With a rather lackluster lineup of games Saturday in the conference, SEC football fans need a reason to sit through Alabama vs. Chattanooga, Kentucky vs. Austin Peay and other scheduled cupcakes.
So as you watch several teams cruise through a virtual bye week against small programs, take a stab at these prop bets and keep an eye on the box scores.
(All times ET)
Louisiana-Lafayette at Georgia (Noon, SEC Network)
Passing yards — Georgia QB Jacob Eason
This has the makings of an upset between the hedges. The Bulldogs haven’t developed a reputation of consistency this season and the Ragin’ Cajuns have a solid bunch, especially on run defense, where they allow just 118.3 yards per game (No. 20 in country). Like other teams in recent weeks, expect Louisiana-Lafayette to load up against Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. With 10 games under his belt, Eason should be able to excel and break the 300-yard mark for the third time this season.
No. 23 Florida at No. 16 LSU (1 p.m., SEC Network)
More rushing yards — LSU RB Derrius Guice or teammate Leonard Fournette
Fournette’s name and reputation make him an early favorite with this line, but Guice outgained Fournette last week, 252-98, in a blowout win over Arkansas and has gone for 155 yards or more on four occasions this season. Florida is 12th in the nation against the run, allowing 111.3 rushing yards per game, so this prop likely will come down to with back gets the ball more.
Missouri at No. 19 Tennessee (3:30 p.m., CBS)
Yards per completion — Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs
Dobbs has been wildly efficient throwing the football in back-to-back wins. Last week against Kentucky, he completed just 11 passes but totaled 223 yards for an average of more than 20 yards per completion. Dobbs will be the toughest QB Missouri has defended arguably all season, especially now that he’s found a rhythm. Don’t expect Dobbs to put the ball in the air more than 20 times, as the Tigers struggle defending the run (225.3 yards per game). But when he does let it fly, expect big gains for the Vols.
Austin Peay at Kentucky (4:30 p.m., SEC Network)
Total yards — Kentucky
Kentucky has playmakers with quarterback Stephen Johnson and running backs Boom Williams and Benny Snell Jr. Put those three guys on their home field against a winless Austin Peay team, and it’s a recipe for lots of offense. On the road last week against Tennessee, a legit SEC defense, Kentucky totaled 635 yards. Meanwhile, Austin Peay allowed 531 yards to Eastern Kentucky. Earlier in the season, the Governors gave up 641 yards of offense in a 56-35 loss to Eastern Illinois and 706 vs. Troy. Expect the Wildcats to become bowl-eligible Saturday and pad their stats in the process.
Arkansas at Mississippi State (7 p.m., ESPNU)
Which is greater — Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald completions or rushing attempts
Rushing attempts -210
Pass completions +195
In his last two games, and three of his last four, Fitzgerald has carried the ball more time than he’s completed a pass. However, after a brutal game against Alabama last week, the big sophomore has to be sore. The Razorbacks are much better against the pass than the run, so it seems likely that Dan Mullen would use his bruiser of a QB on the ground.
Chattanooga at No. 1 Alabama (7 p.m., ESPN2)
When does Nick Saban pull QB Jalen Hurts from the game?
First quarter +600
Second quarter +200
Third quarter -200
Fourth quarter -150
Not at all +900
Hurts has nothing to prove in this game. Everyone knows he’s dynamic and likely will lead this Crimson Tide to back to the national title game. With this game standing between a stretch that includes the Iron Bowl against Auburn, the SEC championship game and (presumably) the College Football Playoff, Saban would be wise to keep Hurts fresh and uninjured. Cooper Bateman should take over in the second half.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (8 p.m., SEC Network)
Total yards — Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson
Patterson proved last week he’s must-watch television. Showing shades of Johnny Manziel, the freshman will have everyone’s attention in prime time. Against a Texas A&M defense that includes Myles Garrett, Patterson had his way with 338 passing yards and 64 rushing. Against a Vanderbilt defense that does not have as much individual talent, he should do much of the same. And considering there isn’t much film out there on Patterson, Vandy’s Derek Mason will have to adjust on the fly.