Last week, our experts had the tightest overall finishing records of the season, as four went 11-7 with the other ending at 10-8. We have six more games this week to bet on, so we'll hopefully improve even more from last time around. There is a lot of consensus this week especially, so I would expect another tight weekly race by Saturday's end.
We now sit at 29-23 on the year after a disappointing 2-4 week.
#5 Texas A&M at Auburn (A&M -7.0, O/U 49.0)
Last Week’s Recap: Auburn got smacked 42-13 against Bama. A&M did just enough for a 20-7 victory over LSU.
Both of these teams prefer ground success, but A&M’s Kellen Mond has been much more reliable than Auburn’s Bo Nix in each team’s passing attacks, respectively. The Aggies are the better team, but Auburn plays night and day better at home as opposed to on the road. That said, this line should probably be more in favor of A&M, but last week’s sleepwalk win against LSU has peoples’ recency bias overreacting. In the season opener, the Aggies came out flat and the same was true last week when they came back to playing after a multi-week break. Additionally, Auburn just got destroyed last week against Bama, destroying morale.
Auburn’s rushing yards per carry has decreased over the past six weeks. This is due in part to them falling into a lull and freshman Tank Bigsby nursing an injury. Either way, they’re getting worse in that regard, not better. The Aggies have only allowed 157 yards on the ground in three games this year. On the other hand, we’ve seen numerous teams in recent weeks have their way on the ground against Auburn’s defense. I also believe Auburn’s poor third down defense will come back to hurt them against one of the best third down offenses in the conference.
This game also boils down to what each team is fighting for here. Maybe the Tigers will be looking for some self-respect again after last week. Sure. But the Aggies are fighting to strengthen their College Football Playoff (CFP) resume and make themselves more desirable to the selection committee. A&M -7.
Arkansas at Missouri (MIZ -3.0, O/U 51.5)
Last Week’s Recap: Missouri destroyed Vanderbilt, 41-0. Arkansas didn’t play.
This matchup features two first-year coaches performing way better than their preseason expectations clashing late in the season. This should be a pretty fun matchup as well aside from that, as the two teams possess some pretty similar numbers. That said, we’re looking at the under for this one. The only two quarterbacks I’d say actually got the better of the Razorback’s secondary this year were Kyle Trask and Kellen Mond. Connor Bazelak isn’t in that category yet, and I’m not sure the rushing attack will be extremely successful either against Arkansas coming off a bye week.
Meanwhile, Tennessee in week two was the last team to have success against Missouri’s run defense. Since then, teams are averaging just 104 yards rushing and 0.6 rushing TD’s per week. Also, their pass defense has only been bested by Trask, Mac Jones, and Myles Brennan this year. Everyone else has underperformed. I give the nod to Feleipe Franks in this quarterback matchup, but it’s certainly difficult to fully believe in him to post a great enough passing day to amass the team a ton of points.
I’d say our greatest threat this week is overtime. My expectation going into this one is a low scoring, closely matched, defensive minded affair. Under 51.5 is the play.
#6 Florida at Tennessee (FLA -17.5, O/U 62.5)
Last Week’s Recap: Tennessee didn’t play. Florida’s defense is looking much improved, beating Kentucky, 34-10.
Okay, Tennessee is coming off a bye here. And that fact ends the list of things I have to say in favor of betting Tennessee. Come gameday, it’ll be almost two months since Tennessee has posted 20 points. It’ll also be just over two months since they’ve allowed fewer than 24 in a game. Opposing teams know that UT can’t accomplish anything under Guarantano, so they’ve zeroed in on the run game. It does just enough to limit Tennessee’s scoring opportunities and allow the opposing team’s offenses more time and opportunities on the field. That said, Jeremy Pruitt did come out and say we will see freshman QB Harrison Bailey this week, but we don’t know yet to what capacity.
If Bailey starts, I’d lean the over. But either way, I’m still betting in favor of Florida here. They’ve been too dominant in years past and possess an offense that’s almost unstoppable. Their defense has also been improving and playing much better overall. They just held Kentucky to 220 yards of offense and have posted their two best defensive point totals all season. The Volunteers need a miracle to have a shot in this one.
Florida -17.5 is the play regardless of weather, venue, or quarterback.
South Carolina at Kentucky (UK -11.5, O/U 47.5)
Last Week’s Recap: SC got handled 45-16 versus Georgia. Kentucky got handled 34-10 versus Florida.
Under 47.5. Aside from their games against Ole Miss and Vanderbilt this year, Kentucky hasn’t topped 200 yards on the ground this year. And we all know that considering how much they run the ball, that’s a problem. They’ve struggled to get their offense going at all this year, and aside from those two games their offense hasn’t scored more than 20 points yet this year. SC’s defense has fallen apart this year, but anything Kentucky gets done in this matchup will chew up valuable time for both of these teams. Also, coincidentally, South Carolina has only topped 200 yards rushing against Vandy and Mississippi this year as well. And we’re all aware of their passing game struggles.
Every Kentucky possession will eat up clock regardless of if they score or not. The same will likely be true for a South Carolina team more focused on being able to run the ball the past few weeks. So, what does that leave us? A really, really low scoring game. Each team would be happy to amass anything over 20. South Carolina’s defense may not be great, but it’s much easier to be decent when you only need to focus on stopping one aspect. And while SC’s defense isn’t the best, Kentucky’s defense is generally respectable anytime they aren’t playing one of the best offenses.
Under 47.5 between the Wildcats and Gamecocks.
#1 Alabama at LSU (ALA -29.5, O/U 67.5)
Last Week’s Recap: Alabama won the iron bowl, 42-13. LSU only scored 7 against A&M whilst giving up 20.
It doesn’t matter how much Coach O believes his defense has improved since their three-week break, Alabama is dropping 40+. It’s also important to note that in the last month and a half, Bama hasn’t allowed a team to score more than 24 on them. They’re actually allowing just under 12 PPG in their last five outings. And I’d argue that the best of those five teams’ offenses are either better than or equivalent to LSU’s offense. Even in the year 2020, Alabama’s domination ensues. And unlike the beginning of the season, they’re dominating both sides of the ball. Which is why we’re going with the under again this week.
Alabama will likely win this game by somewhere around 30 points, but there’s a decent chance for a backdoor cover for LSU. But Bama will get to around 42-45 before letting off the gas pedal. And my guess is that this game will follow along similarly to the Auburn game a week ago. LSU won’t find success early or often, but will instead find themselves unable to move the ball for long stretches of this game.
They’ve only averaged 15 PPG over their last three, so what will change here against the hottest defense in the SEC? Not much. Bama rolls and their defense dominates. Under 67.5.
Written by Nick Swatson and Alex Hill