football Edit

If I Were A Betting Man: Week 7 picks

The Big One, the really, really Big One in the SEC, is here. No. 2 Alabama visits No. 3 Georgia on Saturday night, and it is going to be a delight.

Georgia has been all about the defense the past two seasons. The Bulldogs have not surrendered more than 17 points in regulation to any foe (Tennessee had 21 last week, but one score was a defensive TD) except one: the 2019 LSU juggernaut. The Tigers put up 37 points against Georgia in the SEC championship game on their way to the national title.

With Alabama piling up 20 touchdowns in three games against Missouri, Texas A&M and Ole Miss, it is worth comparing this year’s Tide offense with last year’s Tigers when trying to forecast how Georgia’s defense will stack up Saturday.


I mean, you can’t really compete with Heisman winner Joe Burrow when he had arguably the greatest QB season in college football history, but Mac Jones has been way more than a game manager for Alabama this season. He leads the nation in passer rating, has completed 79.5 percent of his passes for 367 yards per game with eight TDs and one INT. Edge to Burrow, but not by as much as you would think.

Running back

Alabama’s Najee Harris has 10 rushing touchdowns on just 52 carries, which is patently absurd. He’s averaging 6.7 yards per carry and is looking every bit the five-star prospect and first-round draft pick he was pegged to be out of high school. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has been magnificent as a rookie with the Chiefs, averaged 6.6 per carry and 94 yards per game for the Tigers. Both awesome, but slight edge to Harris.

Receiving corps

Again, we’re talking about Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James here. LSU’s trio of Ja’Marr Chase (Biletnikoff Award winner), Justin Jefferson (first-round draft pick) and Terrace Marshall (three TDs in playoffs) ran absolutely wild all season and formed unbelievable chemistry with Burrow. But Alabama’s three-headed monster of Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith and John Metchie are all averaging more than 99 yards per game and the trio combined for three 60+ yard touchdown catches against Texas A&M alone. Edge to LSU, but it is close.

Offense line

For Big Ugly analysis, I have to turn to resident expert Mike Farrell, who knows the trenches like no other. From Farrell: On paper, the Alabama offensive line is much stronger than LSU’s group from last year, led by elite tackle Alex Leatherwood and young budding star Evan Neal. Deonte Brown and Landon Dickerson also have NFL futures, but this unit needs to step up and play better than it did against Ole Miss.

So upon further review, it appears Alabama stacks up favorably with 2019 LSU on offense, which doesn’t necessarily mean victory, but it should mean more SEC fireworks in Tuscaloosa, even if poor Nick Saban won’t be on the sideline as he deals with his positive COVID-19 test.

Forecasting the Week 7 fireworks for the Rivals publishers is Bryan Matthews from, who is intimately familiar with the Dawgs, the Tide and the SEC in general. For the analysts, it will be Adam Gorney, who knows his way around a betting slip.

Off we go.

Spreads are from All games are on Saturday unless noted and all times are ET.

Kentucky (+5.5) at No. 18 Tennessee, noon, SEC Network


Tennessee did not look great at Georgia last week, and Kentucky got a surprisingly easy win over Mississippi State. But I cannot trust this Kentucky offense in a big road game. The Wildcats had eight punts, a fumble and a mere 158 yards against Mississippi State. Quarterback Terry Wilson has just two TD passes in three games and is averaging 154.3 yards per game. The Vols squeezed out a 17-13 win last year, but they’ve progressed since and should be able to cover

Trocchi’s pick: Tennessee, $100

Matthews: Tennessee

Gorney: Tennessee

No. 11 Texas A&M (-6.5) at Mississippi State, 4 p.m., SEC Network

It took one week for defenses to solve the Air Raid? Actually, it looks that way. Since that shocking takedown of LSU, Mississippi State has thrown 130 passes. The results? Nine interceptions, one touchdown and a meager 4.5 yards per attempt (not to mention three sacks). Leach talked about purging his roster after the Kentucky loss, which is always a nice pick-me-up for the players. It is tempting to do the reverse-momentum bet here, since Texas A&M comes in riding high after its walk-off upset of Florida, but I can’t do it.

Trocchi’s pick: Texas A&M, $100

Matthews: Texas A&M

Gorney: Texas A&M

No. 5 North Carolina (-12) at Florida State, 7 p.m., ESPN

Remember the sophomore slump talk for Sam Howell? Yeah, not so much after the QB guided North Carolina to 56 points and threw three touchdowns in a shootout win over Virginia Tech. Florida State showed a little life against Notre Dame, but the Irish were never threatened and suffered several self-inflicted wounds while still winning by 16. Despite being a heavy favorite, North Carolina is going to give Florida State everything its got.

Trocchi’s pick: North Carolina $100

Matthews: North Carolina

Gorney: North Carolina

No. 3 Georgia (+4) at No. 2 Alabama, 8 p.m., CBS

Since the SEC expanded in 1992, these two have played 10 times, with six games decided by one score. Alabama is 7-3 overall. Three of the meetings have been in Atlanta for either the SEC championship or national championship, and each owns a 26-23 overtime victory. Georgia has won the last two in Tuscaloosa, but Alabama has a five-game win streak in the series. More facts: Georgia’s defense has not allowed a rushing TD, while Alabama is averaging four rushing TDs per game (tied with Notre Dame for best in the nation). According to Pro Football Focus, the QB with the highest percentage of positively graded throws in the nation is Jones. Georgia’s Stetson Bennett is fourth.

Trocchi’s pick: Alabama $50

Matthews: Alabama

Gorney: Georgia

Boston College (+12) at No. 23 Virginia Tech, 8 p.m., ACC Network

It's time to declare that Boston College is kinda good. Solid win over Duke, overtime win over Pitt, narrow loss to No. 5 North Carolina. I like Virginia Tech, especially Khalil Herbert and his nation-leading 149.7 rushing yards per game, but If the Eagles can get within a game-tying two-point conversion against North Carolina, they can stay within 12 of Virginia Tech.

Trocchi’s pick: Boston College $100

Matthews: Boston College

Gorney: Virginia Tech

Week 7 picks
UK-Tenn. TAMU-Miss St. UNC-FSU Georgia-Alabama BC-VT



















Season Standings

Trocchi: 14-10, plus $100

Publishers: 10-14

Analysts: 9-15

When there is a unanimous pick: 2-4