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Staff Picks — Week 3

South Carolina v Arkansas

Whew boy did things get rough last week. Auburn and Alabama didn’t cover (by a long shot). Florida and Texas A&M lost outright. South Carolina never even thought about keeping it close with Arkansas. Mississippi State covering against Arizona some time on Sunday morning was the only thing that saved a weekend of utter destruction. Then again, I suppose you’re getting what you pay for with these.

This week we have two conference games, three matchups with P5 teams, Vanderbilt going on the road to Northern Illinois for some reason, and plenty of cupcakes. Let’s get this bread.

Note: Tallysight is still phasing in some of the old features, so I’m just going to go old school for this one. They also don’t have the FCS matchups listed at all, so those are missing altogether. Not that most books accept bets on them anyway.

Georgia (-25) @ South Carolina (O/U 52)

SP+ Pick: Georgia 38-13

South Carolina gets this one at home, but I just don’t see them putting up more of a fight than they did against Arkansas last week. This game has a tendency to get weird, but I don’t think that matters this time. Georgia could stay in 3rd gear and cover this one. Georgia 38-10

Mississippi (-16.5) @ Georgia Tech (O/U 61.5)

SP+ Pick: Mississippi 43-15

Both of these teams had an FCS tune-up last week. The Rebels looked a bit more like themselves while bulldozing the poor Bears of Central Arkansas. Georgia Tech played around with Western Carolina. I can’t see Tech challenging Mississippi when they have the ball, and while I liked what they did on defense against Clemson in the opener, I think they may get boat-raced in this one. Mississippi 41-17

Vanderbilt (+2.5) @ Northern Illinois (O/U 60)

SP+ Pick: NIU 31-28

Yep, that’s now TWO trips to G5 opponents that Vanderbilt is making. This one is going to be much tougher than the week’s vacation in Hawaii. NIU is a strong MAC team that has a knack for winning close games with their running game. I’m going to pick in hopes that the ‘Dores have enough to keep the Huskies at bay, but only just. Vanderbilt 27-23

Louisiana-Monroe (-49.5) @ Alabama (O/U 61.5)

SP+ Pick: Alabama 57-1 (lol)

I am contractually obligated to remind you that ULM once beat Nick Saban 21-14 in Tuscaloosa, and that while at Auburn, Terry Bowden was 3-2 against Alabama. I think the ol’ guy draws up enough plays to keep his boys in it. Alabama 49-10

Mississippi State (-2.5) @ LSU (O/U 52.5)

SP+ Pick: LSU 27-26

Mississippi State is favored in Baton Rouge. It’s a helluva thing. The last time these two teams played in Tiger Stadium was Bo Pelini’s epic “I’m gonna play Cover One Man against the Air Raid all day” debacle. I don’t think State goes for 600+ passing in this one, but I think they can exploit some things. This one should be really entertaining. State 28-24

Akron (+47.5) @ Tennessee (O/U 67)

SP+ Pick: Tennessee 54-6

Like I said for their opener, I think this Tennessee team is the kind that will light up opponents that can’t cover the outside receivers. Tennessee 63-14

South Florida (+24.5) @ Florida (O/U 60)

SP+ Pick: Florida 41-17

USF is terrible. Florida is angry. USF does not have anyone that can stop Anthony Richardson. Let’s not overthink this. Florida 42-10

Miami (+6) @ Texas A&M (O/U 44.5)

SP+ Pick: Texas A&M 29-22

A&M has already made a quarterback change. Miami struggled with USM last week, but at least they didn’t lose to a Sun Belt team at home. I don’t love picking Miami outright, but I love getting 6 points against this Texas A&M team. I think this game will resemble the “P5 team travels to SEC venue” game before it: bit of a rock fight where “close” does not mean “good”. Miami 20-18