Week 1 of the slate of SEC matchups certainly did not disappoint, and we're just as excited to give you our picks for how things will turn out in week 2. As you can see on the scoreboard below, Alex has taken an early lead overall. We have added an extra college football expert, Ryne Marshall, who will provide an additional voice so you can hear from as many opinions as possible when making your picks this week. Going forward, our scoreboard will be ranked based on win percentage for each category, since Ryne will have fewer total games picked throughout the season.
As always, Alex will also provide his lock for each game with rationale behind it. We hope to make you a lot of money this weekend.
My picks went 4-3 last week. I also hope Vanderbilt made you all tons of money.
Missouri at #21 Tennessee (TEN -11.5, O/U 48.5)
Last Week’s Recap: Missouri was outscored 35-3 by Alabama before the dogs were called off. Shawn Robinson did surprisingly decent throwing the ball and Larry Rountree averaged almost five yards per carry (YPC) against Bama’s defense. Tennessee won a tough fought game against the Gamecocks, with what must be considered a quality win considering UT’s opener last year (Yes, Georgia State, we remember).
Robinson in 2018 against power five teams threw for 5 touchdowns and 7 picks before being benched and is extremely prone to bad decisions. If Tennessee can put pressure on him and do their best to contain Rountree I don’t think Missouri breaks 20 points here.
Conversely, Mizzou does bring great production back defensively, namely in their leading tackler and pass rusher. Here’s the deal, after their first game last season, they never gave up more than 29 points again on the season. I think this team is way more vulnerable through the air than on the ground, and I don’t trust Guarantano to take advantage of a better defensive secondary than the Gamecocks.
My play is Under 48.5, and if the total doesn’t rise that half point, potentially buy the hook for safety.
South Carolina at #5 Florida (FLA -18.5, O/U 57.0)
Last Week’s Recap: SC lost 27-23 to the Volunteers. The only offensive threat for them is Shi Smith, and they just did not look well-rounded on defense. Do not trust them. Florida, meanwhile, put up ridiculous numbers against a poor Ole Miss defense. Uncharacteristically, they also gave up 613 yards of offense to a talented Mississippi team who kept the playbook open all game.
The fact that the line for this game is -18 is inconceivable to me. South Carolina’s pass defense had more holes last week than swiss cheese, and there’s just no way to improve the amount they need to in a week’s time. SC also averaged a dreadful 3.64 YPC to teams not named Charleston Southern last year. Excluding that same game, they also averaged under 18 points per game in 2019.
I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, well, Florida gave up way more yards and more points than SC did. Here’s the problem with that thinking, Florida has better athletes and schemes than the Gamecocks and played a much greater offensive threat last week. AND Kyle Pitts will be unstoppable again this week.
Florida -18. 1 unit, 10 units, a pink slip, or your house, this is guaranteed money.
#13 Texas A&M at #2 Alabama (ALA -17.0, O/U 51.5)
Last Week’s Recap: A&M squeaked by Vanderbilt with a 17-12 home win. Their defense picked Vandy off twice and held them to just 3.8 yards per play. Alabama cruised to a 38-19 (35-3 with their starters) win against a mediocre Missouri team. Their run game surprisingly seemed rather ordinary aside from Najee Harris scoring 3 touchdowns in the red zone, but Jaylen Waddle had a dazzling performance.
Last year, Alabama won 47-28 in a game where Tua dissected the defense for the whole game aside from one errant pass (I know Mac Jones is not Tua). While these teams have certainly changed since last year, it’s a good benchmark to start with. Kellen Mond desperately needs to find his groove for this team to be successful, and I do believe Alabama is still looking for players on that side of the ball to step up aside from Patrick Surtain.
A&M struggled getting to Vanderbilt’s quarterback (losing Justin Madubuike can have that effect) and giving Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle time to run their routes is a scary thought for any opposing team. I’m expecting at least 35 from Bama, which means we need 17 from A&M here and that’s certainly attainable so long as they don’t turn the ball over a lot.
Their games have gone over the last two times they’ve played and I’m expecting it to continue here. My pick is over 51.5 and I expect these teams to hit 60.
Ole Miss at Kentucky (UK -6.5, O/U 61.5)
Last Week’s Recap: If you enjoy offense, I hope you tuned into Ole Miss against Florida, which saw over 1,250(!) yards of offense. Meanwhile, Kentucky lost to Auburn 29-13 in a game where Kentucky really struggled to get their offense going.
Elijah Moore is a certified bucket, and teams are going to have a real tough time covering him. Kentucky’s rush defense should be much improved this year, but it won’t matter because Ole Miss will be moving the ball all over the field again this week. Ole Miss returned a majority of their offense from last year and it really showed in game 1 under Lane Kiffin.
Meanwhile, Kentucky averaged a measly 4.9 yards per play last week. This game comes down to if Ole Miss can stop the run and force Terry Wilson to make plays through the air, which I believe they can do. Mississippi returns their five leading tacklers from last year for a team who were consistently good against the run. I believe Mississippi gets ahead here and forces Kentucky to play more loosely than they’re comfortable with.
This is just a tough game 2 draw for Stoops and Kentucky in what I believe is a matchup nightmare. Ole Miss rolls here, securing the cover and winning outright.
#7 Auburn at #4 Georgia (UGA -7.0, O/U 45.0)
Last Week’s Recap: Auburn soundly and methodically beat Kentucky, 29-13. Georgia remembered who they were in the second half against Arkansas, thrashing them 32-3 in the second half (37-10 overall).
In recent years, Auburn has almost served as a lesser version of Georgia. The over is also 2-8 in their last 10 meetings, as these teams know each other well and like to slow the tempo down. Georgia allowed just 3 points last week in the final 53 minutes of game time against Arkansas. Meanwhile, Bo Nix had a respectable showing throwing for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions against a respectable Kentucky defense.
What’s concerning though, for two teams that focus on their run game to open up their passing game is that Auburn averaged just 3 YPC against Kentucky while Georgia averaged 2.9 YPC against Arkansas. JT Daniels has finally been cleared but is certainly rusty with extremely limited reps. This means they might even go with Bennett, who is a game manager at best.
This game should remain close throughout, but part of that reason is because it’ll be a low scoring affair. Aside from the potential unlucky special teams mishaps or defensive scores, this game shouldn’t eclipse the 40 point mark on Saturday.
Arkansas at #16 Mississippi State (MSU -18.0, O/U 69.0)
Last Week’s Recap: MSU put on a show for people who don’t respect the air raid via 623 passing yards, en route to a 44-34 victory over the former champs. Arkansas, meanwhile, played arguably their best half of football in the past few years (up 7-5 at halftime versus Georgia). They quickly reverted to the mean in the second half by getting blown out, eventually losing 37-10.
First things first, I owe an apology to Mike Leach and KJ Costello for not believing in them. Arkansas definitely has some gamers on defense, but they also have liabilities. They are not built as a team to stop an air raid offense. No matter the scheming, they don’t have the personnel. They also allowed 211 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20/29 passing in 3 quarters against Stetson Bennett. As long as MSU’s line gives Costello some time to operate, Arkansas can’t stop this offense.
Meanwhile, barring their first drive, Arkansas hardly attempted a pass more than 10 yards down field for an entire game (Feleipe Franks is an abysmal quarterback). This also doesn’t work well for them, because they don’t have the athletes to beat their opponents sideline to sideline. We’re looking for Osirus Mitchell and Kylin Hill to have field days here, while Arkansas’ offensive attempts get thwarted.
Due to the Razorbacks lack of big play making ability, coupled with their defense not being well suited to defend Mississippi State, I’m picking the Bulldogs to cover here, big. MSU by 1,000.
#20 LSU at Vanderbilt (LSU -20.0, O/U 48.5)
Last Week’s Recap: LSU was STUNNED by Mississippi’s passing attack in a 44-34 upset. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt pulled a Vanderbilt and lost a close game where they were given chance after chance to pull out an upset of their own (losing 17-12 to A&M).
What shouldn’t get lost in last week’s upset was the story of the run game for LSU (or lack thereof). On 38 carries they gained 80 yards, otherwise known as 2.1 YPC. Just brutal. Meanwhile, the seasoned Vanderbilt defense allowed 6.8 YPC to Texas A&M last week. However, Vanderbilt will get Dimitri Moore back on defense which only makes LSU’s life harder. Speaking of defense, expect LSU to force the freshman Ken Seals, who threw two picks last week, into bad reads this week.
MSU’s front seven made LSU’s O-line look like a Pee Wee flag football team, as evidenced by the seven sacks allowed as well as an abysmal rushing performance. Obviously, we don’t expect the Commodores to even come close to matching that pressure, but they don’t even need to. Watching the LSU game really gives me serious doubts about Myles Brennan’s ability to lead LSU’s offense going forward.
I’m going under 48.5 for two offenses that have a lot to prove going forward.
Written by Nick Swatson and Alex Hill