Week 7 SEC picks, games, odds: Making tough calls on Alabama vs. Texas A&M, LSU vs. Florida
The showdown between the Gators and Tigers in Death Valley highlights Week 7 in the SEC
No. 7 Florida will travel to Death Valley on Saturday night to take on No. 5 LSU in a game that carries enormous SEC Championship and College Football Playoff ramifications. One team will emerge with its first loss of the season, and little margin for error for the remainder of the season.
No. 1 Alabama will head to Kyle Field to take on No. 24 Texas A&M in a must-win game for the Aggies if they want to stay in the SEC West title race. Toppling the Crimson Tide will be easier said than done considering the video game numbers quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been putting up in 2019.
No. 3 Georgia will host South Carolina in the other big game of the week. The Bulldogs caught fire late in the win over Tennessee, and quarterback Jake Fromm is quietly lurking around the Heisman Trophy race.
2019 record straight up: 41-15 (73.2%)
2019 record against the spread: 28-27-1 (50.9%)
No. 7 Florida at No. 5 LSU (-13.5): This will be the toughest test for Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow considering cornerback CJ Henderson returned last week for the Gators and defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga should be back this week. How will he handle it? It won't be pretty, but it won't have to be. The Tigers defense will shut down a mediocre Gators rushing attack and force quarterback Kyle Trask to win with his arm. He won't be able to keep up with Burrow on Saturday night in Death Valley, but he will keep it close enough to stay within the number. Pick: Florida (+13.5)
No. 1 Alabama at No. 24 Texas A&M (+16.5): This seemed like a big test for Alabama prior to the season, but it's not one anymore. In fact, it could be considered a dial-a-score game for the Crimson Tide. The best game Texas A&M has had on the ground this year against a Power 5 opponent was against Arkansas two weeks ago ... when it gained just 89 yards. That's simply atrocious. Alabama will stop the run, take advantage of multiple mistakes from Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond and cover with ease. Pick: Alabama (-16.5)
South Carolina at No. 3 Georgia (-24): The Bulldogs are averaging a whopping 7.9 yards per play and South Carolina's defense has given up 31 plays of 20 or more yards -- 13th in the conference. Flip it around and you'll find a Gamecocks offensive line that is tied for last in the conference in sacks allowed per game at 2.6 going up against a rejuvenated Bulldogs' defense that has been generating a ton of pressure. That's a recipe for disaster for the Gamecocks. Fromm and the Bulldogs will pull away in the second half for an easy cover. Pick: Georgia (-24)
Mississippi State at Tennessee (+7): Brian Maurer will get his second start under center for the Vols, and this time it will pay off with ... get this Tennessee fans ... a win. That's right, a win in an actual college football game. The freshman threw for 250 yards and tossed two touchdowns against Georgia last weekend, and gave the offense a much-needed spark. He'll have success against a Mississippi State pass defense that's giving up 243.4 yards per game through the air. Pick: Tennessee (+7)
Ole Miss at Missouri (-12): It sounds like Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant will play, but will be limited after suffering a knee injury last weekend. Will that matter against Ole Miss? Yep, because the Rebels are good enough offensively to at least keep this game close. Larry Rountree III will break off a couple of big runs that allow the Tigers to pull away late -- but not cover -- in a battle between two underrated rushing teams. Pick: Ole Miss (+12)
Arkansas at Kentucky (-6.5): The Razorbacks will keep Nick Starkel in as its starting quarterback even though Ben Hicks came off the bench and nearly sparked an upset over Texas A&M two weeks ago. Expect coach Chad Morris to have a quick hook if Starkel turns into a pick machine again. Kentucky is expected to start Sawyer Smith under center after turning to backups -- including wide receiver Lynn Bowden -- last time out. Arkansas will win the battle of quarterback futility and Morris will get his first conference win. Pick: Arkansas (+6.5)
UNLV at Vanderbilt (-14.5): The Mountain West has produced some big upsets this year, but it won't happen this week. The Rebels have lost four straight and are ranked 113th in the nation in opponent rushing plays of 20 or more yards with 11. Commodores running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn is about to run wild. Pick: Vanderbilt (-14.5)
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