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Saturday's Tip Sheet



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Editor's Note: Brian Edwards is off to a 6-2 start in college football, so don't miss out on his next set of winners in his Saturday pick package!

**Oklahoma at Tennessee**

-- As of early Thursday afternoon, most betting shops had Oklahoma (1-0 straight up, 1-0 against the spread) installed as a 1.5-point favorite with a total of 63.

-- Tennessee covered the number in last week's 59-30 win over Bowling Green as a 21.5-point home favorite. Joshua Dobbs threw for 205 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, and he also rushed for 89 yards and one score. Dobbs's 18-yard TD scamper early in the fourth quarter put the Volunteers ahead of the number (56-30) for the first time. Alvin Kamara, the juco transfer who began his career at Alabama, exploded in his Neyland Stadium debut. Kamara rushed 15 times for 144 yards and two TDs, while Jalen Hurd ran for 123 yards and three TDs on 23 carries.

-- Tennessee's personnel issues took another hit Wednesday when the school announced that junior DT Danny O'Brien would not play Saturday due to a suspension for a violation of team rules. O'Brien had 23 tackles and one sack in 12 starts last year. O'Brien joins senior starting safety LaDarrell McNeil (76 tackles, two interceptions in 2014), starting OG Marcus Jackson (done for the season) and WR Jason Croom among those that'll be missing vs. OU. Croom, who had 21 receptions for 305 yards and four TDs last season, remains out with a knee injury. On the bright side for the Vols, Pig Howard will return to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension. Howard had team-highs in catches (54) and receiving yards (618) last season. He also rushed 15 times for 96 yards and a pair of TDs.

-- Tennessee is now 13-13 under Butch Jones. Therefore, this game offers a chance for UT to turn the corner literally in terms of becoming a winner on Jones's watch. Most important, however, is for the Vols to win their first big game in nearly a decade. Remember, this program hasn't won more than seven games in a season since 2007.

-- Oklahoma captured a 41-3 win over Akron as a 31-point home favorite in its season opener last weekend in Norman. Baker Mayfield, the transfer QB from Texas Tech, enjoyed a sensational debut for the Sooners. Mayfield connected on 23-of-33 throws for 388 yards and three TDs without an interception. Joe Mixon had three receptions for 115 yards and one TD, while RB Samaje Perine rushed for only 33 yards and one TD on 11 carries. The OU defense limited the Zips to merely 10 first downs and 226 yards of total offense.

-- After its worst season in more than a decade, Bob Stoops figured he needed to make changes this past offseason. That's what an 8-5 record and humiliating losses will force on a program. The Sooners dealt with those in 2014, getting run out of Memorial Stadium by Baylor in a 48-14 clubbing. Then at the Russell Athletic Bowl, Clemson trashed OU by a 40-6 count.

-- I thought Stoops made the third-best assistant hire of the offseason when he was able to lure East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley away from the Pirates. Riley was the OC at ECU for five years, running his 'Air-Raid' attack with great success as QB Shane Carden and WR Justin Hardy obliterated the school record books. Riley's hire was third behind Auburn DC Will Muschamp and Texas A&M DC John Chavis (in that order).

-- It was clear in the opener that OU is going to attack more with the passing game. When the Sooners do go to the ground game, however, they'll have one of the nation's top backs despite his pedestrian numbers from last week. As a true freshman in 2014, Perine earned third-team All-American honors by rushing for 1,713 yards. Perine started only eight games, yet averaged 6.5 yards per carry and ran for 21 TDs.

-- When these storied programs collided in Norman last year, OU won a 34-10 decision and took the money as a 20.5-point home 'chalk.' Hurd ran for 97 yards on 14 carries in the losing effort. With UT trailing 27-10 and in the red zone early in the fourth quarter, Julian Wilson intercepted a Justin Worley throw and turned into a 100-yard pick-six to put the game on ice.

-- Tennessee has been a home underdog four times under Jones, producing a 3-1 spread record and one outright victory. The Vols beat then 11th-ranked South Carolina 23-21 on a last-second field goal that prevented the Gamecocks from winning the SEC East during an 11-win campaign.

-- Since 2008, Oklahoma owns a 16-13 spread record in 29 games as a road favorite.

-- ESPN will have the broadcast at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

**Kentucky at South Carolina**

-- As of Thursday afternoon, most books had South Carolina (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) listed as an eight-point home favorite for its SEC opener vs. Kentucky. The total was 56 at most spots. UK is +270 on the money line (risk $100 to win $270).

-- Kentucky (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) raced out to a 21-0 lead and led 33-10 late in the third quarter of its season opener vs. UL-Lafayette last Saturday in Lexington. But the Ragin' Cajuns wouldn't go away, scoring 23 unanswered points, including a pair of two-point conversions, to pull even midway through the final stanza. UK needed a 12-yard TD run from Mikel Horton with 57 ticks remaining to pull out a 40-33 victory as a 17-point home favorite.

-- Kentucky QB Patrick Towles completed 16-of-34 passes for 257 yards and three TDs with one interception. Stanley 'Boom' Williams rushed for 135 yards and one TD on 10 carries, taking his first tote the distance of 75 yards on the game's first play from scrimmage. Garrett Johnson, a true sophomore WR, had a team-best five receptions for 85 yards and one TD.

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-- South Carolina was fortunate to win its opener by a 17-13 count over North Carolina as a 2.5-point favorite in Charlotte. Junior LB Skai Moore had a pair of interceptions in the end zone, including one late in the fourth quarter on fourth and goal to help lift his team into the win column. Shon Carson gave the Gamecocks their first lead of the game when he scampered off right tackle untouched for a 48-yard TD run with 12:35 left in the fourth quarter.

-- South Carolina third-year sophomore QB Connor Mitch was up and down in the first start of his career. He demonstrated speed and elusiveness with several nice scramble and he finished the night with 44 rushing yards on 10 carries. Mitch has a strong arm but clearly needs to improve his decision making, which should come with more reps. He was victimized by a few drops, completing only 9-of-22 passes for 122 yards and one TD without an interception. Pharoh Cooper had three catches for 45 yards and one TD, while also rushing four times for 20 yards. Senior RB Brandon Wilds ran 51 yards on 14 totes and also had four receptions for 44 yards.

-- As a home favorite during Steve Spurrier's 11-year tenure, South Carolina owns a 27-24 spread record. However, we should note that the Gamecocks limped to a 1-5 ATS mark in six such spots last season.

-- Kentucky has compiled a 4-5 spread record in nine games as a road underdog on Mark Stoops's watch.

-- Since Spurrier arrived in Columbia, South Carolina has won eight of 10 head-to-head meetings against UK. The Gamecocks are 6-4 ATS in those contests, 3-2 ATS in the five games played at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Wildcats picked up both of their wins at home in 2010 and 2014. Trailing 38-24 with less than nine minutes left in last year's game, UK would score 21 unanswered points to pull out a 45-38 triumph as a four-point puppy. Towles threw for 208 yards and one TD without an interception, while the UK defense intercepted Dylan Thompson three times.

-- The 'over' has hit in eight straight meetings between these SEC East rivals.

-- The 'under' has cashed in five straight South Carolina contests dating back to last year. Meanwhile, UK has seen the 'over' hit in four consecutive outings.

-- Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern on The SEC Network.

**LSU at Mississippi State**

-- This is a big revenge game for LSU after getting embarrassed by Mississippi State at Tiger Stadium in a night game last year. The Bulldogs raced out to a 34-10 lead and held off a late LSU charge to secure a 34-29 win as nine-point road underdogs. It was the first time Mississippi State had beaten the Tigers since 1999!

-- Dak Prescott, a Louisiana native who stuck by his verbal commit to Mississippi State when LSU came calling late in the recruiting process, enjoyed his coming-out party in Baton Rouge. Prescott threw for 268 yards and a pair of TD without being intercepted. Also, he ran 22 times for 105 yards and one more score. Josh Robinson rushed for 197 yards and one TD on just 16 totes.

-- As of Thursday afternoon, most spots had LSU favored by 4.5 points with an 'over/under' of 50. Bettors can back the Bulldogs to win outright for a +175 payout (risk $100 to win $175).

-- LSU saw its season opener vs. McNeese State washed away by Mother Nature last weekend. The offense only had one series and was forced to punt after five plays. On the one hand, you can say that LSU isn't bruised or injured and should be fresh this week. On the flip side, the needed reps, especially for QB Brandon Harris, were needed. Now the team must open the year on the road and, lest we forget, Harris's first career start last season at Auburn was a nightmare, ending in a 41-7 loss.

-- Dan Mullen's team spent a month atop the national rankings last year after defeating three consecutive then-Top-10 foes in LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn. Mississippi State won its first nine games before losing 25-20 at Alabama as a 9.5-point road underdog. The Bulldogs saw their hopes of making the College Football Playoff dashed in their regular-season finale, as Ole Miss beat them 31-17 at the Egg Bowl in Oxford. Then at the Orange Bowl, MSU was throttled 49-34 by Ga. Tech as a six-point 'chalk.'

-- Mullen lost talent galore from that team. In fact, MSU returned just four starters on offense and three on defense. In addition, DC Geoff Collins bolted Starkville to take the same position at Florida on Jim McElwain's staff. Therefore, Mullen brought back Manny Diaz, who was DC at MSU before taking the same job at Texas earlier in Mullen's tenure. After getting pink slipped by Mack Brown in Austin after a stunning loss to BYU, Diaz spent last year on Skip Holtz's staff as DC at La. Tech.

-- Mississippi State failed to cover the spread and got all it wanted from Southern Miss in Hattiesburg last weekend. The Bulldogs trailed two different times in the first half and might have found themselves down at intermission if not for a pair of huge special-teams plays. First, after the Golden Eagles took a 3-0 advantage, Brandon Holloway returned the ensuing kickoff back 100 yards for a TD. Then with So. Miss leading 10-3 early in the second quarter, MSU got a blocked punt that set it up with great field position. Prescott would take advantage a few plays later with a five-yard scoring strike to Justin Johnson.

-- Mississippi State would eventually collect a 34-16 win over So. Miss, but it never seriously threatened to cover the number as a 21-point road favorite. Prescott finished with 237 passing yards and two TDs without an interception. The senior signal caller also rushed for 72 yards and one score on eight totes.

-- The MSU defense gave up 413 yards of total offense to the Golden Eagles, who threw for more than 300 yards.

-- The 'over' is 9-2 in the last 11 head-to-head meetings between these SEC West adversaries.

-- Kickoff on ESPN is scheduled for 9:15 p.m. Eastern. The cow bells will be blowing up in Starkville.

  
 
2021 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
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Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 2235
Scott Pritchard + 1475
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Vince Akins + 200
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Kyle Hunter 66 %
Scott Pritchard 61 %
Gary Bart 55 %
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Stephen Nover + 910
Scott Pritchard + 485
Bruce Marshall + 450
Over-Under Leaders
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Kyle Hunter + 2180
Stephen Nover + 1330
Scott Pritchard + 1205
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