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SEC free picks: #8 Georgia vs. #6 Florida & 4 more

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Nick Roush

November 1st, 2019

Georgia Bulldogs
-6 (-112)
O 45 (-110)
Florida Gators
+6 (-108)
U 45 (-110)
The annual meeting in Jacksonville has substantial SEC East implications, with the winner hopping into the driver’s seat to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.

One of the greatest rivalries in all of college football, it has not played out that way in recent years. Since 2013 the closest margin of victory for either team was a 14-point Florida win. That changes this year.
James Coley’s unimaginative Georgia offense has sputtered in the previous two games, mustering just 17 points in an overtime loss to South Carolina and was held to zero points at half against Kentucky before D’Andre Swift carried the Dogs to a three-score win. Coley had a week to concoct something out of the passing game, but that’s not how Georgia beats Florida.

The Gators are at their best when opponents pass. They allow less than 200 yards per game through the air by getting to the quarterback in a hurry. Their 29 sacks rank eighth in the country.

An old-fashioned slobber-knocker between a pair of athletically gifted defenses, neither side will surrender much. My head says the under is the play, but 44.5 and falling is too low. Florida has more talent on the edge. It only takes one or two big plays from their elite receivers to take the ball out of Swift’s hands. Take the points and enjoy a wild ride.

Free pick: Florida +6

Mississippi State at Arkansas (+7.5), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network

This game is an absolute mess. Once reports surfaced the Joe Moorhead was a frontrunner for the Rutgers’ vacancy, the Bulldogs showed enough life to hang in tough against LSU. After failing to pull off the upset, they laid an egg in College Station. It appears that State has given up on their coach, while Arkansas would be happy to just get one SEC win in front of their home fans. Kylin Hill and the numbers say State should get the win, but I’m picking the Hogs to get their first SEC victory in 17 attempts.

Free pick: Arkansas +7.5

Ole Miss at #11 Auburn (-20), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

After a close loss, Ole Miss could be a nice, feel good win for Auburn before they enter a bye week. Covering 20 points will be tough, but that’s what Gus Malzahn has done in 2019 with a 7-1 record ATS, including four covers as double-digit favorites.

Free pick: Auburn -20

UAB at Tennessee (-12.5), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Tennessee has been playing much better football as of late, most recently handing South Carolina a butt whipping at Neyland. Even so, they’re juggling all kinds of quarterback problems. Brian Maurer just got out of concussion protocol, Jarrett Guarantano has a broken bone in his non-throwing hand and true freshman J.T. Shrout has made just three appearances all season.

Tennessee’s problems will not be easily concealed when UAB makes the short trip to Knoxville. Good enough to upset the Vols outright, the Blazers are 6-1 and can still win C-USA in just their third season after taking a two-year hiatus from football.

Free pick: UAB +12.5

Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-15.5), Saturday, 7:30, SEC Network

Bowl eligibility is on the line for the Gamecocks. When they play desperate, it’s turned out well so far this season. Even after a bye, Vanderbilt’s offense will struggle to move the ball against South Carolina’s defense.

Free pick: South Carolina -15.5

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