SEC Week 9 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.
Michael has a winning record last weekend (4-3) and now sits with a 30-29-1 against the spread record. Chris finished with a 2-5 record and falls to 25-33-2 against the spread.
Here is how the guys predict the Week 9 action to play out:
Mississippi State at Texas A&M (-10.5)
Michael: This is a tough game to pick a winner but I’m feeling good about taking Mississippi State and the points in this matchup. Texas A&M isn’t playing well enough to be this large of a favorite against any league team outside of Arkansas and Vanderbilt. The biggest issue for the Aggie defense in recent weeks has been stopping the run and that just so happens to be what Mississippi State does best on offense. Kellen Mond is quietly having a solid season but he’s not getting much help, especially in the ground game. Despite a rough few games, the Bulldogs are still playing hard for Joe Moorhead and I look for that trend to continue this weekend in College Station.
Mississippi State 24 Texas A&M 21
Chris: A&M got back on track last week with a road when vs Ole Miss. Mississippi State continued to spiral out of control like their QB on that 4th down run vs Kansas St earlier this season. This one is simple for me. Jimbo has been one of the best coaches ATS since joining the SEC. Plus, the Aggies are at home. But, the biggest reason the Aggies will win and cover is that Mississippi State’s defense has been terrible most of the season allowing almost 30 points per game. Yikes.
Texas A&M 35 Mississippi State 20
South Carolina (-4.5) at Tennessee
Michael: Tennessee’s plans under center remain the biggest question mark heading into this matchup as it sounds like the coaching staff has yet to decide who to roll out under center. JT Shrout is being given every opportunity to earn the spot but I’m hearing Jarrett Guarantano is likely to be the starter. The best matchup of this game could be Tennessee’s offensive line against the South Carolina defensive line, both of which are playing at a high level entering this matchup. Ryan Hilinski hasn’t truly effective since injuring his elbow and with Rico Dowdle out, Tavien Feaster and Mon Denson will have to shoulder the load for the Gamecocks. I’m not expecting a high scoring game but given Tennessee’s uncertainty under center, I’m going with South Carolina. The Will Muschamp curse lives on for the Vols.
South Carolina 24 Tennessee 17
Chris: This game hasn’t started yet and the SEC has already thrown a penalty flag on both teams. Both of these teams looked a lot better than their final and boxscores from a week ago. However, I think this game will be South Carolina’s to lose. Tennessee is still awful on offense no matter who is at QB. And USC’s D-Line will give Tennessee fits from all the pressure they should put on the Vols throughout the game. Also, say what you want about Will Muschamp as a head coach, but the man is 7-0 all-time vs. Tennessee. Cocky Top all day.
South Carolina 23 Tennessee 16
Arkansas at Alabama (-31.5)
Michael: This line has dropped since opening (Alabama -35) but there’s still some value in the current line considering Tua Tagovailoa is out and Arkansas does have enough playmakers to at least threaten the Crimson Tide. Alabama will likely keep things relatively conservative on offense with Mac Jones running the show and let Najee Harris and Brian Robinson carry the load. Don’t be surprised if Rakeem Boyd or CJ O’Grady make a big play or two in this game. Arkansas may not be any good but they have some real skill talent to work with entering this matchup. The Razorbacks have nothing to lose heading into this matchup and I like them to play loose enough to earn an easy cover — as long as they don’t break out any fake punts on 4th and 11 again.
Alabama 35 Arkansas 14
Chris: A backup QB starting for a team that just wants to get to their bye week before the potential 1 vs 2 matchup in Tuscaloosa in a few weeks. There are a lot of reasons why Arkansas should cover this huge spread. They won’t though. The hogs rank in the bottom 2 of the conference in total defense and rushing defense. Mac Jones could not throw a pass and the Tide would win by 4 scores. But, he will throw, and he’ll be throwing to the best group of skill players in the country, so they’ll win by 5 scores.
Alabama 45 Arkansas 7
Missouri (-10.5) at Kentucky
Michael: I’m still trying to figure out how Missouri lost last weekend, the Tigers had no business dropping that game to Vanderbilt. Fortunately, or unfortunately — however you want to look at it, Barry Odom has experience getting his team to respond to a poor showing and I believe he will do so again this week as Missouri should easily beat Kentucky on the road. Mark Stoops may be the most underrated coach in the league but not even he can coach around having a receiver as a quarterback, at least, not against anyone other than Chad Morris. The conditions in Athens likely prevented the Wildcats from getting blown out by Georgia last weekend but the weather won’t save them against an angry Missouri squad looking to right the ship before the Georgia game.
Missouri 30 Kentucky 17
Chris: Mizzou lost to Vandy and is a double-digit favorite on the road the following week. Huh? This will be an ugly game. I absolutely love Lynn Bowden and everything he’s trying to do for this Kentucky team. However, Mizzou is too strong defensively to have back-to-back week losses vs basement dwellers. Plus, I think Mizzou’s offense will bounce back in a big way. Sadly, I think they may only need to score twice for this one to be over.
Mizzou 24 Kentucky 0
Auburn at LSU (-10.5)
Michael: For some reason, I can’t stop picking against LSU, at least in terms of the spread. That tradition shall continue for another week as Auburn’s defense will be the best the Tigers have faced this season and while most everyone outside those living on The Plains has written Gus Malzahn’s team off following their loss to Florida, I am still firmly on the bandwagon. The last two games in the series have gone done to the wire and I expect this one to do the same. The key for Auburn’s defense will be to get to Joe Burrow quickly to avoid getting exposed on the backend. Look for Malzahn to come with a better plan of attack on the road in this matchup than he did against Florida in The Swamp. LSU keeps its perfect season alive but it won’t be in a blowout.
LSU 33 Auburn 30
Chris: LSU has been hands down the most impressive team in the country this season. We know the offense has put up record numbers through 7 games. However, it’s the defense that has been really hitting its stride as of late. Auburn will have to establish the run early and win the turnover battle to have a chance in this game. Which is concerning because LSU is 2nd in the SEC in rush defense, and Auburn’s secondary is last in the league in INTs. I think Auburn will keep it close for around 3 quarters because of the pass rush which is unlike anything LSU has faced all season.
LSU 34 Auburn 28