SEC Week 3 predictions (and bets)
Week 2 may have been less exciting on paper, but some exciting finishes made the week quite exciting. Furthermore, several SEC teams had bounce-back weeks (Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas), handily beating spreads set for them.
On the prediction side, Michael has taken a commanding lead as you can see in the below results.
This week, we begin getting more into conference play, and some spreads are pretty interesting.
|W1||8/13 (62%)||4/13 (31%)||9/13 (69%)||5/13 (38%)|
|W2||7/8 (88%)||2/8 (25%)||8/8 (100%)||4/8 (50%)|
|TOTAL||15/21 (71%)||6/21 (29%)||17/21 (81%)||9/21 (43%)|
Ohio vs. Tennessee (-27.5)
Michael: Not only are the Vols going up against the dreaded curse of the SEC Network noon time slot (In Week 1, Mississippi State lost to South Alabama and in Week 2, Georgia just survived Nicholls State), but they’ll be battling a likely hangover from the Battle at Bristol (a.k.a. Week 2’s national title game) while having to also look ahead to the make-or-break Florida game.
Considering Ohio is known for its stout rush defense, the matchup doesn’t exactly line up well for Tennessee either. It may take yet another come-from-behind performance from the Vols to win this game.
Tennessee 20, Ohio 10
Kevin: Coming off the big win at Bristol, Tennessee has regained its momentum. However, like Florida, I think this week has the potential to be a letdown week. Both the Vols and the Gators will be looking ahead to the big divisional rivalry next week, and the spreads for both teams could be in danger of getting covered. Not that Kansas is worth a crap, but Ohio did beat them last week. Tennessee wins but fails to cover the spread.
Tennessee 34, Ohio 7
Vanderbilt vs. Georgia Tech (-6.5)
Michael: While speaking during the weekly SEC Coaches Teleconference, Derek Mason said his team had turned a corner by rallying for the win against MTSU. Not exactly the type of thing you want an SEC head coach to say in his third year leading the program. Tech may not be MTSU, but it has enough to beat the Commodores.
Georgia Tech 24, Vandy 17
Kevin: I don’t know if Vanderbilt wins this game, but I think it keeps it close at a minimum. Georgia Tech has played Boston College and Mercer (not exactly stiff competition). The game is played in Atlanta on Georgia Tech’s home turf, but Vanderbilt is used to playing in half-empty stadiums full of nerdy dudes.
Vanderbilt 17, Georgia Tech 20
Alabama (-11) vs. Ole Miss
Michael: The Tide has received too much hype following the destruction of USC, who is currently led by a coach that got the job following Pat Haden’s knee-jerk reaction to Memphis offering Clay Helton the head coaching position at the AAC school after Justin Fuente left.
It was only two weeks ago the Rebels led arguably the best team in the nation by a score of 28-6 in what was essentially a road game. Had Swag Kelly not machine-gunned Ole Miss’ odds by throwing three picks, that game could have been a vastly different tale. If Kelly can get rid of the ball quickly, Ole Miss has a great shot in this game.
After playing USC and Western Kentucky, Alabama’s offensive line is in for its first true challenge of the season from the Ole Miss defensive line. The fact that the Rebels’ secondary is banged up may not matter if Hurts doesn’t have time to attack downfield. Judging by his first two games, Hurts has yet to show the ability to get to his second read.
Getting the Tide at home in Jalen Hurts’ first road game, this game could go either way.
Ole Miss 21, Alabama 20
Kevin: There are some alarming numbers from last year’s Ole Miss upset. Alabama turned the ball over five times. Ole Miss turned it over zero times. Ole Miss had two touchdown plays of 60-plus yards each. And they still only won by less than a touchdown. Now, the game’s in Oxford and Chad Kelly has the talent to make this a game again. But I just can’t see Alabama losing this game. If the spread here were still 8.5 points, I’d take Alabama to cover, but Alabama screwed me by a half-point last week with the Western Kentucky backdoor cover at the end of the game. Since Kelly can and will sling it, the backdoor cover is definitely in play here.
Alabama 27, Ole Miss 21
New Mexico State vs. Kentucky (-19.5)
Michael: Wow, Kentucky is favored to win a football game? New Mexico State must be awful. If Mark Stoops finds a way to drop this game, the $17 million it’s going to take to buy him and his assistants out may find its way to their pockets by Sunday afternoon.
Kentucky 35, New Mexico State 14
Kevin: Kentucky is terrible. How do we take them to win by 20 points? I can’t. Sorry, Mark.
Kentucky 34, New Mexico State 21
East Carolina vs South Carolina (-3.5)
Michael: Three games into the season and the Gamecocks continue to rotate the quarterbacks in and out of the lineup like a game of musical chairs. Despite being Will Muschamp’s specialty, the defense looked dreadful against Mississippi State last week and allowed Mississippi State’s quarterback to set a new school rushing record in only his second career start. The win over Vandy appears to have been some fool’s gold.
ECU 33, South Carolina 28
Kevin: ECU is 2-0 after knocking off NC State last week. Muschamp, I think, yells his way to a victory and a cover here. South Carolina hasn’t looked good thus far this season, so the public is down on it. There’s minor value here in this spread. The Gamecocks will win and cover, but no, it still won’t be pretty (or fun to watch).
South Carolina 17, ECU 10
Texas A&M vs. Auburn (-3.5)
Michael: At first glance, this line may induce a double-take considering Auburn’s offensive woes in the opener and Texas A&M’s 2-0 start, which includes a marquee win over UCLA and a 67-point shutout victory last weekend. However, if you dig a little bit deeper, Auburn may provide just the mismatch to secure its first SEC win of the season.
The Tigers quietly got the ground game going last week as Auburn had 462 rushing yards and left the game with five players averaging over six yards per carry in the contest. No matter how outstanding A&M defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall may be, until the Aggies prove they can consistently stop the run, it’s hard to predict them to do so.
Also of concern for A&M is quarterback Trevor Knight. The coaching staff has attempted to ease concerns regarding his two average starts to nerves, but his lack of consistency killed his career at Oklahoma. How Knight performs in his first game for A&M on the road remains to be seen. Auburn will be getting after him, likely forcing the Aggies’ ground game to take over. If Clemson couldn’t run the ball on Auburn, can Texas A&M be expected to?
Auburn 20, Texas A&M 14
Kevin: I’m big on Texas A&M this year. I bet the Aggies to win more than eight games this year. So, naturally this spread should jump out at me. And it does. But obvious bets scare me. I’ve hesitated here because Auburn has perhaps exceeded expectations somewhat in the first two weeks of the year? I guess? I’m still going to go with the Aggies, because I think they have one of the more complete teams in the SEC right now. No, their defense isn’t elite, but it’s decent. And I love the offense, especially the current run game. Aggies in a close one on the road.
Texas A&M 31, Auburn 30
Mississippi State vs. LSU (-14)
Michael: Danny Etling to the rescue! So this is what it has come to for the LSU offense? Regardless of how LSU’s QBs perform in this game, the line didn’t come out until Leonard Fournette’s status was determined — which speaks to what Vegas continues to expect from the Tigers. The weakness of Mississippi State’s defense is the secondary, but LSU likely won’t be able to exploit that matchup with Etling or Brandon Harris under center. If Nick Fitzgerald has a breakout performance, LSU will leave Tiger Stadium with yet another home loss to the Bulldogs.
LSU 24, Mississippi State 17
Kevin: That’s a large LSU spread for a team with quarterback issues, no? I can’t take LSU to beat an SEC West team by two touchdowns right now, even if Mississippi State lost to South Alabama.
LSU 21, Mississippi State 18
Texas State vs. Arkansas (-31)
Michael: Despite a large portion of the fan base grumbling when he was named the team’s starter, there is no doubt Austin Allen is a legit SEC quarterback. However, with offensive line question marks still to work out before the Texas A&M game arrives, look for the Hogs to pound the ball early and often in this game. Don’t be surprised to see a number of running backs and quarterbacks playing in this game come the second half.
Arkansas 45, Texas State 14
Kevin: Austin Allen leading his team to the win against TCU was fantastic, but I think the Hogs come back down to earth a bit before they get into the teeth of SEC play. Arkansas wins but does not cover the spread.
Arkansas 31, Texas State 10
North Texas vs. Florida (-36.5)
Michael: The Gators may have stomped Kentucky last week, but with star receiver Antonio Callaway likely out of the lineup, expect Florida’s offense to continue to stall with the star receiver resting up for Tennessee.
Florida 28, North Texas 6
Kevin: For the same reason as the Tennessee game, I don’t think Florida covers this spread, mostly because it’ll be looking ahead. The Florida athletes don’t have the best reputation for getting up for these cupcake games (unless you call Kentucky a cupcake?). Gators win handily but don’t cover.
Florida 38, North Texas 6
Georgia (-6.5) vs. Mizzou
Michael: In case you’ve missed it the first two weeks of the season, offense has returned to Missouri thanks to OC Josh Heupel. In a game of strength versus strength — Mizzou’s passing game/Georgia’s pass defense and Georgia run game/Mizzou’s run defense — this game should tell us much about each team’s chances to contend for the SEC East title this season.
The Bulldogs clearly did not show up to play against Nicholls State, but that shouldn’t be a problem heading into the first SEC game of the Kirby Smart era. The issues on the offensive line are troubling, and if that continues, this game could get out of hand. The talent gap between Georgia’s front seven and Mizzou’s offensive front is large but could be mitigated by the number of plays Mizzou hopes to run (Missouri leads the SEC with 178 total offensive snaps after two weeks of play).
Missouri 24, Georgia 20
Kevin: Missouri’s offense has been fairly interesting, but I want to see it against a team not named Eastern Michigan. After all, Florida’s Jeff Driskel lit up the same team a couple years ago. That said, Georgia hasn’t looked like a contender to me this season, so I expect a close one.
Georgia 21, Missouri 20