SEC Week 8 predictions (and bets)
It’s Wednesday night, which means it’s time to get your weekly 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.
The guys are coming off a winning weekend as they both went 4-3 against the spread in Week 7. With last weekend’s results in Michael improves his season total to 26-26-1 ATS with Chris climbing back closer to .500 overall at 23-28-2 ATS.
Here is how the guys predict the Week 8 action to play out:
Florida (-5.5) at South Carolina
Michael: This is a tough game to predict considering the closer kickoff gets, the more signs Will Muschamp seems to put out indicating Ryan Hilinski won’t play in this game. During the weekly SEC coaches teleconference, Muschamp admitted Hilinski has not been cleared but did note he “looked fine” at practice. Just gamesmanship here by Muschamp? We’ll see. Florida is banged up on defense and will be facing arguably the toughest defense of the season on Saturday. Will the Gators respond to the challenge? If Hilinski plays, I think the Gamecocks have a real shot to win outright but I’m going with the Gators until that news is confirmed.
Florida 24 South Carolina 17
Chris: I’ve picked against South Carolina several times this year, and it’s come back to bite me on multiple occasions. I’ve also been higher on Florida on several occasions and absolutely LOVE what Dan Mullen has done with this team through all their adversity. However, this week I’m going out on a limb and picking the upset. Florida is coming off back to back huge games vs Top 10 teams with Auburn and LSU. College Gameday was at both. Both were nationally televised. And, both were very physically and emotionally taxing. This week they have to turnaround and go to beautiful Columbia, South Carolina for a 12 Noon start and face that Gamecock Front 4, those fans singing Sandstorm, AND…THE INFAMOUS WILL MUSCHAMP READING GLASSES.
South Carolina 20 Florida 19
Auburn (-19) at Arkansas
Michael: After losing to a struggling Kentucky team that was forced to play a receiver at quarterback, I have no faith in Arkansas to do much of anything this season. Players appear to be jumping ship in Fayetteville, Arkansas has suffered a few defections this week if you missed that, while Auburn is still very much a Playoff contender despite the rough showing in Gainesville two weeks ago. The Tigers have had two weeks to prepare for this matchup and I don’t expect this defense to give up more than 10 points against Chad Morris’ offense. John Chavis has had success going up against Gus Malzahn in the past but in those games, the defensive coordinator had equal or better talent on hand to counter what Auburn’s coach wanted to do on offense. The only thing that could save Morris here is Malzahn calling off his team so as not to embarrass his long-time friend.
Auburn 52 Arkansas 10
Chris: Auburn is coming off a loss and a week off. Arkansas is coming off a loss against a team that played a WR at QB. I have zero faith in Arkansas. I have a lot of faith in this Auburn defense and in “New Gus” getting his true freshman QB back on track. Auburn will put up 500 yards of offense against the Hogs and win in a blowout.
Auburn 38 Arkansas 7
LSU (-18.5) at Mississippi State
Michael: This is my favorite bet on the board this week. The nation watched LSU’s offense carve up Florida’s outstanding defense last weekend and prove they were as good as advertised. Meanwhile, Mississippi State put up a dud of a performance against Tennessee and looks to be trending in the wrong direction under Joe Moorhead. The Tigers are going to receive heavy action in Vegas but I’m going the other way and like Mississippi State to show up and push LSU to the limit Saturday in Davis Wade. Moorhead is wisely turning over the offense to Garrett Shrader and with LSU coming off an all-time high during the Ed Orgeron era, I like the Tigers to suffer a let down this week.
LSU 30 Mississippi State 27
Chris: In addition to the Iowa fan wave, one of the best new traditions in all of College Football may be CBS picking the wrong 3:30 game. A trip to Starkville to watch Joe Burrow hang 40 on a 3-3 team? Sure. Can’t wait. This is a perfect spot for a letdown game for LSU after beating Florida last Saturday night in Death Valley. Regardless, I don’t think it happens. MSU looked horrid last week in Knoxville, and that was after an extra week off to prepare. LSU has hung 40 or more against 3 straight Top 10 teams. This ain’t that.
LSU 48 Mississippi State 17
Missouri (-21) at Vanderbilt
Michael: Heading into this matchup, Missouri is playing the best football in the SEC East while Vanderbilt is playing the worst football in the SEC — if not the nation. This Tiger team is not one you want to face when you need to correct issues, especially on defense. For all the flak Barry Odom took when he hired Derek Dooley, the move has proven to be a stroke of genius as the offensive coordinator has not only led one of the league’s most explosive units since his arrival, Missouri plays complimentary offensive football, which makes it that much tougher to stop. Good luck Commodores, you are going to need it.
Missouri 48 Vanderbilt 20
Chris: I’ve over everything Nashville right now. I’m over the knockoff Chicken sandwiches from anywhere not named Hattie B’s. I’m over every Hollister mannequin bro country band pretending to be from the South. And, I’m REALLY over watching this Vanderbilt team where an SEC logo this season. It’s putrid, porous, and pathetic. Mizzou by a thousand. Or whatever the spread is at least.
Missouri 38 Vanderbilt 13
Kentucky at Georgia (-25)
Michael: There’s still plenty of time for Georgia to turn things around but the reality is this is not the team we all thought they would be entering the season. Even before last weekend’s upset, the Dawgs looked sloppy and inconsistent this season in games against Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Notre Dame. The expectation that they will flip and switch and dominate a down Kentucky team is unfounded based on what we’ve seen from the Dawgs in 2019. The Wildcats should be too one-dimensional to challenge the Bulldogs when it comes to the final score of this one but I don’t expect the Bulldogs to blow this team out, either. I’ll take Kentucky and the points and feel pretty confident about that selection.
Georgia 30 Kentucky 17
Chris: UGA has been sleepwalking through the first half of most of their games this season, and last week they slept through the whole thing as they got their a** kicked in embarrassing fashion by Carolina. I’m sure some of you will overreact to my description of the game, but it was an a** kicking by all means. UGA, who supposedly has the best O-Line in CFB, was whipped up front all day long. They were beaten in ALL THREE phases of the game by a team that lost to UNC and gained just 16 yards rushing vs. Mizzou. It’s ok. Every now and then a team needs a wake-up call. And, so do their fans. It may be time to pump the brakes on all that Twitter trolling and chest-beating until the Dawgs actually win something of significance. Because right now the shiniest trophy in that trophy case is for an SEC Championship you won in a year you lost to an SEC team in the Natty.
I’ll get off my soapbox now and let you know that UK is one dimensional (if that) and 6 of UGA’s last 9 wins vs the SEC East have been by 24 points or more.
Georgia 38 Kentucky 10
Texas A&M (-6.5) at Ole Miss
Michael: My pick for this game has less to do with being down on the Aggies as it does the fact I’ve been very impressed with the improvements from Ole Miss this season. I had the Rebels pegged as the worst team in the SEC heading into the season but they’ve already proven they are far from that and just went on the road and went toe-to-toe with the SEC’s most underrated team. If Ole Miss can find success on the ground, they will win this game in Oxford. The key for Texas A&M is taking advantage of a weak Ole Miss secondary and while Kellen Mond and his receivers should manage to do that, I don’t believe they will have enough success to carry the Aggies to a win in this matchup. I’m calling for the upset, the Rebels take a big step toward returning to the postseason on Saturday in Oxford.
Ole Miss 35 Texas A&M 33
Chris: Ole Miss finally ran into a little bit of a buzzsaw in CoMo last weekend. And, A&M continues to be a buzzkill in year 2 of Jimbo Fisher and his Dan Uggla sized contract. I’ve got 2 upsets penned for this weekend, and this will be the first. This A&M team has been about as disappointing as that 3rd Godfather movie or that Ocean’s 12 debacle. A&M is one dimensional on offense, and is basically running al bend but STILL break defense. Ole Miss’ defense is good enough to hold the Aggies to a low score and pull off the victory in Oxford.
Ole Miss 24 Texas A&M 23
Tennessee at Alabama (-34.5)
Michael: I loved this line when it came out (Alabama -35.5) but I still like it following the slight shift as Tennessee has looked like a new team with Brian Maurer under center. All indications are the freshman will suit up for this game but even if he can’t, Jarrett Guarantano took what Mississippi State’s defense gave him last week and Tennessee’s offensive line is really starting to jell. Alabama is going to score with ease but I anticipate Tennessee managing to move the ball effectively and put up some points against the Crimson Tide’s defense. This won’t be the slaughter many are predicting it will be.
Alabama 45 Tennessee 28
Chris: Look at Tennessee getting a win last week! Pruitt and the Vols finally put together a full game, and it was a lot of fun to watch this team rally around each other and come away with a victory. I love Maurer at QB, but I also love the resiliency I’ve seen from JG in backup duty over the past few weeks. Regardless, they will have a tough road ahead in Tuscaloosa against this Bama offense and a defense that looked much better after the bye week (no matter what the scoreboard or message boards had to say about it). Bama pulls away early, but Saban won’t run it up on his former assistant. Will he?
Alabama 45 Tennessee 17