After two horrific weeks that saw The Six Pack go 1-10-1, we rallied in a major way last week, posting a mark of 5-1. That alone wasn’t enough to get us back on the winning side of the ledger in 2018, but 29-30-1 looks a hell of a lot better than the alternative right now. Plus, I’m confident that last week was just the beginning of the course correction for #TheProcess. Yep, nothing but winning picks* coming from here on out.
As for the slate available to us this week, while there aren’t nearly as many huge games that will shake the foundation of the rankings, that doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be had out there. And a lot of that value can be found in some of this week’s SEC matchups. We’ll start with the juggernaut that is Alabama as the Tide return home to take on Mississippi State.
* They’re all winners if you ignore the losers
Games of the Week
No. 16 Mississippi State (+24) at No. 1 Alabama: As I wrote earlier this week, Alabama is doing an excellent job of making the College Football Playoff irrelevant. We spend so much time discussing which teams will qualify for the playoff, all while doing our best to ignore that voice in the back of our minds yelling, “It won’t matter, they’re all just gonna lose to Bama anyway.” But just because Alabama isn’t likely to lose any time soon, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to cover the spread.
The Tide may be 9-0 straight up, but they’re only 6-3 ATS, including 3-2 at home. And I expect they’ll drop to 6-4 after this weekend because this line is too big. Like LSU, I don’t think Mississippi State has an offense that’s strong enough to give it a realistic shot of beating Alabama, but it has a terrific defense. It’s a defense that’s better than that of LSU, honestly, though not by much. I’m of the opinion that Alabama should be favored by about 20 points in this matchup, but the fact it’s Bama, and it just killed LSU had the books, set it at 24 in anticipation of how the public perceives it. This week, I’m looking to take advantage of that public perception. Alabama 31, Mississippi State 10
No. 24 Auburn (+14.5) at No. 5 Georgia: This is another situation where I’m relying on public perception of teams to help find value. Georgia is a better team than Auburn, and Auburn has mostly been a disappointment this season. Still, this is an Auburn team that boasts one of the best defenses in the country that will provide plenty of obstacles for Georgiah. I also think that a young Georgia team like this one could be in for a bit of a letdown following a big win over Kentucky last week.
All in all, I’m expecting this to be a lower-scoring affair, but I believe the total is a bit too low to feel comfortable taking the under. Instead, I’ll rely on getting more than two touchdowns in a game I don’t expect to get out of hand. Georgia 31, Auburn 21
Lock of the Week
Ole Miss (+12) at Texas A&M: Another underdog getting too many points. I know that the Aggies were impressive in losses to Clemson and Alabama, but were they really impressive, or did they do better than we expected? The Aggies come into this game having lost two straight. They’ll be happy to return home after playing three straight conference games on the road, but even if they should be favored over Ole Miss, they shouldn’t be favored by this much — particularly when you take into consideration that the Aggies defense has shown a knack for giving up big plays.
Texas A&M has allowed 14 plays of 40 yards or more this season, which ranks last in the SEC and 103rd in the country. That’s not what you want to see when you’re dealing with an Ole Miss offense that’s proven to be one of the most explosive offenses in the country. The only defenses to slow this Rebels offense down in 2018 have been Alabama, LSU and Auburn. Texas A&M’s defense isn’t bad, but it’s not on the level of those three. Texas A&M 38, Ole Miss 31
Under of the Week
Miami at Georgia Tech (Under 55.5): I want no part of the spread in this game, but I see plenty of value on the total. Miami’s offense is a mess and has been for the entire season save for two games against Toledo and FIU. There’s a chance the Georgia Tech defense could be just what it needs to get its act together, but even if it does, I have faith in Miami to stymie this Georgia Tech attack. For all the problems Miami has had this season, it’s defense is consistent. When it comes to disruption and getting into your opponent’s backfield, there is no defense better than this Hurricanes unit. Plus, an option offense that can’t keep the defense out of the backfield is usually in line for a tough afternoon. So if you want to take Miami and the points, I don’t think it’s an awful play, but I think the under is safer. Miami 28, Georgia Tech 17
Big Ten West Under of the Week
Northwestern at No. 21 Iowa (Under 44.5): If Northwestern wins this game, the Big Ten West is virtually settled. The Wildcats would not only have a lead on the standings, but they’d have the tie-breaker advantage of all their biggest challengers in the division as they’ve already beaten Wisconsin and Purdue. They would only need one win between games against Minnesota and Illinois to clinch. So why is Iowa favored by 10.5 points in this one? The line kind of stinks, and even if I believe it’s a bit too presumptuous about Iowa, I’d rather stay away from it. Thankfully, we have the total to bet as well, and I like this under. It’s going to be cold and windy in Iowa City on Saturday afternoon, and when you combine that with Iowa’s deliberate nature on offense and Northwestern’s general inefficiency, it makes for a situation that shouldn’t see many points scored. Iowa 24, Northwestern 14
Bedlam of the Week
Oklahoma State (+20.5) at No. 6 Oklahoma: I’m sorry, but I cannot abide by this Oklahoma team being favored by three touchdowns over its biggest rival. Not with a defense that has allowed 27.9 points per game on the season and 32.5 points per game in conference play. I love underdogs as it is in rivalry games, and this is just too many points to trust the Sooners to cover. Not against teams with a pulse, anyway, and while the Cowboys are only 5-4, they’re a better team than their record suggests. Oklahoma 49, Oklahoma State 35
SportsLine Bonus Pick of the Week
No. 10 Ohio State at No. 18 Michigan State: The Spartans host Ohio State this weekend in a divisional clash. Although they’re on the road, the Buckeyes are favored by 3.5 points with the total set at 52.5. I have a strong play available for this game over at SportsLine.
Game(s) of the Week
Lock of the Week
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