SEC Week 8 odds, picks, predictions: Tide roll, LSU steps up in big game for Orgeron
Previews and against-the-spread predictions for every SEC college football game in Week 8
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 18-22 year-olds exerting themselves physically over a 3-to-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: 4-2 | 2016 season: 24-33 (42.1 percent)
South Carolina (-20) vs. UMass: UMass played Florida and Mississippi State tough, covering the spread in both games. I don't trust a South Carolina team with only eight total touchdowns all year to cover a 20-point spread. The Gamecocks will win, but 24-14 sounds closer to the final than 28-7. Pick: Minutemen +20
Texas A&M (+19.5) at Alabama: Taking Texas A&M because I just really hope it's close. Another dominating Tide performance would be a huge letdown for A&M, a team that has felt confident going into this game every year since Manziel's memorable upset, only to be pushed back by the Tide again and again. But if the Aggies are going to cover the number or threaten to win, they've got to play better against the interior run game than they did against Tennessee. The Vols ran right between Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall with some success, and Alabama has proven it has backs for days ready to on lean on you in the ground game. Pick: Aggies +19.5
Missouri (-6.5) vs. Middle Tennessee: Middle Tennessee is coming off an exhausting overtime loss against Western Kentucky. It's going to be a tough spot for the Blue Raiders against a Missouri team that's equally desperate for a bounce-back after failing to get anything going against Florida's defense. Drew Lock has had some tough spots this season against good secondaries. The step back in competition will be a welcome sight and I think Lock will have one of the better games he'll play this year. Pick: Tigers -6.5
Arkansas at Auburn (-10): Auburn, coming off a bye, has been on a roll since Gus Malzahn handed the play-calling duties to Rhett Lashlee, and Sean White has done a good job of leading the offense recently. Malzahn's offensive roots make that an intriguing story to track moving forward, but the tale here is going to be what Auburn's defense can do in the trenches against Arkansas. The Razorbacks have been through the ringer with games against Texas A&M, Alabama and Ole Miss in the last four weeks. Can that Hogs offensive line keep Austin Allen upright? These two teams have played some classics, but I think Auburn's got more in the tank and wins by two scores. Pick: Auburn -10
Mississippi State (-3) at Kentucky: Mississippi State had a tough trip back from Provo after losing in overtime to a good BYU team. Kentucky probably needs to win two of the next three (Mississippi State, Missouri, Georgia) in order to make a bowl game in a pivotal year for Mark Stoops. The Bulldogs, at 2-4, are just as desperate, but that 1-5 record against the spread has me siding with the home dog. Pick: Wildcats +3
Ole Miss at LSU (-5.5): I think "Ed Orgeron facing his old school" is a storyline that doesn't have much of an impact on Saturday night's make-or-break game in Tiger Stadium. LSU is expecting to be as healthy along the offensive line as its been since Week 3, and Leonard Fournette should have an impact as well. Ole Miss' defense has been more beached whale than landshark recently, gambling up front and getting burned. Big win for Coach O, and I think they cover the number too. Pick: LSU -5.5
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