Sidelines with John Clay

College football and NFL picks: Will UK finally win at Tennessee?

Kash Daniel lays out what Kentucky football has to play for the rest of the season

After practice on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, Kentucky football linebacker Kash Daniel talks about what the team is playing for the final three games of the season. UK plays at Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. The Cats are currently 7-2.
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After practice on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, Kentucky football linebacker Kash Daniel talks about what the team is playing for the final three games of the season. UK plays at Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. The Cats are currently 7-2.

As we make this week’s football picks, let’s see if we can keep the momentum going.

Last week, Ben went 8-2 overall and 6-4 against the spread. For the season, he’s now 63-37 overall and 52-46 against the spread. I went 7-3 overall and 6-4 against the spread. For the year, I’m 66-34 overall and 45-54 against the spread.

Here we go with Week 11:

Kentucky at Tennessee

Saturday, 3:30 p.m., SEC Network

Line: Kentucky by 6

John: Kentucky 17, Tennessee 10

You know the back story. Kentucky hasn’t won in Knoxville since 1984. Kentucky is coming off a loss to Georgia in a much-hyped game. Bottom two offenses in the SEC. Look for a defensive struggle.

Against the spread: Kentucky

Ben: Kentucky 24, Tennessee 12

Win this game against a down Volunteers team, and the Cats might very well find themselves in a New Year’s Six bowl game. Think UK comes to play here — and Terry Wilson makes some big plays — after last weekend’s disappointment.

Against the spread: Kentucky

Louisville at Syracuse

Friday, 7 p.m, ESPN2

Line: Syracuse by 21

John: Syracuse 45, Louisville 27

Syracuse Coach Dino Babers is on the way up, Louisville Coach Bobby Petrino is on the way down. And possibly out. U of L will drop to 2-8 intensifying calls for Petrino’s pink slip.

Against the spread: Louisville

Ben: Syracuse 50, Louisville 20

Go ahead and mark me down for N.C. State and Kentucky in the “against the spread” picks the next two weeks, too. Can’t pick the Cards again until there’s a change at the top.

Against the spread: Syracuse

South Carolina at Florida

Saturday, Noon, ESPN

Line: Florida by 6

John: Florida 24, South Carolina 20

Crisis time in The Swamp. Florida has lost two straight. Reports of dissension in the Gators’ locker room. Dan Mullen needs to right the ship. Backs to the wall, Florida pulls it out.

Against the spread: South Carolina

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Ben: Florida 31, South Carolina 20

Gamecocks’ last four games have been decided by four or fewer points (and they’ve won three of them). Don’t think this one will be as close. Gators have something to prove after last week.

Against the spread: Florida

Vanderbilt at Missouri

Saturday, Noon, SEC Network

Line: Missouri by 16.5

John: Missouri 42, Vanderbilt 17

Missouri got its offense cranked up last week to whip Florida 38-17 in The Swamp. Just like last year when the Tigers finished strong, Barry Odom’s club will continue the trend at the Commodores’ expense.

Against the spread: Missouri

Ben: Missouri 35, Vanderbilt 17

Mizzou is 4-1 against the spread at home this season (the ‘1’ being UK) and the Tigers are coming off their best game of the season. They roll here.

Against the spread: Missouri

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Ole Miss at Texas A&M

Saturday, Noon, CBS

Line: Texas A&M by 11.5

John: Texas A&M 31, Ole Miss 24

The host Aggies have lost two straight after falling 28-24 last week at Auburn and 28-13 at Mississippi State the game before. Back home in College Station, Jimbo Fisher’s team should handle the Rebels.

Against the spread: Ole Miss

Ben: Texas A&M 36, Ole Miss 24

This is the Aggies’ first home game since they beat Kentucky five weeks ago. A&M is 4-0 against the spread in College Station this season, and its only loss there came by two points as 12-point underdogs to Clemson.

Against the spread: Texas A&M

Mississippi State at Alabama

Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS

Line: Alabama by 23.5

John: Alabama 31, Mississippi State 14

Mississippi State’s defense has not allowed more than 357 total yards in a game all season. Just once have the Bulldogs given up more than 19 points in a game this season. (Kentucky’s 28 being the season-high.) Alabama should roll, but could be interesting.

Against the spread: Mississippi State

Ben: Alabama 45, Mississippi State 14

Frankly, this whole Alabama thing is getting ridiculous. Will the ridiculousness continue, or will there be a letdown after last week’s total dominance of LSU in Tiger Stadium? I’m betting on Bama.

Against the spread: Alabama

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Auburn at Georgia

Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN

Line: Georgia by 14

John: Georgia 34, Auburn 14

Georgia has already clinched the SEC East, but the Bulldogs surely remember the beatdown they received last year at Auburn. Plus, Kirby Smart’s squad is squarely in the College Football Playoff hunt.

Against the spread: Georgia

Ben: Georgia 40, Auburn 17

Bulldogs need to keep winning and hope for a near-miracle in Atlanta to make the College Football Playoff. Prime-time crowd in Athens for this rivalry game should help them on their way.

Against the spread: Georgia

LSU at Arkansas

Saturday, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network

Line: LSU by 13.5

John: LSU 31, Arkansas 10

LSU has to pick itself up off the mat following last week’s 29-0 loss to Alabama. Like Kentucky, the Tigers still have plenty to play for the rest of the season. Arkansas is probably ready for the season to end.

Against the spread: LSU

Ben: LSU 40, Arkansas 10

The Tigers should be ticked off. The Hogs are still horrible. Easy choice.

Against the spread: LSU

Clemson at Boston College

Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC

Line: Clemson by 20

John: Clemson 26, Boston College 14

Sure looks like the train is barreling down the track for a Clemson-Alabama finals for the national title. Tigers won’t match the 77 they scored last week against Louisville. Boston College is much better than that.

Against the spread: Boston College

Ben: Clemson 30, Boston College 23

BC is 7-2 against the spread this season and playing at home. The Eagles aren’t a bad team, and they’ll keep things close here.

Against the spread: Boston College

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Saints at Bengals

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Saints by 5.5

John: Saints 41, Bengals 21

With win over the Rams last week, Saints have the top spot in the NFC. Bengals had week off to prepare, but that won’t be enough for struggling defense to contain Drew Brees.

Against the spread: Saints

Ben: Saints 38, Bengals 20

Is there a hotter team (or a better) team in football than the Saints, who are coming off a home win over the Rams and a road win over the Vikings? New Orleans is 4-0 against the spread on the road this season. Don’t think this will be close.

Against the spread: Saints

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