It’s been the best bet in the SEC over the past two weeks: LSU and the over.
The Tigers have absolutely crushed the total in each of their past two outings, combing with Mississippi to put up 104 points against a 63.5-point total on Sept. 30, and then teaming with Missouri to score 88 against a 62.5-point total last weekend. LSU's last two outings stand as the two highest-scoring games by SEC teams this season against FBS competition—well outdistancing the third-place contest, which was when Vanderbilt and UNLV combined for 77 points on Sept. 16.
With a terrible defense, LSU is forced to put up tons of points each weekend to stay in games. The Tigers lead the league in scoring offense at 44.83 points per game, and quarterback Jayden Daniels is having a monster season—his 2,391 yards of total offense is 451 yards better than anyone else to this point, and the 23 touchdowns he’s accounted for are seven clear of the rest of the field. LSU has gone over the total in all five games against FBS foes this season, but has clearly taken things to a different level the past two weeks.
The total for LSU’s home game against Auburn on Saturday opened at 63.5, which was 10.5 points higher than any other total for an SEC game this weekend. But the Plainsmen do not present the type of potent offense that’s challenged LSU the past two weeks—they’ve scored 44 total points against power-conference competition this season, five fewer than LSU put up last week alone. Auburn also has a pretty good defense, allowing opponents an average of just 18.2 points per game, and limiting Georgia to 27 in a loss two weeks ago.
This Saturday night contest in Death Valley is really a clash of opposites: LSU trying to maintain its season-long trend of going over the total, against an Auburn team that’s pushed once and gone under twice in its last three games. If the LSU defense gets strafed again, this time by an Auburn offense that’s proven rather anemic to this point, then bettors should brace for lots of high-scoring rollercoaster rides the rest of the way.
Missouri’s Bad Beat
Bettors who backed the over in the LSU-Missouri game last week were certainly happy, given that the teams eclipsed the total of 62.5 with nearly eight minutes remaining. But bettors who wagered on Mizzou to cover the +6.5 at home? Congratulations, you took the worst bad beat in the SEC so far this season.
Missouri led 39-35 with 5:40 to go after Cody Schrader rushed in for a 1-yard touchdown. But LSU needed just five plays to forge back ahead, with Daniels gaining 31 on a keeper and then hitting Malik Nabers for a 29-yard score. With 2:58 left, LSU led 42-39—but Missouri was still well within the window of covering, and had the ball.
Mizzou drove to midfield before turning the ball over on downs. The Missouri defense held, forcing only the third LSU punt of the afternoon. Mizzou had the ball again, this time with 45 seconds remaining—and quarterback Brady Cook threw an interception that LSU’s Major Burns returned for a touchdown with 34 ticks left on the clock. The final 10-point margin allowed LSU to beat the spread for the first time in three weeks, and left Missouri bettors wondering what might have been.
Georgia Beats the Spread
Stop the presses: Georgia has at last beaten a spread!
It took five games against FBS opponents, but the Bulldogs finally covered, dominating Kentucky 51-13 last Saturday as 15-point favorites between the hedges. Georgia previously had failed to cover 44.5 against Ball State (won by 42), failed to cover 27.5 against South Carolina (won by 10), failed to cover 41 against UAB (won by 29) and failed to cover 14 at Auburn (won by seven). But Saturday, they jumped all over a mistake-prone and penalty-ridden Kentucky team that did not look ready for prime time, and the outcome was never in doubt.
And now the Bulldogs have a chance to cover two in a row when they play at Vanderbilt, which fell to 0-6 against the spread in a 24-point loss at Florida last weekend. It’s a big number: Georgia opened as a 32.5-point favorite, the largest point spread this year for a game involving two SEC teams. The Bulldogs failed to cover the previous high (the 27.5 against South Carolina), while the 24-point loss in the Swamp was Vandy’s largest margin of defeat this season.
That said, it’s really tough to have faith in Vanderbilt covering anything right now, especially given that Georgia fans will comprise half (or more) of the fans in Nashville on Saturday. The Commodores are one of two SEC teams yet to cover a spread against FBS opponents this season—the other is Mississippi State, which this past weekend beat Western Michigan by 13 as a 20.5-point home favorite.
Player Prop Watch
A few SEC players to watch for potential prop bets, should they be made available:
SEC pick 3, Week 7
Alabama -19.5 vs. Arkansas
Alabama is back! But did Alabama really ever leave? Since the home loss to Texas and the dreadful performance/in-game QB competition at South Florida, the Crimson Tide have covered three consecutive games behind old/new quarterback Jalen Milroe, most recently winning by six last week as a 3-point favorite at Texas A&M.
Alabama’s defense is gelling at the right time and presents a real problem for Arkansas, which enters on a four-game overall losing streak and has dropped 16 straight to the Tide.
Georgia at Vanderbilt, over 57
Even though Georgia has beaten Vanderbilt 55-0 and 62-0 in their past two meetings, 32.5 points remains a big spread on the road, even against the worst team in the conference.
But the over seems ripe for the picking, given how Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart has loosened the leash on quarterback Carson Beck, who’s passed for over 300 yards in each of the past three weeks. The beat-down against Kentucky was the first time this season Georgia has truly looked like the No. 1 team in the nation, and the Bulldogs have gone over the total in two of their last three (with one push).
Tennessee -3 vs. Texas A&M
This couldn’t have been what the Aggies envisioned when they signed Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator: a hesitant, inconsistent attack that punted three times inside Alabama territory in last Saturday’s loss.
Now it’s into the din of Neyland Stadium, where the Volunteers are coming off a bye week preceded by two strong home outings, the most recent a 21-point victory over 11.5-point underdog South Carolina. Outside of the stunning loss at Florida, the Vols have been excellent on both sides of the ball. The Aggies, meanwhile, are playing with a backup quarterback and an offense no one really trusts.