One team has covered the spread in every game this season against FBS competition, while the other has covered in three consecutive weeks. But do sports bettors have enough confidence in Kentucky and Missouri to back them against a pair of SEC heavyweights?
That’s the question this week, in a schedule highlighted by Kentucky at Georgia and Missouri hosting LSU. The Wildcats have been one of the SEC’s most reliable teams ATS so far this season, covering all four of their outings against FBS programs after their 19-point handling of Florida as 3-point home favorites last week.
Meanwhile there’s Missouri, which after a real scare against Middle Tennessee has covered three straight, most recently a 17-point victory at Vanderbilt as a 13.5-point favorite.
And yet, clearly sportsbooks still have their doubts against both programs: Kentucky opened as a 15-point underdog at No. 1 Georgia, and Missouri opened as a 6.5-point home underdog to an LSU squad that gave up 55 points in an outright defeat at Ole Miss last week. The Tigers were a road favorite in that game, too, and failed to cover in the six-point loss in Oxford.
In fact, both LSU and Georgia—for all their glittering, national championship resumes—have been pretty much garbage against the spread so far this season. The Tigers are 1-3 against FBS competition, hammering Mississippi State in Starkville but losing outright to Florida State and Ole Miss and barely surviving against 18-point underdog Arkansas in Death Valley two weeks ago.
Georgia is one of three SEC teams winless against the spread—the others are moribund Miss State and Vanderbilt—falling to an 0-4 cover rate against FBS foes in a seven-point victory as a 14-point favorite at Auburn.
History certainly does not favor the Wildcats, who have lost to Georgia 13 consecutive times, including 31-13 and 21-0 in the series’ most recent two games in Athens. But this was a 10-point game last season in Lexington, and the Bulldogs in their first SEC home contest struggled to put away a South Carolina team that does not possess Kentucky’s ability to run the ball and control clock.
Missouri meanwhile beat LSU in the teams’ most recent meeting (45-41 in CoMo in 2020), and has a quarterback in Brady Cook potentially capable of exploiting the second-worst pass defense in the SEC.
Given what we’ve seen from Georgia and LSU so far this season, would anyone really be surprised if these games were close? Probably not. And yet, the most sensible play in both contests is probably the total: UNDER 48 for Kentucky at Georgia, and OVER 65.5 for LSU at Missouri.
The former shapes up as a line of scrimmage rock fight, the latter a matchup of two high-powered offenses that have each gone over in three straight.
’Bama Returns to Kyle Field
With Conner Weigman out for the remainder of the season with a foot injury, the Aggies turned to Max Johnson last week against Arkansas, and the LSU transfer was efficient in throwing for 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But he faces a very different challenge against Alabama, which is a 3-point favorite in College Station.
After their open quarterback tryout fiasco against South Florida, the Crimson Tide seem to have found themselves again under Jalen Milroe, who’s led Alabama to consecutive covers at home against Ole Miss and on the road against Mississippi State since regaining the starting job.
The Aggies have covered in three straight games after their debacle at Miami, most recently dispatching 6.5-point underdog Arkansas by 12 on a neutral field in Dallas.
And we’ve seen backup quarterbacks play a major role for the Aggies in this series before. The last time Alabama went to Kyle Field, in 2021, Zach Calzada was pressed into action due to an injury suffered by Texas A&M starter Haynes King.
The unheralded Calzada threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns against top-ranked and 18-point favorite Alabama, and the Aggies won the game on a 28-yard field goal at the buzzer.
The Tide won’t have to worry about Calzada this time around—he’s since transferred to FCS program Incarnate Word. (Which, in retrospect, probably speaks volumes about how big that upset was. The opposing QB, Bryce Young, became the No. 1 overall NFL draft pick.)
But Johnson has a fairly proven track record, having started for the Aggies in close wins over ranked Arkansas and Miami teams a season ago. Texas A&M covered a 4.5-point home spread against the Hurricanes with Johnson at the helm, and pushed as a 2-point favorite over Arkansas on a neutral field.
Player Prop Watch
A few SEC players to watch for potential prop bets, should they be made available:
SEC 3-Pack Week 6
As always, here's our weekly SEC 3-pack!
Kentucky at Georgia, under 48
Here’s the Kentucky game plan between the hedges: give the ball to Ray Davis, and then give it to Ray Davis some more. The Wildcats running back tore through Florida for 280 rushing yards and four touchdowns last week, and figures to be the center of attention again on Saturday.
While the Wildcats have a capable quarterback in N.C. State transfer Devin Leary, Mark Stoops teams win with ball control and defense—just the recipe to keep it close as a double-digit road underdog, and turn this one into a low-scoring slog.
LSU at Missouri OVER 62.5
LSU and Ole Miss combined for 104 points last weekend, obliterating the total of 63.5. The Tigers have now gone OVER the total in every game this season, and quarterback Jayden Daniels has struck for five, four, four and five touchdowns over his past four outings respectively.
Meanwhile Missouri is averaging 10.35 yards per pass attempt, best in the SEC, and Tigers QB Brady Cook trails only Daniels in passing touchdowns. Oh yeah, and Missouri and LSU’s pass defenses rank eighth and 13th in the league, respectively. CoMo is in for more fireworks than July 4.
Florida -18.5 vs. Vanderbilt
The Gators were left seriously reevaluating themselves last week after getting physically beaten down by a Kentucky program they used to dominate. We don’t have much faith in Florida right now, but we’d certainly expect the Gators to show a little pride against Vanderbilt, which has dropped three road games by 16, 17 and 17 points respectively.
While the spread may be a little higher than we’d like to see it given Florida’s offensive challenges, the Gators will under lots of pressure to put in a good showing against a Commodores team that upset them in Nashville last season.