SEC Week 9 predictions (and bets)
The games around the league are starting to get really big as both SEC divisions will be determined over the next two weekends, starting with the huge East matchup in Jacksonville. It’s time to find out who we predict to win and cover in this week in our weekly predictions column.
Michael went 3-3 against the spread last weekend. His against the spread record for the season is 37-23. Chris went 2-4 for Week 7 as he decided to back his beloved Tide last weekend and they came through in a big way. His season total now resembles a Tua Tagovaioloa game passing chart at 28-32.
Here’s how the guys predict the Week 9 games in the SEC:
Texas A&M at Mississippi State (-2)
Michael: This line makes no sense to me and hasn’t since opening. I would favor the Aggies in this one and even throw Mississippi State a touchdown by the way they are playing on offense. Joe Moorhead’s unit may not be as bad as they appear, although they do rank 127 out of 127 in scoring offense against conference opponents (9.8 ppg), but much of that has to do with the defenses they have faced to this point. The task doesn’t get much easier this week, as A&M is only giving up 77.5 rushing yards per SEC game this season and are coming off a bye. In the latest A&M game, South Carolina took away Trayveon Williams and forced Kellen Mond to beat them. The sophomore proceeded to deliver an efficient 353 yards and one touchdown performance on the road. One aspect of this game that will likely be overlooked by some, A&M punter Braden Mann may be the best player at his position in the nation this season. With Mann’s leg and Mike Elko’s defense, Nick Fitzgerald and company will be forced to drive the length of the field all game long, with could spell trouble.
Texas A&M 20 Mississippi State 13
Chris: Does anyone else find it weird that Mississippi State is favored by the same amount of points they scored in an entire game last week? Mississippi St took only mustered three points with two weeks to prepare. Yikes. This week they face an A&M team that many think is the best two-loss team in the country. Nick Fitzgerald has been abysmal at passing the football. However, they do have the No. 1 rush offense in the SEC, and will face the No. 1 rush defense in A&M.
A&M is 6-1 ATS this season, and I like Jimbo’s experience more than Joe Moorhead despite Jimbo having a career record of just 4-4 when his team is coming off a bye. At the very least I think A&M should come in with some confidence to go along with that high powered offense and stout D.
Texas A&M 21 Mississippi State 20
Kentucky at Missouri (-7)
Michael: I understand this line, considering Mizzou just scored at will against Memphis and Kentucky can’t seem to move the ball at all through the air but I’m going to buck the current trends and stick with the Wildcats in this one. Missouri is a team that seems to pile on against inferior teams but often struggles to compete against the more complete teams on the schedule. For all his success, and having a quarterback many believe will be the first player selected at the position in the 2019 NFL Draft, Barry Odom still has yet to achieve a win over a ranked team. I’m leaning with Kentucky to win this game on the line of scrimmage and Josh Allen making a play or two that will determine this game for the Wildcats. For some reason, Mark Stoops team continues to be disrespected when it comes to the gambling line and I’m sure that trend will continue next weekend when they face Georgia.
Kentucky 29 Missouri 26
Chris: Kentucky is like the stepdad or inner city substitute teacher of the SEC. Absolutely zero respect from anyone. They’re 6-1 and ranked 12th in the nation and are a TD underdog to a team that is 3-15 in their last 18 games against FBS teams with winning records. How you ask? It’s definitely not the raucous environment at Mizzou. For God’s sakes they have students that fight over being able to sit on rocks during the game.
No, the reason this line is so skewed is that our favorite neighbor Terry Wilson has become the ultimate equalizer at QB. And, not in a good way. Last week he threw for just 18 yards which was the 3rd time in 7 games he failed to throw for more than 100 yards. I like Lock and Albert O, and would be real confident in covering the spread if Emanuel Hall returns. That being said Kentucky still has the best defense in the SEC, and Benny Snell and Kash Daniel eat rocks for breakfast.
Missouri 27 Kentucky 23
Tennessee at South Carolina (-7.5)
Michael: Breaking down the numbers heading into this matchup, these two are very similar halfway into their seasons. South Carolina’s scoring offense and scoring defense numbers are slightly better, however, Tennessee turnover rate is better. Neither team has been managed to rush the ball or stop the run, neither team gets to opposing passers and are average at protecting their passers. Obviously, the similarities don’t end there, as both programs are led by defensive-minded coaches from the Nick Saban coaching tree, they both featured touted high school quarterbacks that have been inconsistent during their careers and feature young but talented secondaries (that feature freshmen DBs that were at one time committed to the other program — Jaycee Horn for Carolina and Bryce Thompson for Tennessee) with both offenses led by their veteran receiving corps. These two programs have also played some tight games over the years, the previous six have all been decided by six points or less, and while I’m not a big believer in stats such as that meaning much moving forward, these two seemed destined to play another classic in Columbia on Saturday night.
South Carolina 30 Tennessee 24
Chris: As much as I hate to stroke my man Michael’s ego, I have been really impressed with Tennessee since the Florida loss. It seems like Pruitt has a clear cut vision of the direction he wants that program to go in. This game will most likely come down to QB play which is a travesty to anyone watching. They’re both good QB’s, but have not been helped much by their supporting cast. Jake Bentley leads the SEC in INT’s despite having the highest amount of on-target throws in the conference. And, Jarrett Guarantano is the toughest dude in the SEC. There are POW’s who haven’t taken the beating he has the last two seasons.
South Carolina 31 Tennessee 23
Vanderbilt (-1.5) at Arkansas
Michael: This may sound strange, but I probably would have picked Vanderbilt if Arkansas was the favorite in this game. With the line currently flipped the other way, I’ll take the Razorbacks and the points in this one. I’m assuming Ty Storey is good to go, Chad Morris has indicated as much this week, as he seems to be the quarterback that has been most able to execute the offensive gameplan of the coaching staff. John Chavis’ defense put up its first shutout of the Morris era against Tulsa, after getting blasted against Alabama and Ole Miss leading up to that game. The Razorback defense may not have been as bad as they looked against the great offenses it has faced this season but Tulsa’s pathetic offense may have made them look a bit better than they really are. Vanderbilt will find some success in this game, led by senior quarterback Kyle Shurmur and running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Both of these teams rank among the best in the SEC in fewest penalty yards given up, but also feature two of the least efficient offenses and least efficient defenses. Don’t be surprised if Connor Limpert delivers Morris the first SEC win of his coaching career.
Arkansas 24 Vanderbilt 23
Chris: Do you remember that episode of The Office where they’re at the company picnic and Toby and some other HR guy with an equally awful personality were hanging out. That’s what this feels like. An absolutely electric atmosphere for two teams that you can throw out the record books when they play. Mainly because they want you to forget the actual records.
Regardless, I think Vegas has been way too high on Vandy ever since they had that close loss to Notre Dame. Vandy should be able to put up some points and take advantage of a Hogs Passing D that is ranked 100th in the nation. However, Vandy is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 and 1-6 overall in their last 7 road games. The real play is the under.
Arkansas 23 Vanderbilt 21
Florida vs. Georgia (-6.5)
Michael: I was leaning toward Florida all week but with this line trending toward the Gators and with more time to study the key factors in this game, I’m going with Georgia to win this game and cover the spread. Arguably the biggest key for the Gators in their incredible start to the season has been their ability to force turnovers. The Bulldogs don’t turn the ball over much, only seven times in as many games, and if that trend continues, I don’t think Kirby Smart’s team will be challenged much in this one. Getting the Bulldogs in third and long situation will be key for the Gators and that’s also something I don’t have full confidence in Dan Mullen’s squad to do exiting the bye week. Given two weeks to correct its issues from the LSU game, I like Georgia to bounce back in a big way. If this game was played last weekend, I likely would have leaned with the Gators but taking a week off may have cooled a team trending in the right direction.
Georgia 33 Florida 20
Chris: As someone who lives in Georgia this game makes me really nervous. And, I’m not even a Dawgs fan. Why? Because if UGA loses this weekend and effectively ends their national title hopes this state will go into full-on meltdown mode. I’m talking two inches of snow in March type of meltdown. The last time UGA played they were a TD favorite vs LSU, and they were boat raced by 20 after a season-high four turnovers. Also, if you would’ve told me months ago that Feleipe Franks would be the QB in this game people have more confidence in I would’ve called that addiction hotline with the guy in the glasses from tv because I would’ve thought you were high.
This game is so big for each team. The winner of this game will have a 77% chance to win the SEC East going into November. UGA lost a little swag two weeks ago in Death Valley, and this Gators defense will harass Fromm all day. I think it comes down to turnovers. Florida ranks 3rd nationally in forced turnovers this season. I still like Kirby and Jake from State Fromm though.
Georgia 30 Florida 17