SEC Week 13 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 went 2-3-1 against the spread last weekend, bringing his season total to 41-41-2. Chris went 4-1-1 last week to bring his season total to 38-42-3.
The guys don’t pick games against FCS competition, thus they only have three games to select from this weekend.
Here is how the guys predict the Week 13 action to play out:
Texas A&M at Georgia (-13.5)
Michael: Outside of Tennessee, Texas A&M may be the league’s most improved team since the start of the season. The Aggies are once again heating up toward the close of the season but the difference this year is instead of seniors and juniors leading the way, Jimbo Fisher’s squad has been receiving a massive boost from freshmen and sophomores. Both teams enter this matchup on a four-game winning streak but the difference in competition faced could not be much different. Whereas Georgia has been getting tested by some of the best teams in the nation over the last month, Texas A&M’s toughest competition came from a 4-win Ole Miss squad. Considering how dominant Georgia’s run defense has been in recent weeks, look for Texas A&M’s issues rushing the ball to reemerge this week. Without much help from the ground game, Kellen Mond will be forced to carry the offense, which is something we’ve not seen him do yet this season. Georgia rolls on to another as the Dawgs continue to eye a return trip to the College Football Playoff.
Georgia 30 Texas A&M 16
Chris: This is a game that I had circled on my schedule/calendar back in August. No, not because of the lofty preseason expectations for each team, but because this game screams let down for UGA. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big believer in the Dawgs and think this defense is one of the best, not only in the country, but in the last 5 years or so in the SEC. They’re fast, disciplined, and absolutely suffocating. However, I wonder how this team will get back up mentally and emotionally after clinching the East and playing Florida, Mizzou, and Auburn in 3 consecutive weeks.
We have 2 weeks left of the regular season and somehow this only the 3rd true road game that the Aggies have played. How? I expect a low scoring game for a few reasons. One, A&M is averaging only 21.7 ppg on the road which is more than 12 points less per game than their season average. And two, both teams have been an under bettor’s dream this season as they’ve gone below the number in all 3 of A&M’s road games and 8 of UGA’s 10 games overall.
Georgia 24 Texas A&M 13
Arkansas at LSU (-44)
Michael: Just when it looked like Arkansas may no longer be the laughingstock of the SEC after the school dismissed Chad Morris, the line debuted for this matchup. Of course, when matching the SEC’s best against the league’s worst — compounded by the fact the game is on the road and at night, the result was always going to be a large point spread but this line remains ridiculous. Arkansas has more talent than its shown in recent weeks and as long as they haven’t completely rolled over, look from them to at least put up a fight in this game. LSU may score at will but look for Coach O to call off the dogs early in that case. This pick is a stone-cold lock, take the points in this easy cover.
LSU 48 Arkansas 20
Chris: You can throw out the record books when these two face off this Saturday night. Not because of a potential upset. Just throw them out, so Arkansas fans don’t have a constant reminder of hitting (Little) Rock bottom this season. Arkansas is coming off a bye (reluctantly I assume), and will play their first game under interim coach…I honestly don’t know his name. Nor should I because if there’s anything I’ve learned this season it’s that the less I invest into the Hogs the less disappointment I get in return.
The real story in this game is whether or not LSU will cover the largest spread in an SEC game since 1980. LSU is favored by nearly half a hundo which seems like a lot to cover. The best bet here is LSU -27.5 in the first half, as the Tigers starters will look to build an early lead to get the bad taste out of their mouth after last week’s pathetic defensive performance. I imagine Coach O will pull the starters as early as possible, and Rakeem Boyd will break off a big run late for a backdoor cover and one of the only (moral) victories the Hogs have had all season.
LSU 51 Arkansas 10
Tennessee at Missouri (-4)
Michael: There’s a lot that suggests this game may not be much of a contest. Tennessee has won four out of five with the only loss coming at Alabama, while Missouri has dropped four in a row and appears to somehow be getting worse as the season progresses. Jeremy Pruitt has faced Kelly Bryant once before (in the 2018 College Football Playoff when Alabama beat Clemson 24-6) and while those circumstances were much different, the gameplan likely won’t be much different for Tennessee’s defense come Saturday. Bryant has yet to show he can consistently beat SEC defenses with his arm and when Mizzou cannot get the ground game going, the entire defense stalls out. Considering Tennessee’s defense is playing its best football since Pruitt’s arrival on Rocky Top, we could be in for another ugly performance from Mizzou.
It will be interesting to see how much the offseason drama between these two coaching staffs bubbles up to the surface come Saturday. Considering it’s Senior Day and Barry Odom specifically called out Jeremy Pruitt and his staff in their attempts to poach unnamed Missouri seniors from the roster this offseason, it’s hard to imagine that isn’t brought up at some point this weekend. While Missouri’s offense has driven off a cliff, Odom’s defense remains strong and could give the Vols’ banged-up offensive line some issues come Saturday. This game may come down to the kicking game, where Tennessee has a big advantage with Brent Cimaglia on the roster. The spread may be the right number but the wrong team is favored.
Tennessee 20 Missouri 17
Chris: This game is one of the least interesting, and yet somehow most interesting, matchups in the SEC this season. You have two division foes heading in totally opposite directions, as Mizzou has lost 4 in a row while Tennessee has won 4 of their last 5. Also, the winner becomes bowl eligible and will most likely get to 7 wins next weekend (they play Arkansas and Vandy respectively) which may not seem like a big deal, but I can assure you there’s a big difference between spending the holidays in Nashville vs Shreveport.
I’m not sure when or why the wheels fell off for Mizzou, but they have been a totally different team since they lost to Vandy last month. Through their first 6 games this season the Tigers averaged 38.8 ppg and 474 ypg on offense. However, during this 4 game losing streak they’ve averaged just 6.8 ppg and 259 ypg. I know they’ve boat raced the Vols two years in a row. But, the Vols will come into CoMo after their bye week and continue this miraculous turnaround with a big win.
Tennessee 20 Missouri 16