SEC Week 4 odds, picks: Texas A&M wins ugly, Georgia and Alabama cruise

Suddenly, Mississippi State at Georgia is a wildly intriguing battle of ranked teams, Vanderbilt hosting Alabama is a little more spicy than originally planned and Texas A&M vs. Arkansas looks like a "loser leaves town" game for the losing coach.

Week 4 in the SEC is upon us, which is when things really get cranked into high gear around the south.

Let's break it down with picks for every Week 4 SEC game.

Record straight up: 25-9 (3-5 last week)
Record against the spread: 16-8-1 (4-3-1 last week)
*Games without lines are not counted in the ATS record

Main Course

No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Georgia (-5)

Suddenly, the battle of the Bulldogs between the hedges is a matchup of top 20 team after Mississippi State had its way with LSU in Starkville. Things will go differently for Dan Mullen's crew in Athens. Georgia's deep, athletic and experienced defense will slow down Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald, lower the bar for its own offense and establish itself as one of the nation's best. Georgia coach Kirby Smart will unleash a heavy dose of Nick Chubb on the ground and Sony Michel as a multi-purpose back, which will allow true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm to have easy throws within an offense that thrives off play-action. Pick: Georgia Bulldogs (-5)

Strong Cocktails

Texas A&M (-2.5) vs. Arkansas in Arlington, Texas 

  • SportsLine game forecaster
  • Aggies will run "wild"
  • Arkansas' offensive line problems will resurface
  • Pressure gets cranked up on Bret Bielema

Arkansas hasn't topped Texas A&M since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012, and that trend will continue following Saturday's matchup in Jerry World. The result won't save Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, but it will crank the temperature of Bret Bielema's seat from hot to scorching because, if you can't beat this Texas A&M team, which one can you beat? Arkansas gave up 195 yards to the multi-dimensional rushing attack of TCU, and allowed the Horned Frogs to control the line of scrimmage. Texas A&M will have similar success with quarterback Kellen Mond and running backs Trayveon Williams, Kendall Bussey and Keith Ford. Pick: Aggies (-2.5)

No. 20 Florida (-3) at Kentucky

Florida has 30 straight wins over Kentucky, and that streak won't be broken Saturday night in Lexington. The Gator front four was strong Saturday afternoon against Tennessee, routinely making its way into the Volunteers' backfield to disrupt plays. Sure, sometimes John Kelly worked magic and something out of nothing, but not enough to get the Vols the win. Cece Jefferson, Jachai Polite and the rest of that crew will live in the Wildcats backfield, force running back Benny Snell and quarterback Stephen Johnson to make quick decisions and dictate the style of the game. Offensively, Feleipe Franks will get a little bit more of the playbook, which will be enough to lead Florida to a very ugly, one-score win. Pick: Gators: (-3)

No. 1 Alabama (-18.5) at Vanderbilt

In a cupcake game, always take the underdog and the points versus Alabama. This isn't a cupcake game, though. Vanderbilt's defense and rushing attack have always been solid under coach Derek Mason, and Kyle Shurmur has brought the final piece of the puzzle together through the air this year to make the Commodores a legitimately good team. Nick Saban knows it and will keep his foot on the gas a little longer than you'd expect. The combination of Jalen Hurts ability on the ground and the stable of Crimson Tide running backs will build a lead that will grow late when Shurmur makes a couple of mistakes in the passing game trying to bring his team back into it. Pick: Crimson Tide (-18.5)

Appetizers

No. 15 Auburn (-19) at Missouri

Lost in the shock of Auburn's relatively close game with Mercer last week was the fact that it actually played pretty well, aside from some fluky fumbles from wide receivers. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham completed 32-of-37 passes for 364 yards, running back Kamryn Pettway rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns and the defense held the Bears to just 246 total yards and 3.67 yards per play. And this Missouri defense is going to stand it its way? Nah. The orange and blue Tigers roll, and put even more pressure on Missouri coach Barry Odom -- who has been in charge of the deconstruction of the once-feared "D-Line Zou." Pick: Auburn Tigers (-19)

Syracuse at No. 25 LSU (-23.5)

Take LSU to win, but don't be surprised if this one is a little closer than expected. Syracuse will hit a couple of big plays to at least keep it interesting, but not enough to legitimately threaten the home-standing Tigers. The Orange won't have an answer for running back Derrius Guice, who will pace his team to a win in the second half. But a couple of bad Tigers' penalties, coupled with big plays off tempo, will do enough to at least keep Syracuse within the number -- even if it's a backdoor cover. Pick: Orange (+23.5)

Louisiana Tech at South Carolina (-8.5)

Louisiana Tech's offense typically is a threat, but not enough to contend for the upset at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks defense held Kentucky to just 4.84 yards per play in a loss last week, and will hover around a similar number against the Bulldogs. The loss of star wide receiver Deebo Samuel hurts, but Bryan Edwards is a potential star, tight end Hayden Hurst is as well and quarterback Jake Bentley will do enough for the Gamecocks to pull away in the second half. Pick: Gamecocks (-8.5)

Side dish

UMass (+28) at Tennessee: The Vols are so over-coached that they're destined to at least make one or two mistakes. That should be enough for the visitors to at least stay within the number. Pick: Minutemen (+28)

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, while also hosting on ESPNU on SiriusXM Radio channel 84, the... Full Bio

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