SEC Week 8 predictions (and bets)
Here we go. It’s Week 8 in the SEC headlined by the undefeated SEC West showdown of Alabama vs. Texas A&M. Most of the action is in the West this week as the division also presents us with Arkansas vs. Auburn and Ole Miss vs. LSU.
Here are the results factoring in Week 7 performance, along with our Week 8 picks.
|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%)*|
|W7||4/6 (66%)||3/6 (50%)||4/6 (66%)||2/6 (33%)|
|TOTAL||46/57 (81%)||23/56 (41%)||42/57 (74%)||28/56 (50%)|
Ole Miss at LSU (-4)
Michael: At the moment, these two are trending in opposite directions. Ole Miss all but had its hopes at a West title destroyed last week and now must travel to arguably the toughest road environment in the nation — a night game in Death Valley. Meanwhile, the Tigers have found new life on offense thanks to the production of Derrius Guice and improved quarterback play from Danny Etling.
Ole Miss currently ranks No. 12 in the league at stopping the run after allowing Arkansas to pile up 200 rushing yards last week. With Leonard Fournette expected back this weekend to go along with Guice, the Rebels could be in for a long night on the Bayou.
Another factor I like favoring the Tigers, last week, LSU’s defense faced an uptempo offense in Southern Miss. While Ole Miss operates at another speed entirely, facing back-to-back uptempo offenses should help this week in preparation for the game. Chad Kelly is going to have to play a turnover-free game if Ole Miss has any shot in this one.
LSU 38, Ole Miss 21
Kevin: The obvious pick here is to take LSU to win and cover. Momentum in recent weeks calls for it. But I think it’s potentially a trap pick here. I’m going to go contrarian and say that Ole Miss wins a close one in Baton Rouge. Regardless of whether the Rebs pull out the actual victory, I’ll take the +4 on Ole Miss.
Ole Miss 21, LSU 20
Texas A&M at Alabama (-18.5)
Michael: With the destruction of Tennessee fresh in the minds of the betting public, the line continues to climb in Bama’s favor. A few reasons why that’s a mistake: 1) Texas A&M is coming off a bye, while Alabama is coming off of playing seven consecutive weeks; 2) The Aggies historically play better on the road under Kevin Sumlin than at home; 3) The Tide have yet to play an offense as balanced as A&M’s or a defense as talented.
Six games into his starting career, the weakness of Jalen Hurts’ game has been his downfield throwing and his ability to handle pressure in the pocket. Forcing him to do those things is easier said than done, but the Aggies certainly have the defensive playmakers to execute that game plan. A rested Myles Garrett could make himself a ton of money this weekend by putting on a career performance.
If Trevor Knight can consistently hit his deep throws and A&M doesn’t give up any non-offensive touchdowns, the Aggies stand a good shot at pulling the upset.
Alabama 35, Texas A&M 24
Kevin: 19-point spread for a top 10 matchup? That’s nuts. Again, momentum is pushing this line higher and higher because of how dominant Alabama was last week. If you’re a betting man, I think you either take Texas A&M with the points or you avoid the bet altogether. I’ll take Alabama to win again, but by less than the spread.
Alabama 28, Texas A&M 24
Arkansas at Auburn (-9)
Michael: The Hogs pulled the upset at home last week thanks to solving some issues up front and racking up the yards on the ground against Ole Miss. Rawleigh Williams III has emerged as a legitimate No. 1 back in the SEC after winning SEC Offensive Player of the Week but now must show he can deliver on a week-to-week basis in league play. That ground game will be key once again, but doing so on Auburn likely won’t be as easy for the Hogs thanks to Auburn’s stout defensive line.
All the advanced metrics love Auburn, ranking the Tigers as a consensus top 10 team after dropping two games to fellow elite teams. With Sean White delivering in the pocket, and Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway both averaging over 5 yards per carry, the offense is humming right now with coordinator Rhett Lashlee calling the plays.
Last season’s contest went into multiple overtimes, and doing so again wouldn’t be a surprise this season as the Razorbacks play well on the road under Bret Bielema. Austin Allen is playing at such a high level right now, it’s tough to pick against the Hogs.
Arkansas 27, Auburn 24 OT
Kevin: What am I missing here with Auburn? It beat an average LSU team and a crappy Mississippi State team. I get the advanced metrics argument, but I don’t get it. Nine points at home against Arkansas seems excessive. It reminds me of when Auburn was favored against Texas A&M at home, then the Aggies smoked ’em. I need to see Auburn deliver against better competition before I’m buying this team.
Arkansas 31, Auburn 28
Mississippi State (-3) at Kentucky
Michael: A week after looking like a train wreck against Auburn, Mississippi State showed some life against BYU and nearly pulled the road upset. While he flashes at times, quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has failed to live up to the hype as passer halfway into his first season as a starter.
With last week’s loss to BYU, Mississippi State likely said farewell to any shot at advancing to a bowl game. Meanwhile, Kentucky is very much alive for a postseason berth with a win against the Bulldogs.
Kentucky 24, Mississippi State 23
Kevin: With the Bulldogs having a little extra time (they played last Friday night), I’m going to once again go against recent momentum and say that Dan Mullen gets his team to put in a decent performance and get the win.
Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 21
MTSU at Missouri (-6.5)
Michael: This is a tricky matchup for the Tigers as MTSU has one of the best offenses in Conference USA led by quarterback Brent Stockstill — the team currently ranks No. 5 in the nation with over 366 passing yards a game. MTSU also has some experience playing SEC opponents as the Blue Raiders faced off against Vanderbilt in early September.
This game should help Drew Lock and his receivers get back on the same track after having a disastrous October month up to this point. While MTSU’s offense knows how to toss the pigskin around, the defense doesn’t know a lick about slowing down the passing game.
The Tigers’ defense is at a bit of a crossroads at the moment, and this challenging matchup likely won’t be the cure-all to get things back on track. Despite likely giving up a ton of yards and surrendering some points, look for Mizzou to get back to winning this weekend.
Missouri 45, MTSU 35
Kevin: Mizzou was putting up some big numbers against inferior competition, so I’m going to say that the Tigers get back to scoring points and piling up the passing yards. I’ll take Missouri to win by two touchdowns.
Missouri 41, MTSU 27
UMass at South Carolina (-20.5)
Michael: Will Muschamp’s first season began full of promise after Carolina won the opener in Nashville but has quickly collapsed. Now coming off a bye, South Carolina is exploring the possibility of starting yet another true freshman under center in Jake Bentley. However, the starting quarterback isn’t likely the issue, it’s the overall team around the quarterback that’s lacking.
Remarkably, this will be the third SEC game of the season for UMass. Following this weekend, Missouri and UMass will have the same number of SEC opponents after seven weeks of games. That’s the only impressive stat UMass has going for it as the Minutemen rank 118th in scoring offense and tied for 103rd in scoring defense in the nation.
The Gamecocks may have issues all over the roster, but the talent gap is so significant between these two teams that this one could get ugly in a hurry, regardless of Carolina’s quarterback situation.
South Carolina, 30 UMass 10
Kevin: South Carolina wins an ugly, utterly unwatchable showdown against UMass, which is basically in the SEC’s “D-League” at this point. I’m not taking the Gamecocks to cover a three-touchdown spread, even against UMass.
South Carolina 21, UMass 10
Note: No prediciton made for Vanderbilt/Tenn St.