SEC Report - Week 10
November 3, 2017
By Brian Edwards
Editor's Note: Brian Edwards owns a 40-26-1 record (60.6%, +11.9 units) in college football for the season. Brian is ranked third in overall money and winning percentage out of 37 college-football handicappers on VI! Don't miss out on any of his pay-if-they-win-only selections for Week 10!
Florida ended the torturous Jim McElwain Era this past Sunday following a 42-7 loss to Georgia in Jacksonville. Randy Shannon, the former player, assistant and head coach at the University of Miami, was named as the interim head coach. On Thursday, he named Malik Zaire as the starting quarterback for Saturday’s game at Missouri.
As of Friday afternoon, most books had Missouri (3-5 straight up, 4-4 against the spread) installed as a three-point favorite with a total of 61.5. The Gators were +135 on the money line (risk $100 to win $135).
Barry Odom’s team has won back-to-back games and has covered the spread in four consecutive outings, including last week’s 52-12 win at UConn as a 13.5-point road ‘chalk.’ Junior QB Drew Lock completed 31-of-37 throws for 377 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. Johnathon Johnson hauled in five receptions for 128 yards and one TD, while J’Mon Moore had eight catches for 96 yards and two TDs.
Lock is on fire over the last month, throwing 18 TD passes compared to just two interceptions in a four-game stretch. For the season, Lock has thrown for 2,567 yards with a 28/8 TD-INT ratio. Moore is his favorite target, bringing down 39 receptions for 676 yards and seven TDs. Johnson has 32 catches for 535 yards and four TDs.
Sophomore RB Damarea Crockett was sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury two weeks ago. Crockett is still the team’s leading rusher with 481 yards, two TDs and a 6.0 yards-per-carry average. Senior RB Ish Witter will carry the bulk of the load on the ground vs. UF. He has rushed for 421 yards and three TDs with a 5.6 YPC average.
Missouri is 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS in five home games this year. As home favorites during Odom’s two-year tenure, the Tigers are 4-5 ATS, 1-3 versus the number in four such spots this season.
Florida (3-4 SU, 2-5 ATS) has played only one true road game to date, winning 28-27 at Kentucky as a three-point favorite. Since beating Vanderbilt by a 38-24 count to improve to 3-1, the Gators have lost three in a row vs. LSU (17-16), vs. Texas A&M (19-17) and vs. UGA.
In relief of an ineffective Feleipe Franks last week, Zaire led UF on its only scoring drive that was capped by a one-yard TD run from Mark Thompson. The Gators avoided cream-cheese treatment to extend the nation’s longest streak of not getting shutout that goes back to a loss at Auburn in the 1980s.
Zaire rushed for 30 yards on two attempts. He completed 3-of-6 passes for 36 yards. It was the first time the grad transfer from Notre Dame had touched the field since a 33-17 season-opening loss to Michigan.
In addition to the nine players who were suspended from the team in August, Florida has lost five key players to season-ending injuries. That includes last year’s leading tackler (Marcell Harris), this season’s leading rusher (Malik Davis), the team’s best pass rusher (Jordan Sherit), the most experienced QB with only one career loss as a starter (Luke Del Rio) and starting LB Kylan Johnson. Sherit went down two games ago, while Johnson and Davis sustained their injuries vs. UGA last week. Davis had rushed for 526 yards and two TDs with a 6.7 YPC average as a true freshman.
Starting senior safety Nick Washington, UF’s third-leading tackler, has missed two straight games and is listed as ‘questionable’ at Missouri.
The ‘over’ is 5-3 overall for Missouri, 3-2 in its home games. The Tigers have seen their games average combined scores of 71.2 points per game. Meanwhile, the ‘over’ is 4-3 overall for the Gators, 1-0 in their lone road assignment. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 47.3 PPG.
This is the highest total in a UF game since 2010 when Urban Meyer was still coaching the Gators, who have seen their last three games produce combined scores of only 33, 36 and 49 points.
Kickoff on ESPN2 is scheduled for noon Eastern.
Auburn (6-2 SU, 3-3-2 ATS) will look to keep its SEC West hopes alive when it travels to College Station to take on Texas A&M in a noon Eastern kick on ESPN. As of Friday afternoon, most books had the Tigers listed as 15-point road favorites with a total of 51.5. The Aggies were available for a sweet +500 return if they win outright (risk $100 to win $500).
Auburn has had two weeks to prepare for A&M after throttling Arkansas 52-20 as a 17-point road favorite two weeks ago. Gus Malzahn’s team has taken its only losses at Clemson (14-6) and at LSU (27-23). Therefore, AU controls its own destiny to get to Atlanta for the first weekend of December.
Auburn is 7-4 ATS in 11 games as a road favorite during Malzahn’s five-year tenure. The Tigers are 2-1 in three such spots this season, covering at Arkansas and in a 51-14 win at Missouri. They picked up their most impressive win at home vs. Mississippi State by a 49-10 count back on Sept. 30.
Junior RB Kerryon Johnson has rushed for 723 yards and 14 TDs with a 5.3 YPC average. His 14 rushing scores are tied for the third-most in the country. Johnson has produced those numbers despite missing two games in September. He had 11 TD runs, including five at Missouri, in a three-game stretch.
Auburn RB Kam Pettway, a first-team All-SEC selection in 2016, is ‘out’ indefinitely with a shoulder injury, so Johnson will get a ton of carries at Kyle Field. Pettway has battled injuries all season and has only rushed for 305 yards and six TDs with a 4.0 YPC average.
Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham, a transfer from Baylor who was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, has completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 1,728 yards with an 8/3 TD-INT ratio. Ryan Davis has been Stidham’s favorite target, hauling in 41 catches for 381 yards and three TDs.
Auburn is ranked ninth in the nation in scoring defense (15.6 PPG), 13th in total defense, 17th in pass defense and 25th versus the run. This unit might be without starting senior safety Tray Matthews for a second straight game. Matthews is listed as ‘questionable’ with a hamstring injury.
Since Texas A&M (5-3 SU, 5-2-1 ATS) joined the SEC in 2012, the road team has been triumphant in all five head-to-head meetings between these schools. The Aggies won a 29-16 decision on The Plains last year.
Kevin Sumlin’s job is in serious jeopardy after A&M lost 35-14 to Mississippi State as a 3.5-point home underdog last week. The Aggies generated only 285 yards of total offense and committed three turnovers. Freshman QB Kellen Mond was benched after connecting on only 8-of-26 passes for 56 yards with two interceptions. Nick Starkel, a redshirt freshman who had not played since getting injured in the opener at UCLA, completed 8-of-15 throws for 133 yards with one TD and one interception.
As of Friday afternoon, it was unclear whether or not Starkel or Mond would get the starting nod vs. Auburn. A&M has limped to a 2-5 spread record in seven games as a home underdog during Sumlin’s six-year tenure. The Aggies are 3-2 SU and 2-2-1 ATS at home this year.
The ‘under’ is 5-3 overall for the Aggies, 4-1 in their five home games. They’ve seen the ‘under’ cash in four consecutive contests.
The ‘over’ is 5-3 overall for Auburn, 3-1 in its road assignments. The Tigers have seen their games average combined scores of 51.9 PPG.
In another noon Eastern kick on ESPNU, Vanderbilt will take on Western Kentucky in Nashville. As of Friday afternoon, most spots had the Commodores marked as 10.5-point favorites with a total of 53.5. The Hilltoppers were +320 on the money line (risk $100 to win $320).
Since a 3-0 start, Vanderbilt (3-5 SU, 2-5-1 ATS) has lost five in a row while going 0-4-1 ATS. The first four defeats came by margins of 14 points or more. The ‘Dores lost a 34-27 decision at South Carolina as seven-point underdogs last week.
Trailing 34-20 with 4:50 remaining in Columbia, junior QB Kyle Shurmur found C.J. Duncan for a four-yard scoring strike to help Vandy garner a backdoor push. Shurmur completed 27-of-49 passes for 333 yards and four TDs with one interception. Kalija Lipscomb had seven receptions for 128 yards and one TD, while Duncan snared eight balls for 80 yards and two TDs.
Shurmur has enjoyed an outstanding campaign, throwing 18 TD passes compared to merely three interceptions. Senior RB Ralph Webb, the school’s all-time leading rusher, hasn’t had much room to operate all season long. He’s run for 439 yards and five TDs, averaging only 3.8 YPC. Trent Sherfield has a team-best 27 receptions for 458 yards and two TDs, while Lipscomb has 23 catches for 397 yards and six TDs.
Vandy is 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS at home this season. Meanwhile, Western Kentucky is 2-1 SU and 0-3 ATS in a trio of road outings. During Derek Mason’s four-year tenure, the ‘Dores are 3-7 ATS as home favorites.
These teams have played a pair of nail-biters the last two years. In 2015, Western Kentucky won 14-12 at Vandy as a 2.5-point road favorite. The Commodores answered with a 31-30 triumph in overtime as eight-point road underdogs last season.
The ‘over’ has hit in five consecutive Vandy games since the ‘under’ cashed in its first three contests. Totals have been a wash for the ‘Dores at home (2-2), while all of their games have averaged combined scores of 53.8 PPG. The ‘over’ is on a 3-0 run for the Hilltoppers, who are 5-3 SU but an abysmal 1-7 ATS.
In the 3:30 p.m. Eastern time slot on CBS, top-ranked Georgia (8-0 SU, 6-2 ATS) will face South Carolina between the hedges. As of Friday afternoon, most spots had the Bulldogs installed as 23.5-point favorites with a total of 45. The Gamecocks were +1375 on the money line at 5Dimes.eu (risk $100 to win $1,375).
UGA ended a three-game losing streak to Florida with last week’s 42-7 clubbing as a 12.5-point ‘chalk.’ Sony Michel ripped off TD runs of 74 and 45 yards in an 137-yard effort on just six carries. Nick Chubb added 77 rushing yards and one TD on 13 attempts.
For the season, Chubb has 765 rushing yards and nine TDs with a 6.4 YPC average. Michel has run for 629 yards and eight TDs, averaging 8.5 YPC. True freshman Jake Fromm took over for sophomore QB Jacob Eason when he suffered a sprained knee in the first quarter of the opener vs. Appalachian State.
Although Eason has been healthy and available for the last four games, he’s only received snaps at garbage time. Fromm has connected on 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,263 yards with a 13/4 TD-INT ratio. He has also run for 87 yards and three TDs. Terry Godwin is his go-to target, hauling in 16 receptions for 369 yards and five TDs.
With the exception of a 20-19 win at Notre Dame in Week 2, UGA has won all of its games by 21 points or more. The Bulldogs trounced Mississippi State by a 31-3 count in Athens and in a two-week span, they won at Tennessee and at Vandy by a combined score of 96-14.
Georgia is ranked third in the country in scoring defense (11.9 PPG), third in total defense, third against the pass and sixth versus the run. Missouri is the only team that has eclipsed the 19-point mark vs. UGA.
South Carolina (6-2 SU, 4-2-2 ATS) is 4-0-1 ATS with four outright victories in five games as an underdog this season. This is its richest ‘dog spot of the season. As previously noted, USC beat Vandy last week thanks to a 121-yard rushing effort from sophomore RB A.J. Turner.
Jake Bentley completed 19-of-29 passes for 174 yards and one TD without an interception. The sophomore signal caller also rushed for 47 yards and a pair of TDs on six attempts vs. Vandy. Bentley has six TD passes without an interception in the last four games. He has thrown for 1,759 yards with a 13/4 TD-INT ratio.
Since WR and special-teams ace Deebo Samuel went down with a season-ending injury in Week 3, sophomore WR Bryan Edwards and junior TE Hayden Hurst have emerged as Bentley’s favorite targets. Edwards has a team-high 35 receptions for 435 yards and one TD, while Hurst has 23 catches for 328 yards and two TDs.
USC’s leading rusher in 2016 was Rico Dowdle, but he sustained a season-ending injury three weeks ago in a 15-9 win at Tennessee. RB A.J. Turner had run for only 60 yards in the first six games, but he has produced 86 yards (and one TD on 14 carries) and 121 yards (and one TD on 15 totes) on the ground in the last two games.
The ‘under’ is 5-3 overall for the Gamecocks, 3-0 in their true road assignments. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 46.5 PPG.
The ‘under’ is 5-3 overall for UGA, 3-1 in its home games. However, the ‘over’ has hit in three consecutive contests for the Bulldogs, who have seen their games average combined scores of 50.0 PPG.
LSU and Alabama will renew their bitter rivalry Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium for an 8:00 p.m. Eastern kickoff on CBS. As of Friday afternoon, most betting shops had the Crimson Tide favored by 21.5 points with a total of 48.5. The Tigers, who have lost six in a row to Alabama since winning 9-6 in Tuscaloosa in a 2011 overtime affair, were +950 on the money line (risk $100 to win $950).
Alabama (8-0 SU, 4-4 ATS) is No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Nick Saban’s team has posted a 5-0 SU record and a 2-3 ATS mark at home this season. The Tide has won seven of its eight games by margins of 17 points or more. They are off a 45-7 win vs. Tennessee as 36.5-point home ‘chalk.’
Alabama completely dominated the Volunteers with a 604-108 edge in total offense. Jalen Hurts completed 13-of-21 passes for 198 yards and one TD without an interception. Damien Harris rushed for a team-best 72 yards and one TD on 13 attempts, while Bo Scarbrough found paydirt with a pair of TD scampers.
For the season, Hurts has connected on 62.9 percent of his passes for 1,223 yards with a 9/1 TD-INT ratio. Hurts can beat you with his legs as well, rushing for 572 yards and six TDs with a 6.8 YPC average. Harris has run for a team-high 697 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 8.6 YPC. Scarbrough has 377 rushing yards, six TDs and a 4.7 YPC average.
Alabama junior WR Calvin Ridley is one of the nation’s best, producing 41 receptions for 523 yards and two TDs.
Alabama is ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense (9.8 PPG), No. 1 in rushing defense, No. 2 in total defense and No. 10 versus the pass. As for the Tide’s offense, it is ranked fifth in scoring with a 43.0 PPG average.
LSU (6-2 SU, 3-4-1 ATS) looked like its season, the first under Ed Orgeron, was about to get flushed down the toilet following an unfathomable 24-21 loss to Troy as a 20.5-point home favorite. Since then, however, LSU has ripped off three straight wins at Florida (17-16), vs. Auburn (27-23) and at Ole Miss (40-24).
Derrius Guice spent a good chunk of September injured, but he’s healthy now. The junior RB shredded the Rebels for 276 rushing yards and one TD on 22 carries. Danny Etling completed 9-of-13 throws for 200 yards and two TDs without an interception in Oxford. Senior RB Darrel Williams had 103 rushing yard at Ole Miss on 22 carries. In addition, he caught four balls for 105 yards.
Etling has completed 60.0 percent of his passes for 1,452 yards with a 9/1 TD-INT ratio. Guice has rushed for 711 yards and six TDs with a 5.7 YPC average, while Williams has 476 rushing yards, five TDs and a 4.7 YPC average. Senior WR D.J. Chark has 22 catches for 535 yards.
Totals have been an overall wash for the Tide (4-4), while the ‘over’ has hit at a 3-2 clip in its home outings. They’ve watched their games average combined scores of 52.8 PPG.
Totals have been an overall wash for LSU (4-4), but the ‘under’ is 2-1 in its three road assignments.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Tennessee (3-5 SU, 2-6 ATS) is a 6.5-point home favorite vs. Southern Miss for a 7:30 p.m. Eastern kick at Neyland Stadium on the SEC Network. The Golden Eagles had won three in a row and five of their last six both SU and ATS until losing 30-12 to UAB as 11.5-point home favorites last week. UT dropped a 29-26 decision at Kentucky last week, but it did take the cash as a four-point road underdog.
-- Mississippi State will play host to UMass at noon Eastern on the SEC Network. The Bulldogs were favored by 28 for most of the week until UMass QB Andrew Ford was downgraded to ‘doubtful’ (neck/head) on Thursday. Once that news hit, the line instantly moved from 28 to 32. The Minutemen have won back-to-back games, including a 30-27 home win over Appalachian St. in overtime last week. They’re 4-1 ATS in their last five games and haven’t been beaten by more than 10 points all year long.
-- Dan Mullen’s team went to Foxboro last season and beat UMass by a 47-35 count. However, Mississippi State failed to cover the spread as a 22.5-point road favorite. Since losing back-to-back games at Georgia (31-3) and at Auburn (49-10), the Bulldogs have responded with three straight wins both SU and ATS. They’re 4-0 ATS as double-digit favorites this season.
-- Kentucky (6-2 SU, 2-6 ATS) will play host to Ole Miss at Kroger Field on the SEC Network at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. The Wildcats have failed to cover the number in four consecutive contests. They were listed as 3.5-point favorites as of late Friday afternoon, with the total at 63.5. UK has won four of its five home games, but it has limped to a 1-4 ATS record. Ole Miss (3-5 SU, 1-6-1 ATS) is winless in three road games with a 0-2-1 ATS ledger. The Rebels blew a 24-point lead in last week’s 38-37 home loss to Arkansas. Ole Miss juco transfer QB Jordan Ta’amu played well in his first career start at the FBS level vs. the Razorbacks. Ta’amu hit 20-of-30 pass attempts for 368 yards with one interception.
-- The ‘over’ has cashed in five straight games for the Rebels to improve to 7-1 overall.
-- Arkansas (3-5 SU, 2-5-1 ATS) is listed as a 23.5-point home favorite vs. Coastal Carolina, which comes to Fayetteville with a 1-7 SU record and a 2-6 ATS mark.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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