Week 3 SEC Preview: Bet on Georgia Minus the Points and Mizzou Might Be a Lock
If you followed my picks in Week 1, you made money. If you followed my picks in Week 2, you also made money. Last week I was 6-4 against the spread. For the year, I’m sitting at 14-8-1. You can follow the picks all year here. Or check the recap on the Tweets:
Let’s jump in.
First things first, all the games are on Saturday because the SEC is blessed by real football.
12 p.m. Murray State at Kentucky (SEC Network)
There’s no line on this game—thankfully. So I’ll just say “congrats” to the Wildcats for finally beating the Gators last week. Great job by you.
Pick: Kentucky outright
12 p.m. UTEP at Tennessee (-30.5) (SEC Network)
I still think Tennessee is probably trash. But know what’s worse—way worse—than trash? UTEP. The Miners haven’t won a game since 2016. They lost to FCS Northern Arizona by 21 points two weeks ago. They’ve lost their last five games against Power 5 opposition by 47, 49, 34, 35 and 49 points. Sheesh.
Picks: Tennessee outright and Tennessee -30.5
2:30 p.m. Vanderbilt at Notre Dame (-14) (NBC)
Nothing says SEC Love quite like this spread. Make no mistake about it: Vanderbilt is the worst team in the SEC’s weaker division. And yet, the Commodores are just 14-point dogs at # 8 Notre Dame! That’s insanity. I do think Notre Dame is a good team, and even if Vandy is much-improved this year I don’t see them keeping it within two scores. But boy, would that be fun!
Picks: Notre Dame outright and Notre Dame -14
3:30 p.m. LSU at Auburn (-9.5) (CBS)
We still don’t know much about either of these teams, so I’m working on two theories: 1. Any team with talent and a semblance of preparation could have beat Mark Richt and Miami in Week 1 because Mark Richt is the coach at Miami. 2. Auburn is starting slow (which it always does) and this year’s slow start was a win over a Top 10 Washington team. If I buy into those two preconceived notions, Auburn is the better team. But 9.5 points still seems large. Further, I feel like if this game is ugly, it plays to LSU’s advantage. My professional gambling advice would actually be to take the LSU money line (+295) because I do think there is a better than 1-in-3 or 1-in-4 chance LSU makes it ugly enough to win. But this column isn’t about moneylines. So I’m hedging a bit.
Picks: Auburn outright and LSU +9.5
4:00 p.m. North Texas at Arkansas (-7) (SEC Network)
This line is a classic overreaction to Colorado State’s win over Arkansas. Look, when you have a brand new coach (after firing the last guy), you’re going to have early missteps. A 17-point collapse against Colorado State is a misstep on steroids, but I don’t think it is yet indicative of things falling apart under Chad Morris. I think the talent edge and the hangover of embarrassment will carry Arkansas.
Picks: Arkansas outright and Arkansas -7
4:00 p.m. Colorado State at Florida (-20) (SEC Network)
This spread is way too large. Have line-makers forgotten that Colorado State is 1-0 in SEC play (thanks to a win over lowly Arkansas) and Florida is 0-1 in SEC play (thanks to a loss to lowly Kentucky)?
Picks: Florida outright but Colorado State +20
7:00 p.m. Alabama (-21.5) at Ole Miss (ESPN)
I’m going to do a preview post on this later, but ultimately if you’re taking Bama you are saying, “I think Bama can stop Ole Miss three more times than I think Ole Miss can stop Bama.” I firmly believe that to be true for two reasons: 1. In general, I have confidence in Alabama defenses even against talented offenses. 2. Ole Miss couldn’t stop
calls to a hooker an NCAA scandal a nose-bleed.
Picks: Alabama outright and Alabama -21.5
7:15 p.m. MTSU at Georgia (-32.5) (ESPN2)
If there was one, single takeaway from last week’s walloping of South Carolina, it was the presence of depth on Georgia’s roster. In a game like this, the only way Georgia would not cover is if the Dawgs relied too much (relative to the spread) on getting youung second- and third-teamers on the field. But I think the depth is such that there won’t be much of a letdown if—no, when—that happens. MTSU lost to Vanderbilt by 28 points. Do we not think Georgia is five points better than Vandy? Georgia beat South Carolina by 24 points (on the road). Do we not think the Gamecocks are nine points better than MTSU? Either I’m missing something or this is a rare opportunity to bet a big line as a homer.
Picks: Georgia outright and Georgia -32.5
7:30 p.m. Louisiana-Lafayette at Mississippi State (-33) (SEC Network)
I couldn’t care less about this game, so I’m picking Miss State because they’ll use Fitzgerald until he’s dead and he should shine in this one.
Picks: Mississippi State outright and Mississippi State -33
7:30 p.m. Marshall at South Carolina (-13) (ESPNU)
Now that the pressure of contending for the SEC East is off the Gamecocks’ back (seriously), let’s see how Muschamp’s boys play. This should be a nice tune-up before back-to-back road SEC games to kickoff a seven-game in-conference stretch. I think the Cocks cruise.
Picks: South Carolina outright and South Carolina -13
7:30 p.m. Missouri (-7) at Purdue (Big Ten Network)
I said it in the preseason, but I think Missouri has as good of a shot as anyone at finishing second in the SEC East. It’s been against mediocre competition, but I like what Derek Dooley has gone in two games as O.C. He’s got the Tigers running more than they’re passing (that was the case against both UT-Martin and Wyoming and has been the case for about 54% of all plays). And the passing game is still downright nasty. Senior QB Drew Lock has hit on 74.3% of his passes for an average of 344 yards per game. He’s tossed 8 TDs and no interceptions and is picking up nearly 10 yards per attempt. Wide receiver Emanuel Hall has been a monster – 14 catches, 342 yards, 3 TDs. Meanwhile the defense has allowed only 27 total points and an average of 262.5 yards of offense per contest. It’s early and the opponents have been weak, But Mizzou ranks 12th nationally in total offense and 17th in total defense. That explosive offense will line up against a Purdue defense that ranks 93rd in yards allowed. That thus-far-impressive Tiger defense will play an average (39th nationally) Purdue offensive unit. It’s worth noting here that Purdue has had a real problem scoring. The Boilermakers are 39th in total yards (as pointed out a moment ago), but they’re 96th in the nation in scoring.
Picks: Missouri outright and Missouri -7
7:30 p.m. Louisiana-Monroe at Texas A&M (-27) (SEC Network)
Barring an emotional letdown (which may occur), I don’t see how A&M doesn’t win or how the Aggies fail to cover.
Picks: Texas A&M outright and Texas A&M -27
That’s all I got/