SEC Week 12 odds, picks: Mississippi State wins big, Georgia gets right vs. Kentucky


With the absence of a top 10 matchup, several teams taking on cupcakes and all eyes pointing toward the Iron Bowl next week, it’s a down week in the SEC, right?

Nope. There’s plenty of money to be made with some interesting lines out there.

Kentucky will travel to Georgia, LSU will visit Tennessee and Mississippi State will visit Arkansas in some of the biggest games of the weekend.

How will it shake out? Let’s try and keep the hot streak going.

Record straight up: 73-18 (7-1 last week)
Record against the spread: 51-27-4 (5-3 last week)
*Games without lines are not counted in the ATS record.

Main Course

No. 16 Mississippi State at Arkansas (+11.5)

How on Earth is Mississippi State — the team that just took Alabama to the wire and outplayed the Crimson Tide for three-and-a-half quarters — less than a two touchdown favorite over an Arkansas team that can’t stop anybody, has no offensive identity and has a coach on one of the hottest seats in America? I don’t get it. The combination of quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and running back Aeris Williams will run over, around and through an Arkansas defense that is its typical, undisciplined self, and Todd Grantham’s Bulldogs defense will light up Hogs quarterback Austin Allen and an inconsistent offensive line. Pick: Bulldogs (-11.5)

Strong Cocktails

No. 20 LSU at Tennessee (+15.5)

  • SportsLine game forecaster
  • What will Tennessee be like under Brady Hoke?
  • LSU’s running game will be tough to stop
  • How many snaps will Tiger backup quarterbacks get?

Tennessee is a wreck, in its first game with interim coach Brady Hoke calling the shots and has no identity. Other than that, all is well on Rocky Top. How does the absence of Jones and presence of Hoke impact the Vols? Sometimes a change loosens players up (See: LSU 2016), and sometimes it creates turmoil (see: Florida). Either way, though, a defense that just got a 50-burger hung on it by Missouri isn’t slowing down an LSU rushing attack led by Derrius Guice. This one gets sideways, and LSU coach Ed Orgeron gets Myles Brennan in for some meaningful snaps on the road to prepare him for next season. Pick: Tigers (-15.5)

Kentucky at No. 7 Georgia (-21.5)

Georgia got smoked by Auburn last week on The Plains, but still is in control of its College Football Playoff destiny heading into Saturday’s home tilt with Kentucky. They can’t let the hangover from the trip to Auburn hurt them against a Kentucky team that, from an offensive perspective, can pack a mean punch. Ultimately, the Bulldogs defense led by Roquan Smith will get pressure on the Wildcats, slow down running back Benny Snell and quarterback Stephen Johnson and lead to way in an easy victory. But Georgia will look to get fresh for the rivalry game vs. Georgia Tech and SEC Championship Game vs. Auburn or Alabama, pull its starters and Kentucky will sneak through that back door for a late cover. Pick: Wildcats (+21.5)

Texas A&M at Ole Miss (-3)

If point-a-minute football is your thing, get ready for the Aggies and Rebels. Defense will be optional. Dual-threat weapon Jordan Ta’amu has been awesome in place of Ole Miss starting quarterback Shea Patterson, Rebels wide receivers are nearly impossible to cover and the Rebels don’t play a lick of defense. On the other side, the Aggies defense is aggressive with its blitz schemes, seems to have found a nice balance now that Nick Starkel has returned as their starting quarterback and has one of the most dangerous weapons in college football in wide receiver/returner Christian Kirk. Ta’amu will make a few more plays in the fourth quarter than Starkel and the Rebels will win a shootout by a touchdown. Pick: Rebels (-3)

Appetizers

Missouri at Vanderbilt (+8.5)

Missouri has won four straight, scored at least 45 points in each of those games and boasts a quarterback in Drew Lock who has tossed 35 touchdowns — 14 more than his closest competition in the SEC. And these Tigers are expected to play a close game against a Vanderbilt defense that just gave up 11.5 yards per attempt to Kentucky? Nope. The Tigers will cruise in the Music City over a Commodores defense that has been a bit of a let down this year. Pick: Tigers (-8.5)

UAB at Florida (-10.5)

  • SportsLine game forecaster
  • Florida will out-physical UAB
  • The Blazers will hang, though
  • Bill Clark should be National Coach of the Year

No, I’m not going to hop on board the UAB bandwagon to a point where I’m picking the Blazers to spring the upset on the Gators, but it will be close. In their first year back in existence after being shut down in 2014, coach Bill Clark has the Blazers at 7-3, going to a bowl game, and should be a unanimous choice for National Coach of the Year. With that said, the Gators will be too much offensively, Feleipe Franks will be solid at quarterback and the defense will get a late turnover to ice it and get a win in the Swamp for interim coach Randy Shannon — but only by a touchdown. Pick: Blazers (+10.5)

ULM at No. 6 Auburn (-36.5)

  • SportsLine game forecaster
  • Auburn is excellent on both lines of scrimmage
  • Expect the twos to get plenty of work
  • The Warhawks will keep it interesting in Vegas

Auburn looked awesome last week in every facet of the game save for kick coverage in the win over previously-No. 1 Georgia, but this line is too inflated as a result. Why? It’s rather simple. With the de facto SEC West title game taking place on The Plains next week against Alabama, the Tigers will get their starters out very early, work on some things with the second-teamers and ULM will stay within the number as a result. It won’t be a referendum on Auburn or anything like that, it’s just smart football. After all, why do Jarrett Stidham, Kerryon Johnson, Jeff Holland and Co. need to be put at injury risk at this point of the season? Pick: Warhawks (+36.5)

Side dishes



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