SEC Football picks: #9 Auburn vs. #2 LSU & 4 more

Nick Roush

October 24th, 2019

TeamSpreadMoneylineTotal
Auburn Tigers
+10.5 (-113)
+315
O 59.5 (-110)
LSU Tigers
-10.5 (-107)
-415
U 59.5 (-110)
Since Ed Orgeron took over the head coaching duties at LSU, this SEC West rivalry game has been decided by five points or fewer, and the Bayou Bengals have won the last two. Quarterback Joe Burrow is dead set on extending that streak at Tiger Stadium on Saturday.

Arguably the best quarterback in the nation through the first half of the college football season, Burrow is completing an astounding 79.4% of his passes for 354.9 yards per game to give the Tigers the second-highest scoring offense in the nation (50.1 points per game.). This week’s opponent also has a top-25 scoring offense. Auburn’s high-powered, run-pass-option attack averages 36.3 points per game, which ranks 23rd overall and third in the SEC.

If you add those numbers together, you’re well above the total line of 59.5. It seems too good to be true, because it is.

Do not fall for the fool’s gold. After quarterback Bo Nix struggled at The Swamp, Gus Malzahn will go to the ground and pound on offense to mitigate Nix’s mistakes and keep the ball out of Burrow’s hands. The Death Valley crowd and the best quarterback on the field will carry LSU to a win, one big enough to potentially cover, but do not expect to see a shootout.

Pick: Under 59.5

Mississippi State at Texas A&M (-10.5), Saturday, noon ET, ESPN

Early money has leaned toward the Aggies, which pushed the opening line up. I don’t understand why. Mississippi State’s defense hung tough with LSU and forced field goals Burrow typically turns into touchdowns. The A&M offense still hasn't found its identity, and the MSU running game with Kylin Hill and Garrett Shrader will do enough to keep the game close.

Pick: Mississippi State +10.5

South Carolina at Tennessee (+4.5), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Each team is better than its record indicates, but one has much more uncertainty at quarterback.

Even though the Vols are at home, they’ll be without Brian Maurer. Jarrett Guarantano began the season as Tennessee’s starter, but lost any remaining goodwill after he went rogue on a quarterback sneak at Alabama. Instead of making it a one-score game, the Crimson Tide forced a fumble and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. Morale is nearing an all-time low in Knoxville.

Pick: South Carolina -4.5

Missouri at Kentucky (+10), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network

A week after Kentucky played Georgia to a tie for almost three quarters in the rain, the Wildcats will host Missouri in another game that could be defined by downpours. If the weather takes the ball out of Kelly Bryant’s hands, Lynn Bowden should be able to score enough points to win. Missouri’s kryptonite this season has been the quarterback run game, and few running QBs can compare to the athletic ability of Bowden, who will play wide receiver in the NFL next year.

Pick: Kentucky +10

Arkansas at #1 Alabama (-32), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

I’m bullish on most of the underdogs this week, except for Arkansas. If the Crimson Tide still had Tua Tagovailoa, the spread would be in the 40s. Mac Jones will not be perfect, but he does not have to be for Alabama to cover the spread.

Pick: Alabama -32






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