Week 5 sec picks and predictions
By: Grant Poarch
Week 5 SEC Picks and Predictions
It was yet another strange week in the SEC last week as Florida looked slow against Charlotte the week after upsetting Tennessee. Beyond that, UAB was competitive with Georgia in the first half. To put the cherry on top, Arkansas pushed LSU to the very end in a close game. If this week is anything like the last, then we are in for some eyebrow raising results. This week highlights a heated rematch between South Carolina and Tennessee in Knoxville as well as LSU going on the road to take on Ole Miss in Oxford. There are other compelling matchups as well, but I’ll tell you more about those later.
As for my predictions a week ago, it was the story of the season. I did well on the money line but struggled on the spread. I went 7-2 on the money line last week and 4-5 against the spread. That brings my season totals to 38-10 on the money line and 14-21 against the spread. That should tell you what to tail and what to fade. However, tail me at your benefit and fade me at your expense. The odds listed are provided by DraftKings.
#22 Florida @ Kentucky (-1.5, O/U 44.5), 12:00PM EST, ESPN
So far this season, Kentucky has not played a ranked team. This will no doubt be their toughest test yet. Frankly, I don’t see Kentucky being up to the challenge. The Devin Leary experiment doesn’t seem to be working well for the Wildcats. His 9-5 touchdown to interception ratio doesn’t impress anyone. This is especially true given the level of competition Kentucky has faced.
If Leary struggled to dominate against teams like Vanderbilt, Akron, EKU, and Ball State then he will certainly have issues against Florida. When you take a deeper look at the Kentucky offense, you can see that they rush for 5.5 yards per carry. In Florida’s upset win over Tennessee, they held the Vols to just 100 yards on the ground. If they can run it themselves and keep Kentucky down the way they kept down the Vols, Florida will win this game.
On top of everything, this game is at noon. I’m sure there will be a lot of drunk Kentucky fans at the game, but will it be enough to take the home team over the finish line? I don’t think so.
Prediction: Florida wins, Florida covers +1.5
Texas A&M (-6) vs. Arkansas, O/U 53.5, 12:00PM EST, SECN (Arlington, Texas)
Why in the world is this game played anywhere besides the campuses of Texas A&M and Arkansas? The quick and correct answer is money. However, I hate these neutral site games. As for the game itself, this one usually gives us a very interesting game. As of late, it has mostly been close Aggie wins. If this year’s game ends anything like last year’s game did, then we are in for a treat. With just over 90 seconds to go in the game, Arkansas lined up for a field goal down 23-21. What happened next was one of the strangest things you will ever see. The ball hit the top of the upright and fell short in the end zone.
Saturday should be no different in terms of excitement for these two fanbases. Arkansas should be coming in with some confidence after they unexpectedly (in my prediction I said the game would be close by the way) pushed LSU to the wire. Texas A&M should also be confident after they manhandled Auburn. Do I feel confident in picking one of these teams over the other? Not at all, but I have to do it.
The Aggies are going to win this one as they have done so every year but once since 2012. As for the spread, I’m not sure who to go with. Y’all have seen my record against the spread so take this one with a grain of salt.
Prediction: Texas A&M wins, Texas A&M covers -6
#1 Georgia (-14) @ Auburn, O/U 45.5, 3:30PM EST, CBS
This is one of the more interesting lines of the weekend. On one hand, Georgia is far better than Auburn. On the other hand, Georgia hasn’t started off games well and hasn’t played a road game yet this season. If the Dawgs start out slow in Auburn, that stadium will be on fire and keep the Tigers in the game for longer than they probably should be.
The question is… will Georgia start slow again? I say the answer to that question is yes. Carson Beck hasn’t started a true SEC road game and going into Jordan-Hare will be one heck of a welcome to the SEC. That being said, even if it is a close game going into the half or in the 3rd quarter, Georgia will pull away in this game because they are far better than Auburn from top to bottom.
Prediction: Georgia wins, Georgia covers -14
#23 Missouri (-14) @ Vanderbilt, O/U 54.5, 4PM EST, SECN
I don’t think I’ll be tuning in for this one as it seems like Vandy has fallen into their normal selves. Since starting the year 2-0, the Commodores have dropped three games in a row. Including this game, Vanderbilt will have to face four straight currently ranked teams.
In this one, I don’t know how Vanderbilt is going to be able to cover star Mizzou WR Luther Burden. In just four games this season, Burden has 504 yards and three touchdowns. Beyond just him, Missouri is going to handle this game with ease. They are simply better than Vanderbilt in every way. If that needs to be explained to you in football terms, I’m not sure you’ve watched much Vanderbilt football before.
Prediction: Missouri wins, Missouri covers -14
#13 LSU (-2.5) @ #20 Ole Miss, O/U 67.5, 6PM EST, ESPN
No doubt this year’s Magnolia Bowl is going to be one for the books. Each team has their back against the wall with one loss on their record. Ole Miss being at home is huge for them in this matchup, but I still like LSU in this one.
I see the Tigers defensive line having a field day against the Rebel offensive line. Beyond that, who is going to stop LSU WR Malik Nabers? Even if Jayden Daniels can’t find Nabers, I still see him having a good day as he has throw for almost 1,300 yards already with a 6-1 touchdown to interception ratio. Look for a close first half and then for LSU to clear out the stadium slowly but surely in the second half.
Prediction: LSU wins, LSU covers -2.5
South Carolina @ #21 Tennessee (-12, O/U 61.5), 7:30PM EST, SECN
The Vols have had this one circled from the moment the clock struck 0:00 on not only South Carolina’s upset win last season but Tennessee’s College Football Playoff hopes. Neyland Stadium will be on fire for this one. That being said, I don’t think Tennessee has shown enough to be this big of a favorite.
South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler has had a really good season thus far as he has thrown for 1,242 yards with seven touchdowns to just two interceptions. If he plays anything like he did against Tennessee last year, South Carolina will have no problem covering the number.
While I don’t feel super confident in Tennessee if this game was played on a neutral field, this game being in Neyland will make all the difference.
Prediction: Tennessee wins, South Carolina covers +12
#12 Alabama (-14.5) @ Mississippi State, O/U 47, 9PM EST, ESPN
This is another interesting line. While I have no doubt that Alabama will win this game, I’m not sure that this number is accurate. LSU manhandled Mississippi State on both sides of the ball when they played a couple of weeks ago. I expect Alabama to do the same.
Alabama was able to hold Ole Miss, a known rushing team, to just 1.9 yards per carry. This will force Mississippi State to become one dimensional. Good thing for them is they have Will Rogers to lead their passing attack. However, the Hail State passing attack hasn’t looked the same this year as it has in previous years. Look for the Alabama defense to shut down Mississippi State in both the air and ground games. Furthermore, Alabama will lean on the Mississippi State defense and win this game in an ugly fashion.
Prediction: Alabama wins, Alabama covers -14.5