SEC Notebook - Week 3
September 14, 2018
By Brian Edwards
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**LSU at Auburn**
-- LSU will travel to The Plains for a battle of unbeaten SEC West contenders. As of Friday afternoon, most betting shops had Auburn (2-0 straight up, 1-1 against the spread) installed as a 10.5-point favorite with a total of 44.5. The Bayou Bengals were +325 on the money line (risk $100 to win $325).
-- LSU (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) came into this year with its lowest season win total since Gerry DiNardo roamed the sidelines prior to the school hiring Nick Saban. Ed Orgeron’s team defied its low expectations at Jerry World on the Sunday night of Week 1 by destroying Miami 33-17 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. The Bayou Bengals raced out to a 33-3 lead and coasted into the win column. The Hurricanes scored 14 fourth-quarter points to hook up gamblers who took the ‘over’ (47.5 pts.). With a 20-3 advantage late in the second quarter, Jacob Phillips intercepted UM quarterback Malik Rosier and turned it into a 45-yard pick-six. After playing a reserve role for three seasons behind Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice, senior RB Nick Brossette took full advantage of his second career start by rushing for 125 yards and two TDs on 22 carries.
-- LSU won a 31-0 decision over SE Louisiana as a 40-point home ‘chalk’ last Saturday at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. Orgeron’s bunch took a 24-0 lead into halftime but struggled to produce points in the final 30 minutes of play. LSU only had a 335-254 advantage in total offense, but its defense produced three turnovers and the offense never gave the ball away. Brossette led the way again with 137 rushing yards on 19 attempts. Joe Burrow, the junior quarterback who arrived in Baton Rouge as a grad transfer from Ohio State over the summer, hasn’t produced the gaudy numbers a lot of SEC QBs are currently sporting. But I’ll say this: Dude looked every bit the part of a signal caller capable of leading this team to big-time success in his first career start that came against a top-10 foe – albeit one we had at No. 18 in the preseason, unlike most others – on national television at one of the nation’s premier venues. In other words, Burrow passed ‘my eye test’ with flying colors. Burrow threw two TD passes without an interception and ran for another score in the win over the Lions.
-- Auburn started the season by defeating Washington 21-16 in a heavyweight slugfest at the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta. The defense stole the show in the second half, giving up yards in bunches between the 20s only to hold the Huskies to merely three points in three deep trips into the red zone. Gus Malzahn’s club took the cash as a 1.5-point favorite and the 37 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 50.5-point total. Jarrett Stidham completed 26-of-36 passes for 273 yards and one TD without an interception. Kam Martin rushed for a team-best 80 yards on 22 carries, while WR Ryan Davis pulled in seven catches for 52 yards. Trailing 16-15 with 6:15 left, JaTarvious Whitlow scored the go-ahead TD on a 10-yard run and the defense did the rest.
-- Auburn failed to cover the enormous 62-point spread in last week’s 63-9 home victory over Alabama State. Stidham was able to clock out early after throwing for 113 yards and one TD without an interception. Whitlow ran for a team-high 122 yards on just 14 attempts, while true freshman Shaun Shivers took 13 totes for 117 yards and one TD. Martin added 40 rushing yards and one TD on seven carries. Another true freshman, WR Anthony Schwartz, caught a 57-yard TD pass from Stidham and had a 23-yard TD run.
-- Auburn owns a mediocre 11-18-1 spread record in 30 games as a home favorite during Malzahn’s six-year tenure.
-- Auburn junior CB Javaris Davis is ‘questionable’ vs. LSU due to an arm injury. Davis started five games as a freshman in 2016, producing 37 tackles, six tackles for loss, seven passes broken up and two interceptions. He had 29 tackles, six PBU, two interceptions, one QB hurry and one TFL last season. WRs Will Hastings and Eli Stove remain out indefinitely.
-- LSU has been a road underdog on Oregeron’s watch just twice, going 2-0 ATS with one outright win at Florida last year.
-- After committing the umpteenth clock-management mistake of his tenure, Les Miles was dismissed as LSU’s head coach one day after losing 18-13 at Auburn two seasons ago. Oregeron has served in that position since then and led LSU to a 27-23 come-from-behind win over AU as a 6.5-point home underdog last season.
-- The home team has five in a row and 16 of the past 18 games in this rivalry.
-- CBS will provide the telecast at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
**Colorado State at Florida**
-- The only good news out of Gainesville this week came on Monday when UF head coach Dan Mullen said that senior DE/LB CeCe Jefferson and junior LB David Reese are expected to make their season debuts Saturday night vs. Colorado State. Reese, a preseason fourth-team All-American in Steele’s mag, garnered second-team All-SEC honors in ’17 when he produced 102 tackles, 8.5 TFL’s, one QB hurry and one interception. Jefferson has started 18 career games, contributing 106 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. Jefferson, a five-star recruit from the previous regime, was suspended for UF’s first two outings and Reese has been recovering from a high-ankle sprain sustained more than a week prior to the season opener.
-- Florida opened the season with a 53-6 win over Charleston Southern as a 43-point home favorite. Third-year sophomore QB Feleipe Franks threw for 219 yards and five TDs without an interception. Van Jefferson, the transfer WR from Ole Miss, had four receptions for 34 yards and two TDs.
-- Florida saw its 31-game winning streak over Kentucky ended last Saturday night at The Swamp, where the Wildcats captured a 27-16 win as 13.5-point road underdogs. Mark Stoops’s club gashed UF’s defense with 303 rushing yards, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Benny Snell stole the show with 175 rushing yards on 27 attempts. QB Terry Wilson connected on 11-of-16 throws for 151 yards and two TDs with one interception. He also had 105 rushing yards and one TD on 10 carries.
-- As of Friday afternoon, most spots had UF listed as a 20-point favorite with a total of 58.
-- Colorado State (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) rallied from a 27-9 deficit in the third quarter to clip Arkansas 34-27 last Saturday in Ft. Collins. The Rams, who won outright as 14-point home underdogs, were staring at an 0-3 record before erupting for 25 unanswered points in the last 18 minutes. RB Izzy Matthews one-yard TD plunge with eight ticks left proved to be the game winner. K.J. Carta Samuels threw for 389 yards and two TDs with one interception. WR Preston Williams, who started his career at Tennessee as a prized recruit, caught 12 balls for 154 yards and two TDs.
-- Prior to its comeback win vs. the Razorbacks, CSU lost 43-34 to Hawaii as a 17-point home favorite and got thumped 45-13 by Colorado in Denver.
-- Carta-Samuels has completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 1,102 yards with an 8/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Williams is his favorite target, hauling in 27 receptions for 391 yards and four TDs.
-- Florida will be without sophomore CB Marco Wilson, who tore his ACL in the first quarter vs. Kentucky. Wilson had started 13 consecutive games since arriving on campus.
-- This is the first meeting between these schools. The Gators haven’t played a Mountain West Conference opponent since defeating Wyoming 32-14 in 2005.
-- Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network.
**Alabama at Ole Miss**
-- As of Friday afternoon, most spots had Alabama (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) listed as a 21-point favorite with a total of 70.5. The Rebels are +1200 on the money line (risk $100 to win $1,200).
-- Alabama has coasted to a pair of dominant wins over Louisville (51-14) in Orlando and at home vs. Arkansas State (57-7). Tua Tagovailoa has thrived in his first two career starting nods, connecting on 71.4 percent of his passes for 455 yards and six TDs without an interception. He’s also run for 46 yards and one TD on nine carries for a 5.1 YPC average. Jerry Jeudy has emerged as his favorite target with eight receptions for 151 yards and four TDs.
-- Alabama is three-deep at the RB position with Najee Harris, Damien Harris and Joshua Jacobs. N-Harris (7.9 YPC) has 165 rushing yards and two TDs on 21 carries, while D-Harris (6.1 YPC) has run for 116 yards on 19 totes. Jacobs has turned 15 touches into 159 all-purpose yards and one rushing TD.
-- Alabama crushed Ole Miss by a 66-3 count as a 30-point home favorite last season at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The 69 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 55.5-point tally. The Crimson Tide led 59-3 with more than 17 minutes remaining. Jalen Hurts ran for 101 yards and one TD on just 10 carries, in addition to throwing for 197 yards and two TDs without an interception.
-- Ole Miss (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) went to Houston for its opener and downed Texas Tech 47-27 as a 2.5-point underdog. The Rebels had to recover from a 38-35 halftime deficit in their home debut vs. Southern Illinois last week, but they did so with authority by outscoring the Salukis 41-3 in the second half.
-- There’s been minimal discussion about former QB and five-star recruit Shea Patterson in Oxford recently, and there’s a good reason for that. His name is Jordan Ta’amu, who has completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 784 yards and seven TDs without an interception.
-- Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown leads the SEC in catches (15) for 251 receiving yards and three TDs, while D.K. Metcalf is in a fifth-place tie for the conference lead in receptions (11) and is also fifth in receiving yards (174). Metcalf has two TD grabs. DaMarkus Lodge missed last week’s win over SIU due to a concussion, but he was upgraded to ‘probable’ earlier this week. All three WRs have bright futures at the next level.
-- Ole Miss RB Scottie Phillips is fourth in the nation in rushing yards (311), third in rushing yards per game (155.5 YPG), tied for fourth in rushing TDs (four) and 15th in YPC average (10.0).
-- Ole Miss went 0-2 ATS in two games as a home underdog during Matt Luke’s first season on the job last year.
-- Both schools have seen the ‘over’ go 2-0 to date.
-- ESPN will have the broadcast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**Missouri at Purdue**
-- Missouri (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) will be looking for revenge in a big-time way Saturday night in West Lafayette. Why, you ask? Well, as most will easily remember, Purdue was right there with Illinois and Rutgers in the conversation for “worst program in the Big Ten” prior to Jeff Brohm’s hire preceding the 2017 campaign. So when Purdue traveled to Columbia in Week 3 last year, the Tigers were seven-point home favorites. All the Boilermakers did was go into Missouri and deal out a 35-3 beatdown.
-- As of Friday afternoon, most books had Missouri installed as a five-point road ‘chalk’ with a total of 65.5. The Boilermakers were +180 to win outright.
-- Missouri has posted home wins over UT-Martin (51-14) and Wyoming (40-13). Senior QB Drew Lock, a first-team All-SEC pick in 2017 when he threw for 3,964 yards with a 44/13 TD-INT ratio, has been nothing short of sensational. He has completed 74.3 percent of his throws for 687 yards and eight TDs without an interception. Lock has also rushed for 56 yards and one TDs on only six attempts.
-- Missouri WR Emanuel Hall is tops in the SEC and second in the nation in receiving yards per game (171.0). He’s in a second-place tie for the SEC lead in both receptions (14) and TD catches (three). Johnathon Johnson has 11 catches for 100 yards and two TDs.
-- Purdue (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) is in desperation mode after losing a pair of home games to Northwestern (31-27) and Eastern Michigan (20-19). The Boilermakers lost to the Eagles on a walk-off field goal as 15-point favorites last week.
-- Purdue RB D.J. Knox will present problems for the Mizzou defense. Knox has rushed for 229 yards and two TDs on 28 attempts for an 8.2 YPC average.
-- QB Elijah Sindelar has found 26-of-44 targets (59.1%) for 283 yards with a 2/3 TD-INT ratio.
-- Missouri is 2-1 ATS in three games as a road favorite since Barry Odom replaced Gary Pinkel as HC. As for Purdue, it lost 28-10 vs. Michigan as an 11-point home underdog last year in its only game as a home ‘dog on Brohm’s watch.
-- This game will kick at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the Big Ten Network.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- BetDSI has Missouri’s Lock installed as the +300 ‘chalk’ to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The next-shortest odds belong to Auburn’s Stidham (+420), Houston DT Ed Oliver (+550), Oregon QB Justin Herbert (+550) and Ohio State DE Nick Bosa (+850). Two other SEC players are among the eight others, including three Clemson defensive linemen not named Austin Bryant), who have odds. They’re Ole Miss OT Greg Little (10/1) and Alabama DE Raekwon Davis (25/1).
-- Six of the 14 players listed with odds to win the Davey O’Brien Award at BetDSI hail from SEC schools. Lock (+340) has the second-shortest odds (behind +280 favorite McKenzie Milton of UCF), while Stidham has +780 odds followed by Alabama’s Tagovailoa (28/1), MSU’s Nick Fitzgerald (31/1), UGA’s Jake Fromm (33/1) and Alabama’s Jalen Hurts (47/1).
-- -BetDSI has Alabama with -485 odds to make the CFP. The other SEC squads on the board include Georgia (+125), Auburn (+615), LSU (+1350), Texas A&M (22/1), Florida (85/1) and Tennessee (120/1).
-- Tennessee will take on UTEP at noon Eastern on the SEC Network. As of early Wednesday, most spots had the Volunteers favored by 30.5 points with a total of 47.5. The Miners were ???? on the money line. UT picked up the first win of Jeremy Pruitt’s tenure last week when it beat East Tennessee State 59-3 as a 37.5-point home favorite.
-- Georgia will play host to Middle Tennessee at 7:15 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. After losing 35-7 at Vanderbilt in its opener, Rick Stockstill’s team bounced back to trounced UT-Martin 61-37 as a 19-point home ‘chalk.’ The 98 combined points catapulted ‘over’ the 46.5-point tally. Senior QB Brent Stockstill threw for 407 yards and five TDs without an interception, while Patrick Smith had five catches for 87 yards and three TDs. During Brent’s dad Rick’s 13-year tenure at MT, it has gone 20-27-1 ATS as a road underdog. I reviewed Georgia’s big win at South Carolina in my Week 2 Rewind. The Bulldogs were 33.5-point home ‘chalk’ as of Friday afternoon, while the total was 56.
-- Mississippi State will take on UL-Lafayette at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network. As of Thursday, most spots had the Bulldogs favored by 33 points with a total of 64. The Ragin’ Cajuns have had two weeks to prepare after beating up on Grambling by a 49-17 count as 13.5-point home favorites in Week 1. They are 25-15 ATS as road underdogs since 2010.
-- South Carolina saw its non-conference home game vs. Marshall postponed due to Hurricane Florence. These teams have different open dates so if neither school makes their conference-championship game, they might make it up on Dec. 1.
-- Texas A&M will host ULM at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network. As of Friday afternoon, the Aggies were favored by 27.5 points and the total was 67. Jimbo Fisher’s squad took Clemson to the wire last week and covered the spread in a 28-26 home loss. I elevated the Aggies to No. 17 in my Power Rankings after the strong showing.
-- Kentucky will be in a vintage letdown scenario when it faces FCS foe Murray State at noon Eastern on the SEC Network. We discussed UK’s win at Florida to snap a 31-game losing streak in the rivalry in my Week 1 Rewind. Star senior RB Benny Snell is fifth in the country in both rushing yards (300) and yards per game (150.0 YPG) with two TDs and a 6.4 YPC average. UK junior LB Kash Daniel is the SEC’s Uno in tackles with 22, and he also has three QB hurries and 0.5 TFL’s.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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