Stalter’s Week 7 College Picks: Fading the Mess That Is Tennessee Football

Season Record: Following a 5-0 Saturday in Week 6, I’m not 13-7 on the season. (Of course, all that people seem to remember is that horrible Tennessee pick against Georgia from two weeks ago, but that’s how it goes!) Let’s hope I’m not perfect fade material this week.

South Carolina (+3) at Tennessee, 11:00AM

Speaking of Tennessee, I’m fading the mess that is the Volunteers. The big news out of Knoxville this week is that the Vols have a new starting quarterback. Tennessee redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano will be taking over under center, according to a report from SEC Country’s Mike Griffith. Quinten Dormady committed eight turnovers in the past three games for the Vols, so Butch Jones had no choice but to make a change. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Vols’ offensive issues have been solved. The unit has no continuity. They have mixed and matched offensive lines since Jones has been their head coach, using four different starting combinations through five games this season. Now Tennessee is changing its quarterback. Good luck with that, Butch. The underdog is 5-0 against the spread in the last five meetings between these two teams and the road squad is 14-5-1 at the betting window in the last 20 meetings. I don’t think one bye week fixed all of Tennessee’s issues and I love the dog here.

The Pick: South Carolina Gamecocks +3

Texas Tech (+3.5) at West Virginia, 11:00AM

This isn’t the most explosive team Kliff Kingsbury has had in Lubbock but it also might be his best all-around team. The Red Raiders can sling it, but are also running the ball better than they did a year ago. No longer are they relying solely on Patrick Mahomes to win them games through the air. Quarterback Nic Shimonek continues to improve as a first-year starter and believe it or not, Tech is playing some defense this year, too. (Well, relatively speaking.) I like high-scoring teams getting points and Texas Tech fits the bill this week, even against a West Virginia team that is dangerous offensively as well.

The Pick: Texas Tech Red Raiders +3.5

Georgia Tech (+6.5) at Miami, 2:30PM

I don’t like this spot for Kevin Wheeler’s Hurricanes. As Wheeler pointed out on his show on Friday afternoon, yes, Mark Richt has owned Georgia Tech in the past. Maybe it’s overstated to suggest that Miami will struggle preparing for Paul Johnson’s triple-option. That said, the Hurricanes beat their biggest rivals on the road last week for the first time since T-Rex roamed the earth. Now they head home for a game against an opponent that they have dominated the last two years. The ‘Canes are also banged up. Running back Mark Walton, offensive tackle Navaughn Donaldson and safety Sheldrick Redwine are all out, while receiver Ahmmon Richards is questionable. I don’t think playing against the triple-option in and of itself will doom Miami, but a host of other factors could play into this being a closer game than some think.

The Pick: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets +6.5

Oklahoma vs. Texas (+9), 2:30PM

The line for this game continues to rise, so perhaps I’m on the wrong side here. That said, would anyone be surprised if Oklahoma didn’t get off the mat this weekend after losing at home last Saturday to Iowa State? I wouldn’t. Tom Herman’s teams thrive as underdogs against ranked teams and the Longhorns have improved every week. After allowing 51 points to Maryland in an embarrassing opening-season loss, Texas has surrendered an average of 17 points over its last four games. I’ll take the points.

The Pick: Texas Longhorns +9

Auburn at LSU (+7), 2:30PM

‘This idiot is taking LSU two weeks after the Tigers lost to Troy at home?’ Yes, this idiot is. For this matchup, I’m using a simple strategy that has worked over the years. No, it doesn’t work every week and yes, the last time I used it was when I took Tennessee over Georgia in that 41-0 victory for the Dawgs. Still, it has been profitable over the long-haul.

Here’s the strategy: Fade the public. Don’t just fade the public on every play – fade the public when everyone and their brother is on one side. At sites like The Spread.com, Auburn is receiving over 85% of the wagers, which is rare in a matchup of two Power 5 teams. How rare? There were only 11 games a year ago where two Power 5 teams square off and one team was receiving 80% of the wagers. In those 11 games, the public team won just three times. That means if you would have faded the public in those instances, you would have cashed at a 73% clip, which is outstanding in betting circles.

How will LSU do it? No clue. The Tigers can’t move the ball on offense and will start three freshman along their offensive line. Auburn should win by 52 but I’m sticking with my strategy.

The Pick: LSU Tigers +7

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