Gamecocks visit to The Swamp headlines SEC Week 8

Past the midway point of the season, talk in the SEC isn’t just about Alabama’s dominance this season. The SEC East is proving to be not only an intriguing watch, but also a legitimate threat to the West’s supremacy of the past few years.

This week, the East sees a huge clash between Florida and South Carolina, while the West sees LSU further attempt to get back into the championship hunt. Of course, Alabama will be far from quiet this weekend.

No. 7 South Carolina at No. 2 Florida

A win for Jeff Driskell and the Gators will put Florida firmly in the driving seat as it attempts to win the SEC East title.

The biggest fixture on the SEC schedule this week is undoubtedly No. 7 South Carolina (6-1, 4-1 SEC) visiting No. 2 Florida (6-0, 5-0 SEC), a game with serious SEC East implications.

A win for Florida, coupled with a win next week against Georgia, will all but secure the Gators a trip to Atlanta and the SEC Championship game. A win for South Carolina could leave such discussions trundling on until the end of November.

Florida took sole possession of top place in the East last week with a win over Vanderbilt, whilst South Carolina fell in a close game to LSU – a team the Gators had knocked off a week prior.

Florida enters the game as favorites (-3½), no doubt a result of homefield advantage and little else. This is going to be a tight one.

Both sides have performed well against the spread this season. The Gamecocks are 6-1 ATS, while the Gators are 5-1.

The total has gone OVER in four of the last six South Carolina games but UNDER in six of the last eight Florida games. That makes betting on the total a tough prospect.

No. 6 LSU at No. 18 Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel and the high-octane Aggies' offense will pose a threat to LSU, who has had its fair share of struggles this season.

No. 6 LSU (6-1, 2-1 SEC) heads to Kyle Field to take on No. 18 Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1 SEC) on Saturday, with the opportunity to further right the wayward ship.

LSU has surprisingly struggled this season, despite compiling a 6-1 record. Last week’s win over South Carolina was a huge step forward, and a win this week would well and truly put the Tigers back in BCS championship contention, especially if they knock off Alabama in two weeks.

Texas A&M meanwhile has been impressive in its first season in the SEC. Last week’s shootout win against a tough Louisiana Tech side showed resolve, whilst only a Week 2 loss to Florida mars an almost perfect schedule.

LSU enters the game as favorites (-4) having seen bettors back the team throughout the week. The relatively short spread is indicative of the struggles the Tigers have faced of late. A big win over the Aggies will go some way to restoring the confidence of fans, voters and bettors alike.

Bettors taking on the spread will have lot to ponder. LSU is a miserable 2-5 ATS this season, while Texas A&M is 3-3. The Aggies are 6-12 ATS over the past 18.

The over/under is 53. The total has gone UNDER in six of the last nine LSU road games.

Around the Conference

No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) will look to remain unbeaten with a trip to Tennessee (3-3, 0-3 SEC). The Crimson Tide faces three straight weeks of ranked opposition following this weekend’s game, meaning a strong performance is as important as a win. And a win is essential. The Volunteers meanwhile are looking for a first SEC win, and could prove a tough test for the best team in the nation. That being said, oddsmakers have Alabama as favorites (-20½) heading into the game. The over/under s 55.

After a week to regroup after a decisive loss to South Carolina, No. 11 Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) will visit SEC doormat, Kentucky (1-6, 0-4 SEC). The Bulldogs are unsurprisingly favorites (-26) but will need to keep focus on the Wildcats or face a potential banana skin. Next week’s clash with Florida could make concentrating that much more difficult. The over/under is 57.

The third and final unbeaten SEC team, No. 12 Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 SEC), should have an easy time of it against Middle Tennessee (4-2, 2-1 Sun Belt), but like Georgia, the Bulldogs best not peek forward to next week’s clash with Alabama and get the job done this week. Mississippi State is favored (-17½), with the over/under at 56.

Finally, in a car wreck of a matchup, Auburn (1-5, 0-4 SEC) visits Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-3 SEC) in search of a first conference victory. The Commodores are favorites (-7) though, and will look to thwart the Tigers. The over/under is 45.

 

Week 8 Schedule (in full)

No. 6 LSU (6-1, 2-1 SEC) at No. 18 Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1 SEC)

Auburn (1-5, 0-4 SEC) at Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-3 SEC)

No. 7 South Carolina (6-1, 4-1 SEC) at No. 2 Florida (6-0, 5-0 SEC)

Middle Tennessee (4-2, 2-1 Sun Belt) at No. 12 Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 SEC)

No. 11 Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) at Kentucky (1-6, 0-4 SEC)

No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) at Tennessee (3-3, 0-3 SEC)

Arkansas (3-4, 2-2 SEC) (Bye)

Missouri (3-4, 0-4 SEC) (Bye)

Ole Miss (4-3, 1-2 SEC) (Bye)

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