SEC Week 7 predictions (and bets)
Last week was one of the strangest with South Carolina vs. Georgia on Sunday, and the LSU vs. Florida game getting postponed.
This week, games begin on Friday night with the Mississippi State vs. BYU matchup.
|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%)|
|W3||10/10 (100%)||7/10 (70%)||6/10 (60%)||8/10 (80%)|
|W4||5/8 (63%)||3/8 (38%)||6/8 (75%)||5/8 (63%)|
|W5||7/7 (100%)||1/7 (14%)||7/7 (100%)||3/7 (43%)|
|W6||5/5 (100%)||3/4 (75%)*||2/5 (40%)||1/4 (25%)*|
|TOTAL||42/51 (82%)||20/50 (40%)||38/51 (75%)||26/50 (52%)|
Alabama (-13) vs. Tennessee
Michael: The advanced metrics confirm the AP Poll’s belief that this game is a top 10 showdown. While many view Tennessee as pure luck, the Vols could very well be Alabama’s main competition in the league this season. The troubling part for Tennessee should be the fact that Alabama’s players seem to recognize that themselves and have declared this the game they are most looking forward to on the season. A focused Alabama team could be the nail in the coffin for Tennessee’s dream season.
Yet another week passes, and I’m still waiting for Jalen Hurts to show he’s a true freshman. At this point, it may be time to consider that it isn’t coming. Alabama’s offense isn’t quite the machine it typically is, but running backs have begun to emerge and the threat of Hurts’ legs have added a new dimension to the offense never before seen under Nick Saban. The freshman has proven time and again he can beat opponents with his legs, so look for Tennessee to force him to beat the Vols with his arm. This could be the freshman’s breakout passing game as the Vols defensive backs have been inconsistent in recent weeks.
Tennessee has yet to prove it can play a complete game, and until it proves otherwise, the Vols simply may not be capable of delivering one this season. Obviously, getting a focused Alabama team isn’t the ideal game to get one going either. You will hear all week about Tennessee’s injury situation, but the reality is the coaching staff has found capable backups to step up and contribute meaningful snaps all over the field — don’t buy into the fact the Vols are too banged up to compete in this game.
As if playing off script, look for Tennessee to get down early in this one only to comeback in a sense. In the end, the Vols won’t threaten Alabama’s lead but will get back into the contest and cover the spread by game’s end.
Alabama 38, Tennessee 28
Kevin: Michael and I are in agreement in many ways on this game. Alabama is just too much for Tennessee. Remember, Tennessee has been on one heck of stretch of games in recent weeks. However, I think the Vols can keep the game within striking distance in front of their home crowd.
Alabama 31, Tennessee 24
Florida (-13.5) vs. Mizzou
Michael: It will be interesting to see if the one-sided loss to LSU burst the bubble of Barry Odom’s first team at Mizzou. Drew Lock’s cannon arm and his receiver’s explosiveness proved to be fool’s gold going up against LSU’s defense two weeks ago. Even more concerning was the defense making LSU’s backup running back look like an All-American. While the Gators don’t have anyone near as talented as LSU’s Derrius Guice, the staple of backs for Florida could have a big day on this defense.
After getting an unexpected, yet much-needed, week off, it’s a bad time to catch the Gators in The Swamp. If Luke Del Rio is close to 100 percent, the Florida offense should find much success against a suddenly poor Missouri defense — tied for 90th in rush defense (giving up 189 yards per game) and 70th in pass defense (giving up 232 YPG). With Antonio Callaway getting an additional week to rest up, expect the Gators to take a couple of deep shots on Missouri’s defense.
With Tennessee’s loss to A&M, the Gators have life again in the East. It’s unlikely this team shows up and sleepwalks like it did against Vanderbilt two weeks ago, but I like the Tigers to sneak a late score on the board for the backdoor cover.
Florida 28, Missouri 17
Kevin: It’s a big spread for a Florida team that has yet to look that great all season long. However, it’s had a couple weeks now to get healthy — most notably quarterback Luke Del Rio. I think Florida controls much of the game and scores late to cover the spread.
Florida 31, Missouri 14
Vanderbilt vs. Georgia (-14)
Michael: It took an onside kick return for a touchdown for Georgia to cover last week against South Carolina, and now the Dawgs had a short week to prepare for the Commodores. The good news for UGA? As bad as Carolina looked on offense, Vanderbilt might be worse with Ralph Webb being the only threat on that side of the ball.
If Georgia can win on the road in the SEC with Jacob Eason having his worst performance to date, it stands to reason the Bulldogs should roll in Athens if the freshman can have a bounce back performance. Considering Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are both up and running near 100 percent, Georgia may not even need Eason to do anything to win this game by a wide margin.
Georgia 35, Vanderbilt 14
Kevin: Georgia has been up and down for much of the year, and obviously, Jacob Eason looked average at best last week. It’s too big of a spread for a Georgia team that hasn’t beat anyone by two touchdowns (other than last week as a result of the onside kick return late) all season long. I’ll take the Dawgs winning by single digits.
Georgia 23, Vanderbilt 14
Ole Miss (-7.5) vs. Arkansas
Michael: These two played arguably the most exciting game of the season in 2015 as the Razorbacks got the win in overtime after the “Henry Heave” and a do-over on the proceeding 2-point conversation thanks to an Ole Miss facemask on Brandon Allen. Believe it or not, this game might be just as entertaining if the Hogs can protect Austin Allen this weekend.
Neither team matches up well against the other’s receivers and both have had elite-level quarterback play from their signal-callers this season, which indicates another shootout in the making. Arkansas’ 19-point loss to Alabama could have been a different story if not for a few terrible turnovers that could have been easily avoided. If the Rebels’ pass rush gets to Allen, this could be a long game for the Hogs, but Arkansas has an effective passing game. If the Razorbacks threw for over 400 yards on Alabama, a repeat performance is not out of the question this weekend.
The matchups on the outside are going to favor Ole Miss all game long, but it was the stretch running plays, quarterback isolation runs and swing passes that killed the Hogs against Alabama. Expect Ole Miss to utilize some of those same concepts this week, and if Arkansas fails to adjust, it’ll be costly. Bielema’s teams seem to respond well to pressure and play their best ball late in the season but will need an advantage in the turnover battle to win this game outright.
Ole Miss 42, Arkansas 38
Kevin: I like Arkansas this season, but its main problem is that it plays in the SEC West. Moreover, the Hogs can’t protect Austin Allen. I like Ole Miss here coming off a bye week, winning and covering the spread.
Ole Miss 42, Arkansas 28
Southern Miss vs. LSU (-25.5)
Michael: Coach O’s Tigers looked like a team possessed following a week of preparation under his new approach toward game prep. How good will they look after three weeks in the system? Leonard Fournette is unlikely to play in this game, which looks to be the right move considering the SEC gauntlet coming up for the Tigers, but it shouldn’t matter due to the emergence of Derrius Guice.
One interesting matchup to watch in this game: USM currently has the No. 16 passing offense in the country (319 yards per game) and is going up against a Tigers defense giving up only 218 yards in the air per game.
Southern Miss did open the season with a win at Kentucky but since that time have lost games to Troy and Texas-San Antonio. Look for the Tigers to play lights out for Coach O yet again in a big win.
LSU 45, Southern Miss 17
Kevin: In many cases here, I wouldn’t take LSU to cover a 26-point spread, but Southern Miss has been losing to bad teams. I’m taking Coach Oeaux to win big.
LSU 41, Southern Miss 14
Mississippi State vs. BYU (-7.5)
Michael: Mississippi State picked the wrong year to travel the country in an effort to expand its brand. Two weeks after surrendering 35 points to UMass in New England, the Bulldogs gave up that many in the first half to Auburn after getting two weeks to prepare for the game.
The troubles on offense may be just as bad. Life after Dak was expected to be rough, but at times the offense has been downright pathetic. The offensive line seems to get worse by the week. Going up against the No. 29 rushing defense in the country, on the road no less, will be a tall task for MSU.
BYU’s 3-3 record is also misleading as the Cougars three defeats have come by a combined 7 points at Utah, and at home against UCLA and an undefeated West Virginia.
BYU 30, Mississippi State 17
Kevin: I agree with Michael here. Mississippi State on a Friday night against a very decent BYU team. Dan Mullen’s squad hasn’t looked good this year, and this will be a difficult matchup. Hey, at least Dak Prescott is super fun to watch on Sundays, no?
BYU 27, Mississippi State 10