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Sorry I am late, everyone! Just got back into town. Ok. So, last week wasn't my best week. Thank you Bama and Florida. That resulted in a 4-6 mark, thanks to completely missing those two games. My total mark now stands at 26-26, good for .500. We need to get back on the right track. Maybe I should spend a little more time on these picks....
Auburn at Mississippi State
Auburn is a 3.5 point road favorite and the under/over is set at 54.5. This looks to be a tight game as even the money line is -150/130. The Bulldogs do not have a competent offense, leaning on UMASS for 47 points to lift their dreadful numbers. Excluding that game, the Dogs have scored 27 points once and 20 points twice. WR Fred Ross is the only legitimate threat to Auburn, having scored four of MSU's 12 total TDs. Some care must be given to the QB Fitzgerald, the team's leading rusher. Though he is averaging seven YPC, he hasn't scored a TD. MSU's defense? The 48th ranked total defense has kept only one offense (South Carolina) under 20 points.
On the other side, Auburn could be looking at a statement game. Sure, beating LSU was a shocker, but the luster was taken off after Les Miles was fired. This Auburn team is very, very close to being a complete team. On defense, Auburn is limiting offenses to just 16 points a game and that includes some top-tier offenses. Auburn can, and will shut down Fred Ross while limiting Fitzgerald's ability to run. On offense, Auburn faces a team that limits the run but gives up 250 pass yards a game. The rushing yards allowed (150) looks good, but it's against teams that can't run the ball. This will create a false sense of security that Auburn's Pettway and Johnson will exploit. Auburn's passing game is coming along nicely. Auburn should jump out early and lean on the run game. Take Auburn to cover the spread and the under on points.
LSU at Florida
Luke Del Rio is back, and that's a welcome site for Gator fans. Appleby was averaging just 5 yards per completion is his start and that won't cut it against a very athletic LSU defense. The major issue for LSU will be containing Florida WR Antonio Callaway. Despite sketchy play at QB, Callaway has 20 catches for 371 yards and two TDs. But, it is Florida's Powell and Goolsby that are the real X-factors. LSU hasn't played a team with multiple playmakers at wideout. These two may not have the yardage on go-to guy Callaway, but they are where the TD production comes from, having added three TDs combined.
Against Tennessee, Florida struggled to contain the Vol's multiple recievers as well, having nearly three 100-yard pass catchers. However, Florida has only Dural to contain and they have just man to do it.
The difference in the game will be LSU's Guise. With limited game film to study, Florida will not be able to prepare for Guise, who tuned up Missouri last week.
LSU is a 3 point favorite with an over/under of 41. Much of that is attributed to the perceived strength of the defenses as well as the expected weather in Gainesville. Both teams are 1-4 against the spread and neither are good as underdogs. Something has to give. Take LSU to cover and the over on points.
Tennessee at Texas A&M
TAMU is a seven point favorite. Anytime you get around those numbers, you have to watch out. This typically means that the game's results is pretty well understood. TAMU is 4-1 AGT. Tennessee is 1-0 on the road. TAMU is a perfect 3-0 at home. The over/under is 58. Only half of these two team's games have gone under 58 points. The Vol's two games were against out of conference games. The Aggie' three were against UCLA, Auburn, and South Carolina. But, two of those were on the road.
We can discuss how the two team's stack up, but injuries are the real story. The Aggies may be without some combination of Myles Garrett, Ricky Seales-Jones, and Speedy Noil while the Vols will be without Jalen Hurd.
Hurd seems to be the most likely to miss and without him, the Vols will have to lean on the legs and arm of Dobbs. This is a very, very scary proposition for the Vols. I do think the Vols have the edge on pass catchers (Jennings/Malone) and Dobbs ability to run from the shotgun and buy time could be a huge hurdle for a TAMU team that hasn't faced the likes of those two WRs. Being without Garrett on the edge gives a huge lean to TAMU. But, with Sumlin not giving out the info, we have to go with what we know. ***Note: Hurd to play***
Expect UT to get the back door cover and the over on points.
Georgia at South Carolina
Another game sitting on a critical seven. This time, UGA is favored by the TD. The over/under is sitting at 40.5. Undoubtedly, the public believes that the combination of weather and UGA's run game will mean a low scoring affair with Nick Chubb back from injury. Indeed, USC has given up 97 or more yards in all but one game this year. a win against East Carolina.
South Carolina is averaging just 301 yards per game including a dreadful 197 yards in the air per game. UGa is giving up 240 yards in the air, but the crosswind expected from the hurricane will affect this. This will be a run-first game, but turnovers will create short fields, hurting USC more than UGA. UGA covers and roll with the over.
Alabama at Arkansas
Bama is a 14 point favorite and the over/under line stands at 49. Taking out the overtime game against TCU, the Hogs have done a fair job at playing D, aside from giving up 45 to TAMU two weeks ago. Keep in mind that the Hogs laid three fumbles on the grass in that loss.
Alabama has now scored a DST TD in seven straight games. Brett Bielema has preached ball security and special teams play the last two weeks. That streak will end Saturday.
Bama is 3-2 against the spread and the Hogs are 1-1 as an underdog.
The last two games between these two teams have been terrific. Last year was 27-14 and 2014 was 14-13, both going to the Tide who have won 9 straight.
This will be where Jalen Hurts will struggle and it will be an environment that struggles will be hard to get up from. Take the Hogs to cover and the under on points.