Week 5 SEC picks, games, odds: Can Alabama, Auburn keep things going in key SEC West showdowns?
It's a border war between the Alabama and Mississippi schools in Week 5
No. 2 Alabama will host Ole Miss and No. 7 Auburn will host Mississippi State in a full afternoon of border wars in the SEC. The two key division matchups headline a fun week in the SEC as we wrap up September and head full steam into October.
What will happen his these key games and the rest of the conference? Let's break the matchups down and make picks straight up and against the spread.
2019 record straight up: 34-11 (75.6%)
2019 record against the spread: 25-19-1 (56.7%)
Mississippi State at No. 7 Auburn (-10.5): The Tigers offense is one-dimensional, but its defense is not. They have given up just 89.5 yards per game on the ground, including 56 last weekend against Texas A&M. The game plan in this one will be much like it was last week, but will be a bit more challenging. Bulldogs running back Kylin Hill leads the nation in running plays of 10 or more yards with 20, and is one of the most reliable backs in the country. In the end, expect the Tigers to shut down the run enough to force either Garrett Shrader or Tommy Stevens to win through the air. That won't happen. The Tigers will stay conservative on the ground, keep things simple for quarterback Bo Nix and pull away in the fourth quarter for a cover. Pick: Auburn (-10.5)
Ole Miss at No. 2 Alabama (-38): If you didn't know based on the line, let's clear this up prior to kickoff -- this is a dial-a-score game for the Crimson Tide and coach Nick Saban. Ole Miss' quarterback situation is up in the air after the rib injury to Matt Corral and late-game work of John Rhys Plumlee, and its pass defense ranks 114th in the country (288.5 yards per game). Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will hit up those great receivers led by Jerry Jeudy and build a big first-half lead. Then the intrigue will come. The running game is averaging just 110.5 yards per game against Power Five opponents and Saban will work out that quite a bit in the second half in preparation for the meat of the SEC schedule. Give me the Tide and give me a late cover. Pick: Alabama (-38)
No. 23 Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (+23.5): The Aggies have an issue at running back due in part to Jashaun Corbin's season-ending injury, but also an offensive line that hasn't been able to find consistency. They've averaged 54.5 yards per game in losses to Clemson and Auburn, the latter coming after Corbin's injury. Luckily for coach Jimbo Fisher, the Razorbacks have given up 158.2 rushing yards per game. Fisher and Co. will dig the hole even deeper in Arlington, Texas, for an Arkansas team led by second-year coach Chad Morris that has shown signs of consistent regression. Pick: Texas A&M (-23.5)
Kentucky at South Carolina (-3): The Wildcats fell at Mississippi State last week because Hill and the rest of the Bulldogs rushing attack ran over, around and through them. That won't be an issue against a South Carolina team that managed just 16 total rushing yards last weekend in a loss to Missouri. It will come down to a battle of quarterbacks, and I'll side with Wildcats reserve Sawyer Smith and his group of talented receivers over Gamecocks backup Ryan Hilinski and his stars. Pick: Kentucky (+3)
Northern Illinois at Vanderbilt (-6.5): The Commodores have star running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn and the Huskies have given up 160.7 rushing yards per game (79th in the country), including 238 to Nebraska last time out. They'll control the ball, limit possessions for Huskies quarterback Ross Bowers and score late in the fourth quarter to get a cover. Pick: Vanderbilt (-6.5)
Towson at No. 9 Florida (-36.5): This line has jumped by nearly a touchdown since Sunday, and it probably should have jumped more. Yes, Gators quarterback Kyle Trask is still getting his feet wet after Feleipe Franks's season-ending injury. But he also threw for 293 yards, two touchdowns and averaged 10.5 yards per attempt last week in a win over Tennessee. Trask will stay in the game for a long time in order to gain some confidence and take in more of the playbook in a big win in The Swamp. Pick: Florida (-36.5)
So what picks can you make with confidence in Week 5? And which national title contender gets a huge scare? Visit SportsLine to see which teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $5,300 in profit over the past four seasons.
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