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Your Guide to SEC Spreads and Hating FPI, Week 6

I could go 5-0 or 0-5 this week very easily.

Thanks to Tennessee scoring as time expired instead of with one second left, which would have given them time to kick the PAT, I missed my prediction last week that Tennessee would cover the spread against Georgia.  As much as I hate to admit it, Vegas is quite competent at what they do.  It is time to move on to this week, which is filled with toss up games.

Auburn at Mississippi State

Winner Margin of Victory
Vegas Auburn 3
FPI Auburn 7
S&P Auburn 1

All three of the predictions above are picking Auburn, but the margin of victory is low enough to where this is still a toss up.  The key to stopping Auburn's offense will be stopping them when they run the ball to the outside.  For the most part, MSU's defense has stopped opposing running attacks when the other team has run right at them, but has struggled with some of the trickier running plays to the outside, which is something Malzahn does well.  Auburn's defense is also much improved from last year, especially with Carl Lawson being healthy.  Auburn only has two interceptions on the year, while MSU only has three, so if one team has an off day and commits an unusual amount of turnovers, that could determine the outcome.  MSU fits my rules (that I've broken the last two weeks) of not betting against a home time that is a slight underdog.  I am still hesitant on this one.

Tennessee at Texas A&M

Winner Margin of Victory
Vegas TAMU 7

I'm on board with Texas A&M as much as anybody at this point, but I do not expect them to win by more than a touchdown.  Tennessee's defense is good enough to keep this a one point possession game.  Before making any bold predictions on this one, I need to know if any of the four starters that Texas A&M had missing last weekend are available, especially with one of them being future first rounder Myles Garrett.  Tennessee's starting runningback is out, but Kamara isn't a huge drop off.

Vanderbilt at Kentucky

Winner Margin of Victory
Vegas UK 3
S&P UK 3

I was very tempted to pick Vanderbilt to upset Kentucky.  However, I haven't seen Kentucky's new quarterback that they have switched to yet.  I'm slightly leaning towards Vanderbilt winning this one.  Kentucky has a few underrated runningbacks, but Vanderbilt has a good run defense when they aren't facing the triple option.

Alabama at Arkansas

Winner Margin of Victory
Vegas Alabama 14
FPI Alabama 14
S&P Alabama 13

This is another one of those games where I expect the favorite to win and the underdog to cover.  If Arkansas's offensive line can block well for Allen they should keep this one entertaining.  This is admittedly a lot to ask.  They have to be able to pass the ball well in this one, because they aren't going to run over Alabama.

Georgia at South Carolina

Winner Margin of Victory
Vegas UGA 7

I disagree with the projection systems on this one.  A one possession Georgia win is a reasonable prediction, but if anything, Georgia should win by more than a touchdown.

The Bottom Line

This pick is going to be a little random because most of these games really are toss ups.  Admittedly, picking against the spread is always a little random.  If Myles Garrett doesn't play, assume I picked Tennessee to cover.  That being said, a Garrett injury would probably move the line.  I'll take Vandy this week.