SEC Week 3 predictions (and bets)
We’re back with another round of predictions in anticipation of Week 3 of the SEC season.
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.
Chris is 5-8-1 against the spread for the season while Michael is 4-10.
Here is how the guys predict the Week 3 action to play out:
Florida (-7) at Texas A&M
Michael: Heading into the season, this line would have made more sense but everything we’ve seen from these two suggests a blowout could be coming. By now, everyone is well aware of Florida’s dynamic duo of Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts but this could a great opportunity for the Gator receivers after what we saw last weekend from Texas A&M’s defensive backs. Despite having more starting experience than any QB in the league, Kellen Mond has proven he’s just not the same quarterback when pressured during his career. Florida’s defense may not be great this year but they rate second in sacks (8 on the year) and first in tackles for loss (17). Look for Todd Grantham to pressure Mond early and often on Saturday during a big win for the Gators.
Florida 38 Texas A&M 20
Chris: I’ve always loved the Jurassic Park movies. But, whenever a new one comes out I always laugh because you would think at some point they would stop trying to recreate a damn T-Rex and destroy whatever island they’re on. How do they not see this coming? They always think that this time will be different, and it never is.
Anyways, what I’m saying is that Kellen Mond is the T-Rex, and all his supporters are the old British Colonel Sanders guy, because nothing has changed.
The Aggies will put up some yards and maybe even some points against a Gator D that has proven to be vulnerable. I’m way more worried about what “Trask & TDs” will do to this Aggie Defense. A&M ranks last in the country in opposing QB completion percentage (71.4%) and YPA (10.4). They’re gonna get torched. A&M is 0-10 in their last 10 games as a home underdog. And, they haven’t covered in 8 of their last 12. Mullen on the other hand is 6-2 ATS on the road. My favorite bet is the over at 57, and the 1st half over at 28.
Florida 41 Texas A&M 24
South Carolina (-13) at Vanderbilt
Michael: The hot seat bowl! Each coach desperately needs a win but if South Carolina doesn’t find a way to come out on top in this matchup, the Gamecocks may just leave Will Muschamp in Nashville. Thankfully for Muschamp’s sake, he hired an excellent offensive coordinator this offense that’s managed to script opening possession touchdown drives in both of South Carolina’s games this season. As long as each drive doesn’t take 10 minutes to complete, the Gamecocks should be able to score a Vanderbilt’s defense that gave up 41 points last weekend to LSU. After his impressive debut against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt freshman QB Ken Seals came back down to earth and looked the part of a true freshman seeing his first action in the SEC. South Carolina fans may be upset with Muschamp at the moment but Tennessee and Florida may just be two of the better teams in the SEC this year, so losing to those two isn’t cause for getting rid of their coach. This game shouldn’t be close.
South Carolina 30 Vanderbilt 14
Chris: This game kind of reminds of those consolation games in the Little League World Series that they add for the teams that already lost. Listen guys, we might as well let Chinese-Taipai and Sioux Falls play a game otherwise they’re gonna get all jacked up on Mountain Dew and roll down that hill all day long.
You know what, why don’t both these programs just swap coaches for the rest of the year? At this point would anyone really care? No. It wouldn’t even make a difference, but it would be fun to have an added twist of SEC “Wife Swap” every Saturday night and watching Will Muschamp coach the Dores since nobody at USC will show him the door.
On the bright side, USC’s offense has been…fun? Well, Shi Smith has. This line seemed really high at first. However, Muschamp has beaten and covered the spread in all four games against them.
South Carolina 33 Vanderbilt 17
LSU (-14.5) at Missouri
Michael: The big play returned to LSU’s offense last week as the Tigers scored three touchdowns from outside the red zone with Myles Brennan looking significantly more comfortable in the pocket in his second start of the season. More importantly for LSU, Bo Pelini’s defense looked the part for the first time in the 41-7 win over Vanderbilt. Eli Drinkwitz has announced Connor Bazelak will start this week, which was the right call after he sparked Missouri’s offense on the road at Tennessee last weekend. Had Mizzou’s receivers not had so many drops last weekend, they may have been in that game. Missouri’s defensive front was manhandled by Tennessee’s offensive line last week, which played a role in the lopsided win, but LSU doesn’t have the same mix of talent and experience on the offensive line to do this weekend. The game being moved could also affect LSU more than Mizzou on Saturday. If LSU was more experienced, that may not be the case but I think it may result in a letdown performance in Columbia.
LSU 28 Missouri 20
Chris: LSU seems to have gotten their mojo back last week after playing everyone’s favorite slump buster, Vandy. Myles Brennan had a good day, but more importantly they got the run game going with John Emry. This week should be another confidence boost as they play Mizzou. I’ve always liked Mizzou and never understood why fans hate on them so much, just because of where they’re located. Well, guess what Randy and Darryl from Wetumpka, their location is the only reason we are going to play this game this weekend after they changed the location due to Hurricane Delta.
Take LSU, but take them in the first half especially. They have Florida next week, so they probably won’t risk the starters being in too late. The 1st half line is -10.5. Mizzou is averaging just 4.5 ppg in the 1st half this season which is the third fewest in the country.
LSU 34 Missouri 17
Tennessee at Georgia (-12.5)
Michael: Could this be the actual turning point for Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee program? If the Vols find a way to win in Athens, we’ll know they’ve finally turned the corner but it’s also possible that’s happened and Tennessee doesn’t win this game. How? Georgia may just be that good. Despite his cool nickname, I’m not buying the Stetson Bennett hype just yet. If he is asked to win the game for the Dawgs, Tennessee may just pull off the upset on the road. The key to this game for me will be Jarrett Guarantano, and more specifically, Tennessee’s group of largely inexperienced receivers going up against Georgia’s veteran defensive backs. Georgia’s defense is going to challenge Tennessee’s receivers to beat them in one-on-one coverage, and when/if that happens, Guarantano has to deliver the ball accurately into tight windows. Following an outstanding season, Tennessee’s kicker Brent Cimaglia has been inconsistent this season, which could be the difference in a game with limited scoring opportunities.
Georgia 21 Tennessee 16
Chris: I’ve said over and over and over again that it doesn’t matter who plays QB at UGA because their defense is the best we’ve seen in a decade and it will have them playing for the national title THIS season. And, if you think I was exaggerating, just realize that Kirby basically went out and found a Shia LaBeouf look-alike at a local law firm and now Stetson Bennett IV has odds to win the Heisman Trophy.
I love what Pruitt is doing, and what he’s done, but I just can’t see any matchup or key to the game that Tennessee can exploit for 60 minutes. I think Tennessee’s defense will be very strong and keep it low scoring. But, I just don’t see how they put up any points without a defensive or special teams TD, or turnover deep in UGA territory.
I’m really looking forward to this game, but not nearly as much as I will be next season when both teams will be a little more evenly matched. Also, if you bet on anything this weekend, take the under over everything. The under is 6-1 in Tennessee’s last seven, and 10-1 in UGA’s last 11 including nine straight SEC games.
Georgia 27 Tennessee 0
Arkansas at Auburn (-14)
Michael: You better believe I’ve enjoyed the comments coming from The Plains this week regarding how improved Arkansas looks, as Gus Malzahn has credited the coaching on The Hill and linebacker Owen Pappoe has noted the Razorbacks look much better this season. Those of us that see the humor in those comments can get a kick out of the fact Chad Morris is now on staff with the Tigers and that Arkansas looks to finally have a coaching staff that is capable of getting the Razorbacks up to competing in the SEC. While that’s all good and well, the talent gap between these two programs is still wide and no matter how bad Georgia made Auburn look last weekend, the Razorbacks don’t have the players to make Bo Nix and company look as pathetic as they did last weekend.
Auburn 28 Arkansas 13
Chris: Last week was awesome to watch Arkansas, and their fans, celebrate a long overdue win. I love the new energy that Pittman has brought to the program, and anybody that can turn Feleipe Franks into a 70% passer deserves a damn holiday. However, so far, Auburn has not had the same feel good story season, and it’s partially because of the guy Sam Pittman had to replace, Chad Morris. It’s early in the season, and I realize that NOBODY is going to put up points/yards against UGA. But, Auburn is ranked 13th in the SEC in total offense. Even worse, their rushing offense is ranked 13th. They’re averaging a mere 65 ypg on the ground so far this season. There are people on my 600 lb Life who run more than this Auburn offense so far.
Regardless, I’m taking Auburn as much as it scares me. Strictly because of these numbers…
Auburn is 4-0 SU and 4-0 ATS in their last four games vs Arkansas. All by 31 points or more.
Auburn is 6-1 ATS in their last seven vs Arkansas, and 8-1 ATS in their last nine home games.
Lastly, as a double-digit favorite in 2019 Auburn went 5-0 in those games, and covered in four.
Auburn 30 Arkansas 13
Alabama (-24) at Ole Miss
Michael: While most seem to be consumed with the matchup of Nick Saban vs. Lane Kiffin on Saturday, I’m far more interested in seeing the Rebel offense go against the Tide defense. Alabama is being touted as the most complete team in the league, which they may very well be, but Missouri and Texas A&M didn’t have the receivers or quarterbacks to test the Tide secondary. Look for the Rebels to have some success against this defense and to keep things interesting in the second half. The big problem for Kiffin’s team will obviously come on the other side of the ball. I don’t have faith in the Rebels to stop anything Alabama is going to throw at them after seeing Flordia throw all over them and Kentucky run through them the first two weeks of the season. Alabama wins but this game will be closer than expected.
Alabama 48 Ole Miss 35
Chris: There are a lot of things I want to say about Lane Kiffin here. I love Kiff’s sarcasm, attitude, and blah blah blah. But you have to be a real douchebag to get a job to help rebuild your terrible image, then leave the team the week before the Natty, and STILL have some misguided and jaded attitude towards Saban.
That being said I can’t wait to watch him put up 500 yards of offense and 35 points out of spite. This game is gonna be a bloodbath of passive aggression. Kiffin has done wonders in year one with the Ole Miss offense and Matt Corral, and I fully expect him to continue his early season success against a Bama pass defense ranked 11th in the conference. All that said, is Saban feels like it, Bama will put up any number of yards or points they want in this game. Ole Miss is dead last in all four major defensive categories in the SEC. Pick your poison. Mac to Waddle and Smith all day? Or Najee getting 8 yards a carry between the tackles? My guess is Najee because UGA comes to town next week and they’ll keep it vanilla.
Also if it sounds like I’m being harsh just realize that Bama has scored an AVERAGE of 62 ppg in their last three games vs the Rebs. And, this defense is somehow worse.
Alabama 55 Ole Miss 34
Mississippi State at Kentucky (-2)
Michael: Are you one of those people thinking the SEC has figured out Mike Leach’s offense? If so, think again. While K.J. Costello was hailed as the next big thing following his debut playing for Mississippi State (Dennis Dodd of CBS had the QB No. 1 on his Heisman ballot after just one week), for some reason, nearly everyone is overlooking the fact that Leach’s signal-caller has turned the ball over seven times this season. Kylin Hill was also knocked out of the game last week and is expected to be cleared for this game. Meanwhile, Kentucky can’t seem to keep the ball off the ground — whether via fumbles or dropped passes. These two teams are tied for dead-last in the nation with a -4 turnover margin entering this game. The Wildcats are saying all the right things at the moment but going into an 0-2 hole may prove to be too much for this team to overcome. Considering Kentucky has had so many issues dealing with stopping the pass this season, I have to go Mississippi State here. On the bright side for Kentucky fans, I have yet to accurately predict one of your games this season. So you got that going for you.
Mississippi State 35 Kentucky 24
Chris: I know that this will come back to haunt me, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Vegas is wrong.
There is no reason Kentucky is favored in this game. If you’re reading this and yelling at your iPhone, “It’s a home game dumba**!” like I know some of you are, MSU is 5-2 in their last seven games AT Kentucky, and 5-1 ATS in their last six in the series.
I’m not trying to be tough on Kentucky fans, but I feel like this is going to get ugly. Why?
What does Mississippi State do well? Throw the ball. Kentucky is ranked last in the country in opponent QB rating, and last in the conference in opposing QB completion percentage and TDs allowed.
Now, what does Kentucky do well? If you said fumble on the goal line you’d be right. But, the answer is run the ball. Welp, Mississippi State has the 6th best rushing defense in the country and is only giving up 71.5 ypg including 0 TDs. Even more alarming for UK is that State leads the country in opponent rushing yards per carry. The Bulldogs are allowing just 1.91 ypc on the ground despite opponents averaging over 35 carries per game.
Mississippi State 41 Kentucky 20