SEC Week 1 predictions (and bets)
Weekly SEC picks are brought to you by MyBookie. If you’re looking for a place to make a deposit and start getting in on the action, look no further than MyBookie. Sign up and use code SDS20 to get a free $20 bet on one of this week’s college football games. You keep the winnings!
We have finally made it, SEC football is here!
Despite odds that may have appeared slim at one point, the Southeastern Conference is back on the gridiron and better than ever as the nation’s best conference is set to embark on the first 10-game conference-only schedule in league history.
SDS news desk editor Michael Bratton (@MichaelWBratton) and SDS Podcast co-host Chris Marler (@VerneFUNquist) are back again to share their (sometimes terrible) predictions picking SEC games and making picks against the spread.
This season, thankfully, there are no cupcake games to avoid, every game on the SEC schedule will have a point spread to bet on in 2020.
Here is how the guys predict the Week 1 action to play out:
Florida (-14) at Ole Miss
Michael: This line doesn’t make much sense to me, other than some folks buying into the Lane Train and what he can do in Oxford. Those people buying the hype probably still think Kiffin calls the offensive plays on game day — which is something he hasn’t done since his time at Alabama working under Nick Saban. I have Florida as the best team in the East heading into the season and Ole Miss as the worst in the West. Take the points, no matter how high this line rises.
Florida 38, Ole Miss 10
Chris: This should be a fun way to start the year in Oxford. The Lane Kiffin era starts Saturday and the Rebel Black Bear Landsharks should be fired up in their new powder blue Vineyard Vines sponsored jerseys. I think UF should win this game, but that hook worries me on the point spread. 14.5 is a lot different than 14. I think Ole Miss is primed for a backdoor cover after a fun game for fans everywhere.
Florida 31, Ole Miss 17
Kentucky at Auburn (-7.5)
Michael: I begged and pleaded for folks to bet Kentucky when this line debuted in the summer (it was first released at Auburn -17.5), there was a ton of value to be had back then but I still like this line for the Wildcats despite all the hype Mark Stoops’ program has entering this game. It almost seems like Auburn is the underdog in the game considering how much love Kentucky is getting. Auburn may have talent on paper, but Kentucky should have the edge on both lines of scrimmage and in the running game. I’ll take Kentucky and the points, even if Stoops’ team doesn’t win outright, you’ll still win this one.
Kentucky 20, Auburn 17
Chris: I absolutely cannot wait to be wrong about after Saturday, but I’m still gonna lean in hard into believing everything I’m about to say. Auburn fans you may want to sit down. I think Kentucky not only wins this game, but I think they dominate Auburn on Saturday. That’s one. Two, I think Kentucky is superior on the O-Line and D-Line to Auburn. Three, Kentucky has a deeper stable of RBs than Auburn, and I never thought I’d say that. And last but not least, four, Kentucky will beat Auburn by double-digit points this weekend. They’re for real.
Kentucky 31, Auburn 20
Mississippi State at LSU (-16.5)
Michael: We all know about all the losses LSU suffered and most of us have seen the graphic floating around noting the difference. Once Ja’Marr Chase officially opted out, many were quick to pick Mississippi State as a popular upset pick in the opener. Good luck with that. While LSU lost a ton, it is replacing those stars with a mix of experienced veterans, talented transfers and the next wave of future All-SEC selections thanks to some major recruiting wins this offseason. The talent matchup isn’t even close. LSU wins big.
LSU 42, Mississippi State 14
Chris: Coach O and the Tigers have heard idiots like me all offseason say they aren’t going to be as good this season after losing a Heisman trophy winning QB, both coordinators and 14 players to the NFL Draft. I stand by the fact that they will not be as good, but that doesn’t mean they won’t go out Saturday and try to prove a point to Miss State, the media, and all the other doubters. Orgeron is eager to prove everyone wrong, and Mike Leach was 4-11 ATS in his last 15 at Wazzu. LSU will come out firing early and put away a Miss State team going through a lot of changes.
LSU 41, Mississippi State 20
Georgia (-26) at Arkansas
Michael: This matchup is obviously a major talent disadvantage for the Razorbacks, but given all the transition on offense in Athens this offseason, I don’t expect the Bulldogs to come out and light up the scoreboard immediately. Many view Arkansas as a disaster of a program, and while that may be warranted given the results of recent seasons, there’s more talent in Fayetteville than many realize. This coaching staff will get more out of them this season. Georgia’s defense will dominate here, but 26 points is too much for me to give up Week 1.
Georgia 28, Arkansas 6
Chris: Absolutely cannot wait to see this game for several reasons. I’m eager to see what both offenses look like. Arkansas returns 4 of 5 on the OL, one of the best young WR corps in the country, and a seasoned (albeit not great) QB in Feleipe Franks. UGA has blue-chip talent everywhere on offense and now that James Coley is gone, may even have an OC that can draw up plays utilizing that talent. As exciting as the offenses could be, I just don’t see anyone, outside of Alabama, scoring over 20 points on this UGA defense all season. I think this game could be a blowout, but it won’t because Kirby will take his foot off the gas late against his former assistant.
Georgia 38, Arkansas 13
Alabama (-28) at Missouri
Michael: Nick Saban always has his Alabama program ready to go right out of the gate and considering the fact he’s bringing back a focused and driven team combined with the fact his staff is returning largely intact, the Tide should be ready to play in this game. By contrast, Missouri is installing a new offensive system, has a reduced number of scholarship players due to NCAA restrictions, COVID and opt-outs. Taking all of that into consideration, this is a nightmare matchup for the Tigers. This is the only game I’m comfortable taking the points and betting on a massive favorite this weekend.
Alabama 45, Missouri 13
Chris: There are rumors coming out of CoMo that coaches were seen driving around campus looking for “big” students who may be interested in walking on as potential O-linemen for this year’s team. I don’t know how accurate those message board diddies are, but I do know that Alabama is going to absolutely manhandle Mizzou on Saturday. The Tide return a boatload of 1st-round talent, but more important, they return both coordinators and 9 of 10 on-field assistants for the first time in a long time. They also have a chip on their shoulder. Bama has played Mizzou 3 times as an SEC opponent, and they’ve never beaten them by less than 29. The line is 28. Revenge SZN starts Saturday.
Alabama 41, Missouri 7
Tennessee (-3.5) at South Carolina
Michael: This is likely going to be the wildest game in Week 1 and I could see either side prevailing. Will Muschamp is approximately 80-1 in his career against Tennessee although last season was his first loss to the Vols. Jeremy Pruitt has yet to prove he is capable of having his program ready to play in an opener, although he’s only had two cracks at it. The biggest issue I have for the Gamecocks in this matchup is how the team plans to generate many scoring opportunities against Tennessee’s defense. I’m not a big believer in Jarrett Guarantano and with Tennessee having to replace nearly all of his key targets from last season, this looks to be a low scoring game.
Tennessee 20, South Carolina 17
Chris: I think this is lowkey the biggest game of the weekend in the SEC. A win would get either program off to a great start, and a loss could honestly derail the season before it barely begins. Especially for South Carolina. I love what Pruitt is doing on Rocky Top, and I love the momentum they have as a program going into this season. I don’t like either of those things for South Carolina. However, I am shocked that the Vols are favored. They haven’t been favored in a road game since 2016, and as mind-numbingly mediocre as South Carolina has been under Muschamp … he’s 7-1 all-time against Tennessee as a head coach. I think this will be a defensive struggle and the most desperate team will win. And outside of idiots who tweet at recruits online, nothing is more desperate than the South Carolina football team going into this season Spurs up!
South Carolina 20, Tennessee 17
Vanderbilt at Texas A&M (-30.5)
Michael: If Texas A&M were entering this game at full force, I may be tempted to pick the Aggies — Vanderbilt was just that bad last season — but this is still an SEC matchup at the end of the day. Recent events in College Station have me questioning the focus and commitment Jimbo Fisher has from his players and while I expect the Aggies to win big, this is too many points to give up in Week 1.
Texas A&M 30, Vanderbilt 13
Chris: The Aggies are obviously getting off to a 1-0 start. They’re gonna win but by how much? I mean, 30.5 is a lot of points. However, Jimbo is 8-3 ATS as a double-digit favorite at A&M and Vandy has only covered the spread 3 times in their past 13 games. I want to pick the Aggies to cover, but I get the feeling that they will be very vanilla in week 1 since they have a huge divisional showdown next week in Tuscaloosa.
Texas A&M 38, Vandy 10