SEC Notebook - Week 10
November 2, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards went 3-0 in MACtion picks on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Brian improved his Week 10 record to 4-0 by cashing with UCF last night. His guaranteed plays are on a 7-1 run (87.5%, +590!) since Oct. 13, so don't miss out on his next pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Texas A&M at Auburn**
-- As of Friday afternoon, most books had Auburn (5-3 straight up, against the spread) installed as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 48.5. The Aggies were +155 on the money line (risk $100 to win $155).
-- Since Texas A&M joined the SEC, the road team has won outright in all six head-to-head confrontations.
-- Gus Malzahn’s team has had two weeks to prepare for this spot after defeating Ole Miss 31-16 as a 4.5-point road ‘chalk’ two weeks ago. The victory stopped the bleeding after back-to-back losses at Mississippi State (23-9) and vs. Tennessee (30-24) but with road games at Georgia and Alabama on the horizon, Malzahn and Auburn need this victory over A&M in the worst way.
-- JaTarvious Whitlow was the catalyst against the Rebels in Oxford, rushing 19 times for 170 yards. Whitlow also had four receptions for 38 yards and one TD. Jarrett Stidham completed 13-of-22 throws for 215 yards and one TD without an interception.
-- Auburn is 2-3 in SEC play and can pull into a third-place tie with the Aggies if it wins Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers are 3-2 SU but an abysmal 1-4 ATS at home this year.
-- Stidham has had a disappointing campaign. His overall numbers don’t necessarily reflect that, as he’s completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 1,714 yards with an 8/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. However, that’s his career-low completing percentage by far. Stidham threw all four of his interceptions in home L’s to LSU (22-21) and Tennessee, and he completed only 50.0 percent of his throws in the loss at MSU.
-- Whitlow has run for a team-high 626 yards and four TDs while averaging 6.3 yards per carry, but he’s listed as ‘questionable’ vs. A&M due to an ankle injury. Starting junior OT Jack Driscoll is also a question mark with a knee injury.
-- Auburn is ranked 13th in the nation in scoring defense, limiting foes to an average of 16.5 PPG. Junior DE Marlon Davidson is one of this unit’s catalysts, but he’s dealing with an ankle sprain that has him listed as ‘questionable.’ Davidson has recorded 35 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one tackle for loss, seven QB hurries, three blocked PAT’s or FGs and two passes broken up. Also, starting CB Jamel Dean is ‘questionable’ with a shoulder injury. Dean has contributed 13 tackles, five PBU, one interception and one TFL.
-- Texas A&M (5-3 SU, 6-2 ATS) has lost two of its three road games while posting a 2-1 spread record. Jimbo Fisher’s team allowed a 10-7 intermission lead to get away in last week’s 28-13 loss at Mississippi State as a three-point underdog. The Aggies couldn’t establish any sort of rushing attack against MSU’s stout defensive line, gaining only 61 yards on 22 carries for an abysmal 2.8 YPC average. Kellen Mond completed only 23-of-46 passes for 232 yards with one TD and one interception. Quartney Davis had six receptions for 59 yards and one TD.
-- Mond has connected on 59.6 percent of his throws for 2,032 yards with an 11/6 TD-INT ratio. He has run for 257 yards and four TDs. Junior RB Trayveon Williams has run for 824 yards and eight TDs, averaging 5.5 YPC. TE Jace Sternberger has 31 receptions for 509 yards and six TDs.
-- Texas A&M is ranked No. 22 in the nation in total defense, fifth versus the run and 29th in scoring ‘D’ (21.5 PPG).
-- When these SEC West adversaries collided in College Station last season, Auburn captured a 42-27 victory as a 14.5-point road favorite. Stidham hit 20-of-27 pass attempts for 268 yards and three TDs without an interception. Darius Slayton had two catches for 99 yards and one TD, while Ryan Davis had seven receptions for 80 yards and one TD. A&M’s Williams ran for 103 yard on 15 carries in the losing effort.
-- The Aggies have seen the ‘under’ hit in four straight games to improve to 5-3 overall, 2-1 in their road assignments. Their games have averaged combined scores of 51.4 PPG.
-- The ‘under’ is 6-2 overall for Auburn, 3-2 in its home games on The Plains. The Tigers have watched their games average combined scores of 44.9 PPG.
-- Kickoff is scheduled for noon Eastern on ESPN.
**South Carolina at Ole Miss**
-- As of Friday afternoon, most books had this SEC showdown listed as a pick ‘em with a total of 68.5 points for ‘over/under’ wagers.
-- South Carolina (4-3 straight up, 3-4 against the spread) improved to 3-3 in SEC play by capturing a 27-24 win over Tennessee this past Saturday. The Volunteers covered the spread as nine-point underdogs, though. The 45 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 53-point total. Parker White’s 25-yard field goal with 5:52 remaining was the difference. Rico Dowdle led the way with 140 rushing yards and one TD on 14 carries. Jake Bentley completed 11-of-16 passes for 152 yards with one TD and one pick. Bryan Edwards hauled in three receptions for 96 yards.
-- Will Muschamp’s team has seen the ‘under’ go 4-1 in its past five games to improve to 4-3 overall. The ‘under’ is 2-0 for the Gamecocks in their road games this year and, going back further, the ‘under’ has been a winner in six straight USC road assignments. South Carolina has seen its games average combined scores of 54.1 points per game. This is the highest total USC has seen all year long. In fact, the Gamecocks have had only one total about 55.5 points. That was the 62.5-point tally for the Missouri game that went over in USC’s 37-35 comeback victory.
-- South Carolina is 1-1 both SU and ATS in two road outings this year, winning 37-14 at Vanderbilt before losing 24-10 at Kentucky.
-- South Carolina announced Friday that it's added a 12th game to replace its suspended Week 3 contest vs. Marshall. The Gamecocks will host Akron on Dec. 1.
-- Ole Miss (5-3 SU, 3-5 ATS) has had two weeks to prepare for this spot. Matt Luke’s team has won outright in three of five home games, going 2-3 ATS. The Rebels are mired in a 1-5 ATS slump. They had won back-to-back games, including their only SEC win at Arkansas (37-33), before losing 31-16 vs. Auburn as five-point home underdogs on Oct. 20.
-- The ‘over’ is 5-3 overall for the Rebels, but the ‘under’ is 3-2 in their home games. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 73.0 points per game. The ‘over’ had hit in three consecutive games for Ole Miss until the 47 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 64-point tally in the loss to Auburn.
-- Ole Miss has an outstanding offense and is deplorable on the other side of the ball. The Rebels are ranked No. 124 in the nation out of 130 FBS teams in total defense, No. 117 in pass defense, No. 111 at defending the run and No. 108 in scoring ‘D’ (34.6 PPG).
-- On the flip side, Ole Miss is ranked fifth in the country in total offense, fourth in passing yards and No. 21 in scoring with its 38.4 PPG average. This unit did take a big hit a few weeks ago when WR D.K. Metcalf went down with a season-ending neck injury. Metcalf had 26 receptions for 569 yards and five TDs.
-- Ole Miss senior QB Jordan Ta’amu still has plenty of weapons around him. Ta’amu has connected on 64.6 percent of his throws for 2,622 yards with a 16/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He’s also run for 296 yards and four TDs. Junior WR A.J. Brown, considered by many to be a future first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, has 60 catches for 805 yards and five TDs. DakMarkus Lodge has caught 40 balls for 550 yards and two TDs. Juco transfer RB Scottie Phillips has rushed for 782 yards and nine TDs while averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
-- These teams haven’t met since USC won a 16-10 decision as a four-point home underdog back in 2009. Spencer Lanning buried three field goals and Stephen Garcia found Patrick DiMarco for a two-yard TD pass to propel the Gamecocks to victory.
-- Ole Miss had won five consecutive head-to-head meetings over USC until 2008 when Steve Spurrier’s squad won 31-24 as a two-point underdog in Oxford. Mike Smelley threw three TD passes to pace the Gamecocks.
-- The SEC Network will provide television coverage at noon Eastern.
**Georgia at Kentucky**
-- The SEC East will be on the line in Lexington at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. CBS will have the telecast. Kentucky will be vying for its first trip to the SEC Championship Game since its inception in 1992.
-- As of Friday afternoon, most spots had Georgia (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS) listed as a nine-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 44.5. The Wildcats were available at +270 odds to win outright (risk $100 to win $270).
-- Kentucky (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS) rallied from a 14-3 fourth-quarter deficit to win on a walk-off TD pass with no time left at Missouri last week. Trailing by 11 with 5:18 remaining, UK’s Lynn Bowden returned a punt 67 yards for a TD to give his team life. When the UK defense got a third-down stop, Kentucky took over at its own 19. The Wildcats drove the length of the field and as time expired on a play from the Mizzou 10, the Tigers were flagged for pass interference. With one untimed down remaining, QB Terry Wilson found TE C.J. Conrad for a two-yard TD pass to lift UK to a 15-14 win as a 7.5-point road underdog.
-- Wilson completed 22-of-31 passes for 267 yards with one TD and one interception. Bowden had 13 receptions for 166 yards, while Benny Snell rushed 19 times for 67 yards. UK’s defense gave up 13 first down to Missouri in the first half, only to hold the Tigers without a FD in the final 30 minutes. UK had a 385-249 advantage in total offense.
-- UK is 5-0 SU and 2-3 ATS at home this year.
-- Mark Stoops’s squad is 3-1 both SU and ATS as an underdog this season. The lone defeat was a bad beat when the ‘Cats lost 20-14 in overtime at Texas A&M as 4.5-point ‘dogs. They are 1-0 ATS as home ‘dogs this year, but they’re just 4-11-2 ATS as home ‘dogs on Stoops’s watch. I’m not sure that bettors should put much stock in that stat, however, since Stoops has –by far – his best team.
-- Kentucky is ranked second in the country in scoring defense, limiting foes to an average of 13.0 PPG. The ‘Cats are No. 10 in total defense, No. 24 at defending the pass and No. 19 in run ‘D.’ Senior DE Josh Allen is the leader of this unit and is on his way to garnering first-team All-American honors. Allen has produced 56 tackles, 10 sacks, 4.5 TFL’s, five forced fumbles, five QB hurries and four PBU.
-- UGA is 2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS in three road assignments.
-- After taking its first loss of the season by a 36-16 count at LSU, Kirby Smart’s team bounced back last week to beat Florida 36-17 as a seven-point favorite in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs played turnover-free football and forced three turnovers. When UF took its first and only lead at 14-13 early in the third quarter, UGA answered with a 12-yard TD pass from Jake Fromm to Jeremiah Holloman. After both teams traded FGs, Fromm found Terry Godwin for a 24-yard scoring strike with 8:39 left to put the Bulldogs ahead 29-17. They’d tack on another score on D’Andre Swift’s 33-yard dash to paydirt.
-- Fromm connected on 17-of-24 throws for 240 yards and three TDs without an interception vs. UF. Swift ran for 104 yards and one TD on 12 attempts.
-- UGA owns a 6-4 spread record as a road favorite during Smart’s three-year tenure.
-- Assuming the total holds at 44.5 points or fewer, it'll be the lowest total both squads have seen this season. UGA’s previous low total was 50, while UK had a total of 45 earlier this season.
-- The ‘under’ is 6-2 overall for UK, 3-2 in its home contests. However, the ‘under’ is on a five-game winning streak for the ‘Cats, who have seen their games average combined scores of 38.6 PPG.
-- The ‘under’ is 4-3-1 overall for UGA, but the ‘over’ is 3-0 in its road outings.
**Missouri at Florida**
-- As of Friday afternoon, most books had Florida (6-2 SU, 6-2 ATS) installed as a six-point home favorite with a total of 57. The Tigers were +190 on the money line.
-- Florida is 3-1 both SU and ATS in four home games this year. In last week’s loss to UGA, third-year redshirt sophomore QB Feleipe Franks missed a wide-open Vann Jefferson on the first play from scrimmage. Trailing 3-0 after UGA got a score on its opening drive, Dan Mullen dialed up a flea-flicker on the first play and Jefferson was 7-8 yards behind the closest defender. Franks overthrew him by at least five yards. He would later throw an interception and fumble at UF’s own 2. In that case, however, the Florida defense produced a seven-play goal-line stand (UGA got a fresh set of downs after a shaky PI call) that was reminiscent of the 49ers’ epic goal-line stand vs. the Bengals in the early 1980s Super Bowl played at the old Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.
-- Florida star cornerback C.J. Henderson was injured in the first quarter vs. UGA and left the game without returning. Nevertheless, he’s ‘probable' vs. Mizzou and is expected to start. Starting safety Brad Stewart, who had the game-clinching pick-six in the win over LSU, was suspended and didn’t play against Georgia. Stewart is listed as ‘probable' vs. Missouri, but I’m not sure bettors can trust that because Mullen told the media he’d play last week after being asked about his status.
-- Missouri (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS) remained winless in four SEC games when UK rallied to victory in Columbia last week. Drew Lock completed 15-of-27 passes for 165 yards. The senior signal caller has a 16/6 TD-INT ratio for the season, but he’s only thrown one TD pass compared to five picks against conference opponents.
-- Even though he’s missed five straight games, Emanuel Hall remains Mizzou’s WR leader with 18 receptions for 430 yards and three TDs. The third-team All-SEC selection last year has been dealing with a groin injury and the recent passing of his father. The Tigers are optimistic that he can play this week, although he’s listed as ‘questionable.’
-- Barry Odom’s club is 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS on the road. As a road underdog during his three-year tenure, Missouri has limped to a 2-6 ATS record.
-- Odom is 0-7 in seven games against ranked teams. Lock is 0-9 when starting against a ranked foe. Since the Gators are ranked, both guys get a chance to remove the donut from those resumes.
-- The ‘over’ is 2-0-1 for UF in its past three games, 4-3-1 overall. Totals have been a wash for the Gators at home (2-2). They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 51.2 PPG.
-- The ‘over’ is 5-2-1 overall for the Tigers, but they’ve seen the ‘under’ cash in two of their past three games. Missouri’s games have averaged combined scores of 64.4 PPG.
-- Kickoff is slated for 4:00 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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