SEC college football picks, odds for Week 12: Can Tennessee upset Missouri and clinch a bowl?

Week 12 in the SEC features three SEC games, including a big one on Rocky Top for first-year coach Jeremy Pruitt and the Tennessee Volunteers. After an upset win over Kentucky last weekend, they can clinch a .500 record and bowl eligibility Saturday afternoon — one season after going 0-8 in conference play for the first time in program history. Meanwhile, the Tigers can move one notch up the bowl food chain with a big road win.

What will go down in Neyland Stadium? How will the rest of the SEC fare the weekend before Thanksgiving? Let’s make some picks (and get some money back after a down week).

Record straight up: 70-23 (5-2 last week)
Record against the spread: 30-42-3 (2-4-1 last week)
*Games without lines are not counted in the ATS record

Main course

Missouri at Tennessee (+5.5)

  • Guarantano hot
  • Mizzou’s pass D not
  • Let’s go bowling

The oddsmakers missed on Tennessee last weekend, and will do the same again on Saturday. Vols quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has quietly been one of the most solid signal-callers in the SEC, tossing 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions on the year — both in the Florida game. The running game got cranked up against a good Kentucky defense last week behind Tim Jordan and Ty Chandler, but will face a tough run defense again this week against Missouri. Those running backs will have enough success to help Guarantano work off play-action and take advantage of the SEC’s second-worst pass defense and notch win No. 6. Pick: Tennessee (+5.5)

Strong cocktails

UAB at Texas A&M (-17)

  • Aggies defense strong
  • Don’t take UAB lightly 
  • Big line for a big game

UAB is one of the best stories in the country. Two seasons into its new era following the shutdown of the program, the Blazers have emerged as one of the top teams in Conference USA. But can Bill Clark’s crew compete with Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies? Enough to cover? Probably not. Texas A&M’s rush defense has been lights out all year, but the pass defense is susceptible. The question is whether Blazers quarterback Tyler Johnston III — who stepped in for A.J. Erdely after Erdely suffered a shoulder injury — can take advantage. I don’t think so. Pick: Texas A&M (-17)

Arkansas at No. 21 Mississippi State (-21.5)

  • Hogs coming around?
  • State beaten up by Bama
  • Bulldog defense coming

When a team plays Alabama, they don’t just get beat, they get beat up. Will Mississippi State’s bruises from last week’s game vs. the Crimson Tide hurt them Saturday in Starkville against Arkansas? I don’t think so. Arkansas’ offensive line has given up the second-most tackles for loss in the SEC, and Montez Sweat, Jeffery Simmons and that Bulldog front seven will make a living in the backfield. The Razorbacks defense will get worn down by the multidimensional rushing attack, and quarterback Nick Fitzgerald will lead the Bulldogs to a late cover. Pick: Mississippi State (-21.5)

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (-3)

  • Wrong team favored
  • Points on points
  • Six wins again

So let me get this straight, Vanderbilt’s defense — which ranks ninth in the SEC in pass defense — is going to slow down Jordan Ta’amu and the high-octane Rebels passing game? No way. The Commodores have given up 240 passing yards or more in six of their last seven games, and Ta’amu is going to make Vandy quarterback Kyle Shurmur go score for score for an entire game. I love Shurmur, but that’s not happening — not even against the porous Ole Miss defense. Pick: Ole Miss (+3)


Middle Tennessee at No. 17 Kentucky (-16)

  • Sneaky fun game
  • Give up mode?
  • Be careful, Cats

Kentucky might have been knocked out of a New Year’s Six bowl following the loss to Tennessee, and now have to rebound against a sneaky good Blue Raiders squad that can put up points in bunches. Quarterback Brent Stockstill has tossed 21 touchdowns and only five interceptions, and can have some success against a Kentucky pass defense that allowed Jarrett Guarantano to average 9.9 yards per attempt last week. Benny Snell will ice it for the Cats late in the game, but those 16 points are quite tasty. Pick: Middle Tennessee (+16)

Side dishes

  • The Citadel at No. 1 Alabama: Alabama (-51.5)
  • Idaho at No. 13 Florida: Idaho (+39.5)
  • UMass at No. 5 Georgia: Georgia (-43.5)
  • Liberty at Auburn: Auburn (-31)
  • Rice at No. 7 LSU: LSU (-44)
  • Chattanooga at South Carolina: Chattanooga (+30)

So which teams should you back in Week 12 of the college football season? And what playoff contender will get its title hopes crushed? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected score for every single FBS matchup, all from the model that has returned over $4,000 in profit to $100 bettors over the last three seasons.

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