country and forces Burrow into multiple mistakes early. I think LSU will struggle in Bryant Denny considering Bama is 78-4 at home since 2008 with those 4 losses coming to 2 #1’s and 2 Heisman winners by a combined total of 15 points. But ultimately this game comes down to which team is mentally tough to overcome turnovers, struggles, adversity, etc. LSU is a tougher football team than Alabama, and Joe Burrow is a tougher competitor and better leader than Tua.
LSU 34 Alabama 31