Four games involving SEC teams – all conference action – are capturing the majority of media attention this weekend. LSU opens conference play by going to Auburn in a battle of Tigers. The others Tigers of the SEC – Missouri – make their first conference road trip in a battle of Columbias. Kentucky travels to Florida with a 25-game losing streak to the Gators and Vanderbilt goes to Georgia giving James Franklin and Todd Grantham a chance to chat again.
Who does the public like? Who do the media favor in these matchups? Read on to find out who’s putting their money where there mouth is or their reputations on the line.
LSU at Auburn
Opening line: LSU favored by 18.5 points.
Current line: LSU by 20.5
The public likes? LSU– 85% of bets according to TheSpread.com. Of all college football bets this weekend – only the Louisville – Florida International game is more lopsided.
The experts like? We checked with ESPN, Sporting News, Yahoo!, CBS, CollegeFootballTalk, USA Today, Phil Steele and Athlon. That’s 28 game picks – some with the spread, some without, some predict a score, others just a winner. When we factor the spread into the analysis – we see only five picks willing to take the Auburn side. Dennis Dodd and Bruce Feldman at CBS took the home team Tigers. Phil Steele calls for a 27-13 score, saying “I think it will be closer than what many are predicting but in the end, LSU has too much up front for Auburn to handle.” That 40 points, by the way, is well below the 48 that oddsmakers have on the game. Chris Low at ESPN also likes the under and Auburn to cover- barely – predicting a 31-13 final. Mitch Light at Athlon predicts a 28-14 final (The underdog picks seem to like the under on the totals). The Athlon panel also has the biggest blowout – Braden Gall says LSU wins by 31 – 41-10.
Missouri at South Carolina
Opening line: South Carolina by 9 points.
Current line: South Carolina by 10 or 10 1/2.
The public likes: South Carolina – 55% of bets according to TheSpread.com
The experts like? Same group as above but removing CollegeFootballTalk.com (no pick). Public is more divided on this one and so are the various media panels. Three guys at CBS are willing to take the Tigers against the spread. ESPN’s Chris Low predicts a close game. “The difference will be a South Carolina defensive line that takes over in the second half…South Carolina 27 , Missouri 21. ” Phil Steele sees a one-score game -24-17 and so does Matt Hayes of the Sporting News – South Carolina 26-Missouri 21. His colleague at the Sporting News – Steve Greenberg – likes the Gamecocks 31-20″…the difference will be the Gamecocks’ ability to smash it in near the goal line.”
Kentucky at Florida
Opening line: Florida by 23.5
Current line: Florida by 24.
The public likes? Florida – 81% of bets according to TheSpread.com
The experts like? Fewer experts weighing in on this one. We count 25 with an opinion and only three – Jerry Hinnen and Chip Patterson at CBS and Mitch Light at Athlon- are willing to take the Wildcats with the points. Chris Low sees a push – Florida 38 – Kentucky 14. ”The drought against Florida will grow to 26 in a row Saturday.”
Vanderbilt at Georgia
Opening line: Georgia by 16
Current line: Georgia by 15.5
The public likes? Georgia – 74% of bets according to TheSpread.com
The experts like? We count 25 picks on this game from the media panels we examined and only two – Matt Hinton at CBS and Steven Lassan at Athlon – are willing to take Vanderbilt and the points. Everyone else takes the other side including ESPN’s Edward Aschoff. ”The Commodores are fired up for this one, but Georgia just has more going for it all around…Georgia 31 – Vanderbilt 14.”
The public is most-lopsided on LSU while the media like Georgia the most. Who do you like this weekend?
Here’s MrSEC’s storylines, keys and Week 4 picks.