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Week 2: College Football

Week one of college football is officially in the books and we’re already looking forward to week two.

Each week, we’ll be previewing some of the best college football matchups by conference as part of our weekly College Pick ‘Ems. We’ll show all the matchups for the week in that conference, and then highlight one of the best games to watch for all you college football lovers like us. Since NRG Stadium was just host to an SEC vs. Pac 12 matchup that ended with an SEC victory, we figured we’d start with some games of our friends over in the Southeast.

This week the SEC made history posting 10 teams in the AP Top 25 (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi State). For such a historic week for the SEC, though, most SEC matchups this weekend should be pretty textbook. There are a few that are noteworthy, though. Here are our picks for SEC games to watch this week:

Game                                                    Location                               Spread

LSU vs. Mississippi State                      Starkville, Miss.                 LSU -4.5 / Miss State +4.5

Oklahoma at Tennessee                        Knoxville, Tenn.

Auburn vs. Jacksonville State              Auburn, Ala.

Ball State vs. Texas A&M                     College Station, Texas    Ball State +29.5 / Texas A&M -29.5

Middle Tennessee at Alabama            Tuscaloosa, Ala.                Middle Tenn +35.0 / Alabama -35.0

Toleda vs. Arkansas                               Little Rock, Ark.                 +21.5 / Arkansas -21.5

Fresno St. vs. Mississippi                      Oxford, Miss.                     Fresno St +28.5 / Mississippi -28.5

Georgia vs. Vanderbilt                           Nashville, Tenn.                   Vanderbilt +20.5 / Georgia -20.5

East Carolina vs. Florida                       Gainesville, Fla.                       East Carolina +20.0 / Florida -20.0

Missouri vs. Arkansas State                  Jonesboro, Ark.                    Missouri -10.5 / Arkansas St +10.5

Kentucky vs. South Carolina                 Columbia, S.C.                   Kentucky +7.0 / S Carolina -7.0

Notre Dame vs. Virginia                        Charlottesville, Va.          Notre Dame -12.5 / Virginia +12.5

Several matchups with an SEC school this weekend shouldn’t produce any surprises or upsets (Auburn vs. Jacksonville State, Mississippi vs. Fresno State). Some games might be close, but there are a few matchups that should be great contests. The matchup we’ve picked for this week is an inter-SEC matchup, LSU vs. Mississippi State. At first, this might not seem like a great matchup, as LSU has won 14 of the last 15 meetings. But as some you might remember, LSU lost last year in Baton Rouge to the Bulldogs in a huge game, maybe the biggest shock of 2014. This year, it’s in Starkville, Mississippi. Also, because of last week’s rain out between LSU and McNeese State, this will be a pseudo-season opener for the Tigers. If this year’s game is anything like last years, we’re in for a fun Saturday. Here’s what the experts are saying:

Why the LSU Tigers can cover the spread

LSU was supposed to open its season last Saturday against McNeese State, but the game was postponed due to lightning. So the Tigers jump right into this season with an SEC West bout against the Bulldogs.

LSU returns 15 starters this season, its most in recent memory, as it looks to bounce back from an 8-5 campaign last year. Nine starters are back on offense, including Heisman Trophy candidate running back Leonard Fournette and three along the offensive line, while six starters return on defense.

The Tigers have big things on their minds for this season and certainly don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

Why the Mississippi State Bulldogs can cover the spread

The Bulldogs began this season with a 34-16 victory at Southern Miss, spotting the Eagles an early 10-7 lead, then scoring 27 of the last 33 points of the game. Mississippi State outrushed Southern Miss 205-102, converted eight of 14 third-down situations and held the Eagles to just 4-of-17 on third downs.

The Bulldogs only return seven starters this season, but they include Heisman hopeful Dak Prescott at quarterback, last year’s top two receivers and five of last year’s top seven tacklers on defense.

Finally, Mississippi State broke a 14-game losing streak to LSU last year with a 34-29 victory down at Death Valley, and that game wasn’t as close as that score might indicate.

Smart pick

LSU has a chance to jump back into national championship contention this season, while Mississippi State has a lot of holes to fill. And playing on the road means the spread is more amenable to the Tigers than it would be if this game were being played on their home turf. The smart betting choice here is with LSU.

(via bleacherreport.com / oddsshark.com / http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2563058-lsu-tigers-vs-mississippi-state-bulldogs-betting-odds-college-football-pick)


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