Week 10 is the biggest week in SEC football in 2018, and it’s not even close. No. 1 Alabama will travel to Death Valley to take on No. 3 LSU in a game in which, if the Crimson Tide prevails, will lock up the SEC West title. Earlier in the day, No. 6 Georgia will battle No. 9 Kentucky in Lexington in a game that will determine the SEC East champion.
The two headliners can both be seen on the SEC on CBS starting at 3:30 p.m., and headline a fun week in the SEC. Let’s make some picks.
Record straight up: 61-18 (3-2 last week)
Record against the spread: 26-34-1 (2-3 last week)
*Games without lines are not counted in the ATS record
No. 1 Alabama at No. 3 LSU (+14.5)
- Burrow time
- Tua vs. Greedy
Let’s be honest about what this game actually is — a battle of quarterbacks. Both defenses are lights out, but defense doesn’t win championships anymore. “Just enough” defense wins championships. Alabama has enough defense to slow down Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow, who’s completing just 53.8 percent of his passes, tossed only six touchdowns and three interceptions. Simply put, he’s a game-manager. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, on the other hand, is a difference-maker. The super-sophomore has tossed 25 touchdowns — 13 in the first quarter of games — and is on pace to obliterate 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield’s single-season passing efficiency record. Tagovailoa will have enough success against Greedy Williams and the Tigers secondary to put Burrow in a spot where he has to throw to win, and he’s simply not capable of doing that. Pick: Alabama (-14.5)
No. 6 Georgia at No. 9 Kentucky (+9)
- Fromm back
- Wilson vs. Bulldogs defense
- Game of the century
It will be a wild and raucous atmosphere in Lexington for the biggest home game in a generation — and perhaps all time. The Wildcats defense is solid, but it’s hard to ignore how comfortable Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm looked against a very good Florida defense a week ago. Even though the Bulldogs defense hasn’t been great when compared to what it has been in year’s past, Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson won’t stand out as somebody they have to stop through the air during game preparation. As a result, the Bulldogs will load up against the run, slow down Benny Snell and force Wilson to make enough mistakes to take the SEC East crown and pull away late to get the cover. Pick: Georgia (-9)
No. 20 Texas A&M at Auburn (-4)
- Aggies rebound
- Tigers fresh
- All about the running game
If you consider Auburn is likely getting around three points for being at home, this is pretty close to a pick ’em. Pick Texas A&M. The run defense is the best in the SEC at 89.25 yards allowed per game, and Auburn hasn’t topped the 150-yard mark in four of its last five games. If the Tigers can’t run, quarterback Jarrett Stidham has panicked in the pocket, not even seen open wide receivers downfield and made enough mistakes to have some calling for Malik Willis under center. The defense will keep the Tigers in the game, but Aggies running back Trayveon Williams will have a few big plays in the fourth quarter against a worn down defense to get the outright win. Pick: Texas A&M (+4)
South Carolina at Ole Miss (PK)
- Bentley back?
- Ta’amu vs. Gamecocks D
- Let’s get weird
How fun will this be? A pick ’em game in Oxford with the Rebels coming off a bye week to try to find something — anything — defensively to keep them in games. Will it matter, though? The Gamecocks are last in the SEC in plays of 30 or more yards with 10, while the Rebels lead the conference with 41. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu will have enough success against an average South Carolina defense to force Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley into too many passing situations. Because of that, give me one or two big plays in the fourth to give Ole Miss the big home win. Pick: Ole Miss (PK)
Missouri at No. 11 Florida (-6)
- Strength vs. strength
- Slowing down running game
The Gators are on hangover alert after losing the rivalry game to Georgia last week and a shot at the SEC East title. It’s time to bounce back in the Swamp against a Tigers team that lost on a walk-off touchdown at home last weekend. This one will be sloppy, which means the running game will decide it. The Gators are averaging 5.07 yards per carry in 2018, but the Tigers have been stout against the run — especially last week when they held Benny Snell to 67 rushing yards. The Gators will find a way to get the job done late, and that six-point spread allows a touchdown to get us a cover. Pick: Florida (-6)
Charlotte at Tennessee (-21)
- Get right Guarantano
- 49ers offense struggling
- Vols need it
After losing to South Carolina last week, the Vols have to get right against Charlotte to get ready for the stretch run to bowl eligibility. Volunteers quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has been money on third down, completing 66.2 percent of his passes on third downs. That suggests that he’s building confidence, and will continue to do that on Saturday. Charlotte is 118th in the nation in yards per play at 4.58, and will be lucky to get to four yards per play against the Vols. This one gets ugly. Pick: Tennessee (-21)
Louisiana Tech at No. 18 Mississippi State (-24)
- Fitz back?
- Bulldogs pass defense
This is your all-time trap game, with Mississippi State coming off a big home win over Texas A&M and a road trip to Alabama looming next week. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was money through the air last week against the Aggies, but is squaring off against a Bulldogs pass defense that’s fourth in Conference USA in defensive passing efficiency (113.98). Fitzgerald is last in the SEC in passing efficiency among qualifying quarterbacks (102.70). In the end, Fitzgerald will have enough success on the ground to get the win, but have a good enough day through the air to earn a cover. Pick: Louisiana Tech (+24)
What college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 10? And what contender will get stunned by a huge underdog? Visit SportsLine to see which teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,000 in profit over the past three seasons.
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