SEC Week 5 predictions (and bets)
It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means — it’s time for the weekly gambling picks from two guys that are struggling to picks winners this year!
If you missed it 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.
On the season, Michael is 18-17-1 against the spread while Chris is 12–22-2.
Here is how the guys predict the Week 5 action to play out:
Texas A&M (-23) vs. Arkansas * game in Arlington
Michael: This may sound crazy but I’m not ready to give up on this Razorback team just yet. That San Jose State loss was bad but Arkansas still had a chance to win that game late in the fourth quarter despite the fact Nick Starkel threw five interceptions in the game. The Razorbacks had to give that one away, and they most certainly did, after getting too high following the win over Colorado State. On the other side of this matchup, it remains to be seen how the Aggies will respond following a tough performance in a big home loss. If the Aggies have issues running the ball against the Razorbacks, that’s going to be a huge red flag for Jimbo Fisher’s offense moving forward. I like the Aggies to win but the Razorbacks to cover.
Texas A&M 35 Arkansas 17
Chris: After throwing 5 INTs last week Nick Starkel took to Twitter to announce that he threw away his favorite Justin Bieber shirt and assured fans there’d be “no more distractions.” Justin Bieber actually responded on social media saying he was disappointed in Starkel. And, THAT is the current state of Arkansas football y’all. What a time to be alive. This line seems high considering that 4 of the last 5 have been decided by 7 points or fewer. A&M is a much better team than Arkansas and has won 7 straight vs the Hogs, but this one is almost always “closer than the experts think.”
Texas A&M 38 Arkansas 20
Northern Illinois at Vanderbilt (-6.5)
Michael: Yeah, Vanderbilt may be the only winless team in the SEC but if they had opened with a cupcake opponent or two like some others, they’d have a cheap win or two like everyone else in the league. While Vanderbilt may not have earned a win just yet, the Commodores have faced off against some of the best teams in the country and showed plenty of positives in each game. If they can put together a complete game against Northern Illinois, they should win easily.
Vanderbilt 30 Northern Illinois 17
Chris: Vandy needs a win in the worst way. They’re 0-3 and the biggest highlight of their season has been almost scoring 40 points and still losing by 4 TDs. Yikes. Vandy’s defense has been atrocious so far this season. However, NIU shouldn’t be much of a threat. They’re ranked 123rd in FBS in scoring offense (16.3 ppg) and 110th in total offense (347 ypg). Also, Derek Mason is 6-0 ATS in non-conference home games since 2015.
Vanderbilt 31 Northern Illinois 17
Ole Miss at Alabama (-38)
Michael: I fear for the Rebels secondary after surrendering 357 passing yards to some QB named Chase Garbers and some of the slowest receivers I’ve ever seen suit up at the FBS level. Depending on how long the first-team Alabama offense stays on the field, the Crimson Tide may double that production on Saturday. Look for Ole Miss to really attempt to take the air out of the ball this weekend, as Matt Corral is banged up and there’s a good chance true freshman John Rhys Plumlee makes his first career start Saturday in Tuscaloosa. I’ve heard this week that this is the largest spread in Ole Miss football history. If they can’t cover it, that’s truly a depressing sign of times in Oxford.
Alabama 55 Ole Miss 10
Chris: How is this the 3:30 game? Ole Miss has been better than I thought they’d be this season, and a lot of that has to do with their defensive turnaround. Their 2 losses came against good teams and were both by one score or less. That being said Bama has outscored Ole Miss 128-10 over the last 2 seasons and Tua and the offense are somehow even more efficient this year. Bama is really banged up and has a bye week next Saturday. I’m assuming Saban pulls the starters early and Ole Miss covers late.
Alabama 48 Ole Miss 14
Mississippi State at Auburn (-10.5)
Michael: I’m fully on the Auburn hype train but I think the line at opening provided better value (Auburn +9). If Tommy Stevens plays, this game could go down to the wire. It’s also difficult to make a prediction based on the fact we don’t know which Mississippi State players will be suspended following their roles in “tutorgate” and which will be allowed to play against the Tigers. Look for this game to be a defensive battle, with points being hard to come by on The Plains. I’ll take the Bulldogs and the points but I don’t feel great about it.
Auburn 24 Mississippi State 14
Chris: Auburn is on a roll and has the best resume in all of college football so far this season. Their defense has been absolutely suffocating especially against the run. Not great news for Kylin Hill and the Bulldogs. Mississippi State is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. Auburn, and this could be a trap game for the Tigers with Florida next week. I thought the line was too high at first. However, Mississippi State has lost their last 9 road games vs ranked SEC teams, and have done so by an average of 21 points. Oh boy.
Auburn 27 Mississippi State 13
Kentucky at South Carolina (-3)
Michael: So it’s come to this for Will Muschamp? You know it’s been a rough season when your AD has to come out and give you a vote of confidence, as Ray Tanner did this week in Columbia. In a strange twist of irony, Coach Boom must beat the team that he somehow has yet to figure out how to beat in Columbia to keep the fan base at bay — at least for another week. Luckily for Muschamp, Mark Stoops and Kentucky have their own issues at the moment as Sawyer Smith has not only come back down to earth but has been dinged up in both of his appearances this season. Kentucky has lost its identity without Terry Wilson unless they find it in a hurry, they will leave Columbia with a loss for the first time since 2013.
South Carolina 27 Kentucky 23
Chris: Death. Taxes. And, Vegas disrespecting Kentucky. UK has won the last 5 games vs South Carolina and covered the spread in the last 6, yet somehow they’re a 3 point underdog to a 1-3 team. Carolina’s success in this game will come down to one thing and one thing only – Ryan Hilinski’s health. Carolina has struggled offensively more against Kentucky than any other team over the past 3 seasons. Since 2016 they’ve averaged only 11 ppg vs the Cats which is less than half their scoring average vs the rest of the league. The best play is the under (50.5) which has hit in 8 of UK’s last 10 SEC games as well as 4 straight years in this series by an average of 17 points.
Kentucky 23 South Carolina 19