SEC picks, odds, predictions for Week 11: Kentucky at Tennessee is a big one

Picking college football games against the spread is a battle we are all destined to lose at some point. Even the sharpest sharps go cold and those stone-cold locks will break the other way when you are relying on the action of 18-to-22 year-olds exerting themselves physically over a 3-4 hour weekend window. Trends, intimate knowledge of the rosters, schemes and latest news can improve your shot at making winning picks, but sometimes you just have to follow your gut with these things.

Sometimes I'm right. I can also be wrong, of course, but I'm going to be here every Wednesday with picks against the spread for the entire SEC slate. Expect some ATS trends to sway my judgment as much as inside information or the old-fashioned hunch.

Last week: 5-2 | 2016 SEC season: 37-38 (49.3 percent)

Mississippi State at Alabama (-30): The Crimson Tide have won eight straight in the series, and I expect they'll move to 10-0 he season on tby the end of this casual early kickoff in Tuscaloosa. What has to be considered, from a betting perspective, is the margin of victory in the series and the knowledge that Alabama's coaching staff wants to keep this game as short and injury-free as possible. Since 2010, the Tide have defeated Mississippi State by an average of 18.5 points with only one margin clearing this 30-point spread (38-7, 2012). You might have to sweat the cover, but Nick Fitzgerald will get a chance to sneak in the back door against Alabama's reserves. Pick: Bulldogs +30

South Carolina at Florida (-11.5): How, may I ask, is one team favored by two scores in a division contest with an over/under of 36. How, Sway?! How?! Does Florida's offense -- likely going back to Austin Appleby this week -- seem that much stronger than that of South Carolina? Let's compare the two units against Power Five competition this season.

Offense Games vs. Power Five Production
Florida passing 6 9 TDs, 8 INTs
South Carolina passing 7 6 TDs, 3 INTs
Florida rushing 6 7 TDs
South Carolina rushing 7 8 TDs

I don't think there's enough of a difference here to warrant the spread, especially with Florida's defense (its greatest weapon) banged up. These numbers also stretch back to the start of the season, before Jake Bentley took over as the starting quarterback and led South Carolina to three straight wins with six touchdowns and no interceptions. The Gators' secondary will probably break his turnover-free streak, but if those interceptions aren't returned for touchdowns, I would even give the Gamecocks a decent shot to pull the upset. Pick: Gamecocks +11.5

Kentucky at Tennessee (-13.5): Tennessee is getting healthy, and Kentucky is seeing the SEC East slip away. That Austin Peay game next week will allow the Wildcats to become bowl eligible before having to face the Lamar Jackson show at the end of the month, and at some point trying to stop Josh Dobbs and Alvin Kamara just won't be fun anymore. With the SEC East back in play, I expect the Vols to show up with their best performance in weeks. Pick: Vols -13.5

Auburn at Georgia (-10.5): I don't think Auburn will lose, but this might be too many points for the situation. The situation being: 1) Auburn still in play for the SEC West, 2) Auburn being on the road, 3) the Auburn-Georgia rivalry. Beating Kentucky does not give me an abundance of confidence in the Bulldogs, but having the hook on the north side of 10 points is my deal-breaker. If this line drops to 9.5, I consider the Tigers the better option since they've shown the ability to pull away late with explosive plays in the run game. Pick: Bulldogs +10.5

Vanderbilt at Missouri (-3.5): Bet the mortgage on Vanderbilt plus the points against Missouri. The Tigers move with a quick pace on offense but haven't scored more than 21 points against SEC competition since losing 28-27 to Georgia on Sept. 17. That's a bad combination going up against a rock-solid Vanderbilt defense with the ability to control the clock behind Ralph Webb's rushing. Pick: Commodores +3.5

LSU at Arkansas (+7): Body-blow theory? You might consider the physical toll four quarters of popping pads with Alabama might have on this LSU team, now having to go on the road to Fayetteville. The Hogs are refreshed and rejuvenated after beating up Florida last week and, like Alabama, have had the edge against Leonard Fournette in recent meetings. Arkansas not only covers, I think they pull the upset. Pick: Razorbacks +7

Ole Miss at Texas A&M (-11): The absences of Chad Kelly and Trevor Knight will dominate the talk heading into this game, but neither quarterback should be worth more than four points to the spread. Both teams have high-level talent and can still field a competent offensive attack without their signal caller, it's just that the Rebels aren't great at running the ball without Kelly. Texas A&M's rush defense (and Myles Garrett's health) are reasons to be worried about a double-digit cover but I think there's enough weapons -- CHRISTIAN KIRK HAD A DAY -- to run it up in a get-right win. Pick: Aggies -11

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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