Saturday Selections: Week 2 SEC Picks Against the Spread


Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; General view of LP Field and the Cumberland River before the NFL game between the New York Jets and the Tennessee Titans. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Every week this season, I’ll give you my SEC picks against the spread. If you’re a betting man or woman – and I know some of you are – be sure to wager responsibly. Lines used are taken from Bovada (unless otherwise noted), and rankings are via the Associated Press Top 25.

More from Auburn Football

Last Week: 4-5-1

(The Florida-Idaho matchup was ruled “no contest,” and bets were returned)

This Season: 4-5-1

Saturday September 6, 2014

Florida Atlantic at #2 Alabama (40.5), 11:00am Central, SEC Network

Last week, Alabama was a big favorite against West Virginia, but could never get separation from the Mountaineers and wound up winning by ten. The Crimson Tide still have a quarterback “competition” after Blake Sims completed 24 of 33 passes for 250 yards, no touchdowns and an interception, while Jacob Coker rode the pine most of the afternoon before handing off a few times in the fourth quarter.

Of course, it really won’t matter who is under center for Alabama because the Crimson Tide have TJ Yeldon, Derrick Henry and about 80 other guys that would start for Florida Atlantic. To make matters worse, FAU gained 200 total yards in a 55-7 loss to Nebraska. This one should get ugly.

Alabama 49, Florida Atlantic 3


Missouri (-4) at Toledo, 11:00am, ESPN2

Missouri opened at a rather reasonable -5.5, and the line has still come down. The Tigers lost a ton of talent from last season’s 12-2 SEC East Championship squad, and it showed in Week 1 against South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits are an FCS playoff contender, and Missouri couldn’t pull away until late in the game. In fact, with 10:28 remaining in the third, Mizzou was up just 21-18.

Toledo actually had a similar game against New Hampshire. The Rockets led 16-14 at the half and 30-20 late in the third before piling on for 666 total yards and a 54-20 final. It’s odd that Mizzou would choose to go on the road for some MACtion, but it’s likely related to the fact that Toledo gave head coach Gary Pinkel his first head coaching job.

Will Pinkel regret going back? It’ll be tough, but the Tigers cover.

Missouri 35, Toledo 30


Arkansas State at Tennessee (-17.5), 11:00am, SEC Network

Folks are jumping on the Tennessee bandwagon after last week’s impressive performance against Utah State.

Aug 31, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers running back Jalen Hurd (1) celebrates scoring his first college career touchdown against the Utah State Aggies with teammate Tennessee tight end Ethan Wolf (82) during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 38-7. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

After opening at -14, the Vols have added more than a field goal to the spread. It’s easy to understand the optimism – Tennessee played one of the best games the program has seen since Phil Fulmer was on the sidelines.

Just a five-point favorite last week over the Aggies, Tennessee jumped out to a 31-0 lead and won 38-7. The defense was the story and the Vols held Chuckie Keeton and company to only 244 yards. This week, UT will welcome another dangerous lower conference opponent, and they have one fewer day to prepare.

Arkansas State beat Montana State 37-10 and was impressive on both offense and defense. The Red Wolves racked up 547 total yards, and help the Bobcats to 228 and a 2-for-18 performance on third down. The money has been pouring in on Tennessee, but this one could be closer than expected.

Tennessee 31, Arkansas State 24


UAB at Mississippi State (-27.5), 1:00pm

Mississippi State made a statement last week by shutting out Southern Miss 49-0. Sure, the Eagles have been very bad recently, but they beat UAB at the end of last season, and the Bulldogs have a history of crumbling to high expectations and playing down to the level of inferior opponents. On all counts, the rain-soaked blowout was a great sign for MSU.

The Blazers are also off to a tremendous start under new head coach Bill Clark. UAB beat Troy 48-10 to open the season and had 338 rushing yards in the victory. However, as good as they looked last weekend, this Mississippi State squad could be for real. Even with Dak Prescott hobbled slightly with an injured foot, the Bulldogs should cruise.

Mississippi State 42, UAB 10


Ohio at Kentucky (-13.5), 2:30pm, ESPNU

This spread has jumped a touchdown since opening at -6, and it is hard to argue with the movement. Kentucky looked like a completely different team last week against Tennessee-Martin and rolled to a 59-14 victory behind 656 yards of total offense.

The Wildcats converted big play after big play on offense, and also forced five turnovers. It is too early to tell if UK is as good as they looked Saturday, but it was a great start for a team that hasn’t won an SEC contest in two years.

Ohio opened its season in conference play and squeaked out a 17-14 win on the road against Kent State. The Bobcats kicked a 44-yard field goal as time expired for the victory. Ohio head coach Frank Solich likes to run the football, and will try to limit the time of possession for Kentucky, which should limit the Cats’ big play opportunities.

I don’t think UK is a bowl team yet, however, I think the Wildcats are too strong in this one.

Kentucky 35, Ohio 20


Eastern Michigan at Florida (-38), 3:00pm, SEC Network

It was unfortunate for Florida that last week’s game against Idaho was washed out. Because of the no contest, the Gators had to endure one more week without a victory and to wonder what the new offense would look like under offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.

Instead of opening the season with two blowout victories before opening SEC play, now the Gators will have just one big win prior to facing Kentucky. But hey, at least they stayed healthy last week.

Eastern Michigan is one of the worst teams in the nation on paper, and has had very little success as a football program in recent decades. They do have a former 5-star quarterback (Rob Bolden) behind center, though there isn’t much talent around him and Bolden himself most recently played wide receiver at LSU. EMU is 1-0, but the Eagles had to overcome a 28-21 third quarter deficit to beat Morgan State.

Florida 49, Eastern Michigan 7


#15 Ole Miss (-20) at Vanderbilt, 3:30 pm ESPN

This is the only SEC conference game of the week, and it does not look as appealing as originally expected.

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  • Ole Miss sleepwalked through the first three quarters on offense in the Georgia Dome last Thursday, but put it together in the fourth for a 35-13 win over Boise State.

    Vanderbilt, on the other hand, still hasn’t woken up. After a delayed start, a Temple team that won two games last season and lost to Idaho dominated the Commodores 37-7. Vandy inexplicably played three quarterbacks against the Owls and head coach Derek Mason has yet to name a starter for this week.

    The line opened at -14, but has risen steadily. The game is in Nashville, but the ‘Dores surrendered their home field advantage by playing the game at LP Field instead of Vanderbilt Stadium. The big question: Is Vanderbilt as bad as they showed last week? Probably.

    Ole Miss 35, Vanderbilt 10


    East Carolina at #21 South Carolina (-17), 6:00pm ESPNU

    No one expected South Carolina to be completely outclassed at home last week against Texas A&M. Sure, we thought it would be a good game (and picked the Aggies to cover), but to beat the Gamecocks by 24? Wow.

    It really doesn’t get much easier this week. ECU is an Air Raid team on offense much like Texas A&M and the Pirates have a more experienced quarterback running the show than the Aggies did in Kenny Trill. Plus, the South Carolina secondary is still young and inexperienced.

    ECU racked up 582 yards of offense and allowed only 174 in a 52-7 win over North Carolina Central – but of course, the Gamecocks are a much better team than NCCU.

    The line opened at -17, dipped to -14.5 when South Carolina running back Mike Davis was considered to be “sort of doubtful” for the game, but rose again now that Davis is expected to play. It would be surprising to see the All-SEC candidate carry the load on Saturday, but the Gamecocks need a win.

    They’ll get the W, but they won’t cover.

    South Carolina 38, East Carolina 31


    Nicholls State at Arkansas (NL)

    Lamar at #9 Texas A&M (NL)

    Sam Houston State at #12 LSU (NL)

    San Jose State at #5 Auburn (-32.5)

    The SEC games against FCS opponents do not have lines on Bovada or Vegas Insider, and we will not make picks in those games (though if you are really interested, you can find lines on 5dimes… you degenerate, you).

    Also, be sure to check back Saturday morning for our prediction of the SJSU-Auburn matchup.