SEC Week 7 predictions (and bets)
Time for your weekly dose of SDS gambling action as the Week 7 SEC predictions against the spread are here.
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.
Chris is quickly catching up to Mike in the overall standings with another stellar performance last week (4-1 ATS) but Mike still leads the season standings with a 22-23-1 ATS overall record while Chris has a 19–25-2 ATS record.
Here is how the guys predict the Week 7 action to play out:
South Carolina at Georgia (-24.5)
Michael: Ryan Hilinski has proven to be worth the hype but it’s asking a ton for a true freshman to carry a team to a win on the road in the SEC. The good news is the Gamecocks have found a ton of success on the ground this season and Rico Dowdle is playing the best football of his career heading into this matchup. Georgia’s slow starts are starting to concern me as the Bulldogs have yet to put together a complete performance this season. Will this be the game Georgia asks Jake Fromm to unleash the deep ball? The Gamecocks have a solid frontline of defensive backs but are thin in terms of depth in the secondary. I like South Carolina to get in the end zone on the ground, something that Georgia’s defense has yet to allow this season, and have some success on the ground early but it won’t be enough to threaten the Bulldogs come the second half.
Georgia 35 South Carolina 14
Chris: Through 6 weeks it’s clear that UGA has very few flaws, as they’ve been absolutely dominant in almost every game. Kirby and the Dawgs are already 3-0 this season as 20+ point favorites, and they haven’t lost to an SEC East team since 2016. With the early start time, I’m assuming UGA will look a little sluggish and hungover early on because that’s how everyone looks after visiting Athens. Also, the Gamecocks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a road underdog, and are coming off a bye week.
UGA is by far the superior team, and this game should never be in doubt. However, UGA has beaten South Carolina by 25 or more points just once in the last 40 years of this rivalry.
Georgia 38 South Carolina 17
Mississippi State (-7) at Tennessee
Michael: Brian Maurer provided Tennessee with a much-needed spark last weekend and has given Vol Nation hope that this season may not be lost after all. If he plays like he did in the first half against Georgia, Tennessee will win this game easily; if he plays like he did in the second half against Georgia, Tennessee will get blown out. I think his play will be somewhere in the middle come Saturday. Mississippi State is keeping its options under center and its suspensions close to the vest but if the Bulldogs unleash all their players Saturday, that could prove to be the difference in this game. Hail State should have a major advantage with its offensive line and Kylin Hill in this game. Tennessee’s best shot may come if Garrett Sharder starts and struggles on the road.
Mississippi State 30 Tennessee 20
Chris: Both teams have been rather underwhelming to start the season, and both are coming off losses of nearly 30 points apiece. Tennessee looked much better last week with Maurer at QB. Regardless, if this game is only a TD point spread I’m assuming it will come down to a close 2nd Half. Fun fact, UT has scored 1 TD in the 2nd Half all season vs FBS teams, and it came with two seconds left vs Georgia St. The Vols are also ranked 12th in the SEC in rushing defense, so expect a heavy dose of Kylin Hill from the Bulldogs all day Saturday.
Mississippi State 30 Tennessee 20
Alabama (-16.5) at Texas A&M
Michael: This is a confusing line as Alabama has yet to be tested while Texas A&M has not looked good throughout much of the season. The Aggies’ best shot in this game is to get the crowd in it early and shorten the game with an effective running game, keeping the ball away from Tua and his receivers. Unfortunately, Texas A&M’s ground game has been non-existent for much of the season, so good luck with all that. This will likely be the final week that Texas A&M is ranked this season, enjoy it while it lasts Aggies!
Alabama 42 Texas A&M 14
Chris: This game hasn’t started yet, and CBS has already mentioned “The Saban coaching tree” and showed the Manziel 2012-fumble-TD 3897234 times. Since that 2012 loss to the Aggies, Bama has won 6 in a row in this series. However, they’ve had a much more difficult time on the road during that stretch, as their average margin of victory in College Station has been 11 ppg versus 33 ppg when they play the Aggies at home.
Bama’s defense has been a little suspect since late last season. They’ve given up 30+ points in 3 of their last 7 games and even allowed 276 yards rushing to Ole Miss two weeks ago. That being said, they’re coming off a bye week of extra prep/Saban screaming to help fix those problems. Also, A&M is currently ranked 97th in the FBS in rushing offense and has averaged 15 ppg against ranked teams this year.
Alabama 38 Texas A&M 14
UNLV at Vanderbilt (-14.5)
Michael: This line debuted with Vanderbilt being an even larger favorite but after some heavy early action, it has shifted in favor of UNLV by a few points. I liked it better around 17 but I’m still leaning UNLV and the points heading into this matchup. Vanderbilt should have a major advantage in terms of overall talent but when players begin to admit a sense of panic coming from the locker room after a handful of game, I don’t have much faith in the Commodores covering in Nashville.
Vanderbilt 28 UNLV 14
Chris: Outside of learning Dothraki or talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner there’s almost nothing I’d rather do less than watch this game. We’ll keep it brief. Vandy is 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games, and UNLV is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog vs P5 opponents. Both teams rank 114th or lower in total defense, and UNLV has lost their last 4 games in a row by a combined 103 points. But, Vandy shouldn’t be 14 points better than anyone in anything but SAT and credit scores. Take UNLV. And a nap.
Vanderbilt 30 UNLV 17
Ole Miss at Missouri (-12)
Michael: Ole Miss has gained my respect this season as the defense has completely turned the corner this season under Mike MacIntyre while Rich Rodriguez’s fingerprints are all over this offense as the unit has turned into a rushing machine. If you have yet to watch John Rhys Plumlee play, he’s been arguably the biggest surprise in the SEC. He made an immediate impact the moment he stepped on the field and I don’t see how the Rebels can sit him after what he’s shown in recent weeks. Missouri avoided disaster when the Tigers got the news that Kelly Bryant would not miss any action after taking a cheap shot to his knee last week. The Tigers passing game will be the difference in this one as Plumlee will be able to keep things interesting before Mizzou pulls away in the second half.
Missouri 38 Ole Miss 20
Chris: Both of these teams have flown under the radar after Week 1 losses. Since then they’ve been two of the best teams statistically in all of the SEC. Mizzou leads the SEC in total defense, and since the loss to Wyoming have allowed just 7.8 ppg and 186 ypg . Similarly, since Ole Miss’ 15-10 loss to Memphis in Week 1 the Rebels offense has been on fire averaging over 30 ppg and 491 ypg over their next 5 games.
That being said, I’m gonna take Mizzou because CoMo seems like the kinda place that lulls you to sleep and then becomes a nightmare for opposing teams. That explains why they’ve won their last 4 games at home by an average of 33 points and covered the spread in all 4 as well.
Missouri 37 Ole Miss 24
Arkansas at Kentucky (-6.5)
Michael: Considering Chad Morris has yet to a single game against Power 5 competition during his entire head coaching career, this may sound crazy but the wrong team may be favored in this matchup. Sawyer Smith looked incredible for a half against Florida but since that time, he’s been dreadful. Credit Smith for playing through some pain but Kentucky should not continue to roll him out there if he can’t go. Kentucky has an excellent defensive line and some quality linebackers but their defensive backfield should be at a disadvantage entering this matchup with Arkansas’ strong group of receivers and TE C.J. O’Grady. This one may not be pretty but I like the Razorbacks to win it outright.
Arkansas 24 Kentucky 20
Chris: Is it just me or does this game feel a lot less like a conference game and much more like a consolation game for 9th place at the Little League World Series. Arkansas is a bipolar nightmare in pads and helmets. I have no idea what to expect from them week to week. But, like my weird Uncle always told me, “the crazy ones are usually the most fun.” Kentucky is ranked 13th in the SEC in scoring offense, and since their 4th Quarter meltdown vs Florida they’ve given up at least 1 TD in 7 of their last 9 quarters of football. Meanwhile, they’ve failed to score a single point in 5 of those same 9 quarters. Yikes. Let’s get weird.
Arkansas 27 Kentucky 26
Florida at LSU (-13.5)
Michael: Todd Grantham’s defense proved last week they belong to be mentioned among the elite in the country after shutting down Auburn’s run-based offense. This game presents a completely different challenge for the Gators as Joe Burrow and LSU have been torching every defense they’ve seen through the air. To win this game, Florida is going to have to steal some possessions, chew up the clock and keep the ball away from the Tigers. Ed Orgeron has said that stopping the run will be key to this game and while there’s some truth in that statement, rushing the passer will be even bigger key for Dave Aranda’s defense. If they fail to do so, Florida will win this game. Dan Mullen and Grantham have had LSU’s number in recent seasons but I like the Tigers to stay unbeaten in a close one.
LSU 30 Florida 21
Chris: Outside of stepdads and inner-city substitute teachers, no one gets less respect than the Florida Gators. I mean they have one of the best defenses in the country and just beat a Top 10 team by double digits, yet they are an almost 2 TD underdog this weekend. I love this LSU team, this LSU offense, and of course this LSU QB Joe Burrow. They lead the country in scoring offense (54.6 ppg), they’re 2nd in passing offense (416 ypg), and they’re 6-2 vs Top 10 teams under Coach O. Oh, and they are playing this game in Death Valley. At night.
However, Florida hasn’t allowed over 300 yards passing in 39 straight games, and Dan Mullen has been outstanding vs LSU in his career. Over the last 5 seasons his teams have been an underdog to LSU 5 times. They’ve covered the spread in all 5, won 3 outright, and their only 2 losses were by a combined total of 5 points. Take LSU to win but Florida to cover.
LSU 34 Florida 23