How to Bet Tin Horn Weekend: Breakdowns, Picks for SEC vs. FCS Matchups

How to Bet Tin Horn Weekend: Breakdowns, Picks for SEC vs. FCS Matchups article feature image

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Jacobs

  • Half the SEC plays non-Power 5 opponents this weekend in preparation for their season finales.
  • The underdogs have typically been successful in this spot, especially FCS schools as big dogs.
  • Collin Wilson dives into this week's SEC non-conference games.

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“And they ran through our ass like s*** through a tin horn, man. And we could not stop them. Could not stop them. Could not stop them because we could not get a look in practice.” — Nick Saban before a 2015 game against Charleston Southern.

The Action Network’s Stuckey wrote a 2017 column proposing Week 12 be renamed ‘Tin Horn Weekend’ for the SEC, when almost everyone in the conference plays an FCS or non-Power 5 FBS opponent before the regular season finale. As a result of the talent gap, the SEC schools are often massive favorites.

The ‘tin horn’ quote comes from a Nick Saban rant about playing then-FCS Georgia Southern in 2011, when the Eagles used their triple-option attack to run for 302 yards and frustrate the hell out of Saban and Alabama. They covered the 42-point spread with ease in a 45-21 loss.

FCS and Group of 5 schools have typically had value in these November spots. Whether it’s due to inflated lines, lack of motivation or going vanilla in the second half to prevent injury, the underdogs have been successful.

This year, some of the SEC’s opponents on Tin Horn Weekend can score points quickly (UMass), some have been dreadful in all aspects (Rice), and some have an actual shot of an upset (UAB).

Here is a look at the SEC teams playing out of conference in Week 12.

The Citadel vs. Alabama

  • Spread: Alabama -51
  • Over/Under: 61.5
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

Alabama has covered every first half spread this season. A few offshores have held the full game spread steady at -51 for the Crimson Tide, indicating any first half line may be -27 through -31. The biggest question is which Alabama quarterback will play.

Jalen Hurts has not been available over the past two games. Third string Mac Jones has taken increased snaps after a few Tua Tagovailoa health scares, most recently against Mississippi State, but Saban insists Tagovailoa will play.

Tua Tagovailoa has taken some shots. He took a helmet to the the knee and walked into the tent to be evaluated. #Alabama #CrimsonTide

— Football Dungeon (@DuaneLively) November 10, 2018

The Citadel comes off a tremendous second half comeback against Samford last week for their first home win since October of 2017.

The Citadel runs a triple-option offense, a scheme Alabama has not seen this year. The FCS program has a history playing against reigning national champions — Florida State in 2014 and Clemson in 2017. It failed to cover both.

While The Action Network power ratings do not consider FCS programs, a few other trusted power rating outlets do. S&P+ projects this game Alabama -55, while USA Today Sagarin ratings have this at Alabama -59 without home field advantage.

The Citadel sits at 4-5 and has not sniffed the FCS top 25 this year. Despite their record, the Bulldogs are not lacking in confidence or humor traveling to Tuscaloosa.

We got next 😏

— The Citadel Football (@CitadelFootball) November 11, 2018

The spread and total will depend upon the playing time of Alabama’s first and second string players. Saban has stated there is no expectation of limiting game time for his starters, while Jalen Hurts is “day to day”.

I’m taking the under at 61.5. The Citadel ranks 121st in FCS passing offense, with only 101 attempts on the season. This is a pure triple-option team on every down, and with Alabama predictably playing vanilla on offense, the under should have value.

The Pick: Under 61.5

Idaho vs. Florida

  • Spread: Florida -40
  • Over/Under: 60
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET

Former FBS program Idaho is 4-6 this season, starting off 2018 with a 66-point loss to Fresno State. Head coach Paul Petrino is 0-5 straight up on the road this season, losing by an average of 30 points.

While this is Senior Day for the Gators, it’s freshman backup quarterback Emory Jones that deserves attention for this contest.

The injury to backup quarterback Kyle Trask put the spotlight on Jones as the new Gators backup. Jones did not play against South Carolina, but head coach Dan Mullen said this week that “there is a plan for Emory”.

Whatever that plan may be, Idaho ranks 94th in FCS total defense. The Vandals should not put up much of fight when the Gators get in Idaho territory, as the Vandals rank 110th in FCS red zone defense.

Mullen has 20 seniors and plans to play them all, keeping momentum leading to next weeks rivalry game against Florida State. The line may be a bit inflated, as USA Today Sagarin would make this game -35 on a neutral, while S&P+ calls for a 22.5-point victory for the Gators.

With seniors certain to play through the first half, I would look to back the Gators with any first half number under 21, and catch a motivated Idaho team playing its last game of the season if the full game spread steams over 42.

The Pick: Florida 1H, Idaho Full Game +42 or better

UMass vs. Georgia

  • Spread: Georgia -44
  • Over/Under: 63.5
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

The Minutemen have been an exciting watch in 2018, ranking 19th overall in offensive explosiveness and 20th in passing explosiveness. Wide receiver Andy Isabella has 87 catches on the season for 1,479 yards and 11 touchdowns. He leads the nation in receiving yards, becoming the primary focus for the Georgia defense.

Georgia may have slight overlook to Georgia Tech, with preparations for the defense against the triple option. UMass brings an explosive air attack that could put up a few points. Georgia’s defensive line is playing better of late, but a sack rate of 107th will give quarterback Ross Comis time to find Isabella.

On the other side of the ball, there is not a bigger one two punch rushing attack than D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield.

UMass will have its hands full, fielding one of the worst rush defenses in the nation. The Minutemen are 126th in rush S&P+ defense. Between Georgia’s explosive running and UMass’s interest in throwing the ball, it’s safe to assume plenty of points will be scored.

The spread continues to fall, creating value on the Bulldogs. The Action Network power ratings have this number at Georgia -46, while S&P+ has the Bulldogs -41.

I will continue to shop for the best Georgia number, but have already invested in the over on The Action Network App.

The Pick: Over 66

Liberty vs. Auburn

  • Spread: Auburn -28.5
  • Over/Under: 63.5
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

There is still the slimmest of hopes for the Action Colleges podcast favorite Liberty Flames to make a bowl game. They’d need a straight-up upset over Auburn to get bowl eligible, since at 4-5, they need two more FBS wins to get bowl-eligible (and close the season with Norfolk State).

In preparation for the Iron Bowl, Auburn looks to rebound from a 27-10 loss to Georgia.

There is no value in the current point spread, as The Action Network power ratings have this lined at Auburn -29.5 while S&P+ comes in at Auburn -30. Liberty has been fortunate in its games this season, accumulating a -1.2 second order win total.

A defensive S&P+ rank of 127th and special teams S&P+ of 129th expose the deficiencies in this Flames team. Liberty’s key weapon is pass explosiveness led by quarterback Stephen Calvert, but Auburn is 14th against explosiveness in passing downs.

As money comes in on the Flames, I would look at any number south of -28 for Auburn and under on the total.

The Pick: Auburn -27.5 or better

UAB v Texas A&M

  • Spread: Texas A&M -17
  • Over/Under: 45
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

UAB is a surprising 9-1 this season and set to play for the Conference USA championship. Not only are the Blazers big winners in conference play, they stand to make $1.6 million from Texas A&M for this week’s game at Kyle Field.

Blazers head coach Bill Clark is ready for the trip to an SEC environment blowout loss to Florida in 2017.

UAB Head Coach Bill Clark on facing Texas A&M this Saturday.

— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) November 13, 2018

The handicap always begins with UAB’s ability to get to the quarterback. The Blazers rank second in the country in sack rate, which could spell trouble for a Texas A&M team that is 120th in sacks allowed.

The Aggies are one of the worst teams in the nation in net turnovers (125th), field position (118th), and finishing drives (107th).

Although UAB has played the easiest strength of schedule, Texas A&M will struggle in defending the Blazers pass explosiveness. It is certainly a step up in class, but the side to back is the more motivated UAB team that is one of the best in the nation at applying pressure.

The Pick: UAB +17

Rice vs. LSU

  • Spread: LSU -41.5
  • Over/Under: 51
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

LSU may be in a poor mood for this game against one of the worst teams in FBS, the Rice Owls, after losing to Troy last season. Head coach Ed Orgeron has taken criticism for the ending of the Arkansas game, in which running back Nick Brossette did what he could to get Razorback wagers to the window.

A few LSU players must’ve taken Arkansas & the points

— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) November 11, 2018

Rice ranks in the bottom 10 in FBS scoring at 19 points per game. The Owls are not much better in scoring defense at 117th allowing 37.5 points per game. With a point spread of 42, it’s important to note Rice has allowed 40 points in six of 10 FBS games this season.

Expect the Tigers to give a full effort in this game. When asked about the loss to Troy last year, Orgeron said “We learned our lesson last year and that’s not going to happen to us again. So we’re going full bore against these guys.”

That’s enough for me to back LSU at any number under 42.

The Pick: LSU -41.5

Chattanooga vs. South Carolina

  • Spread: South Carolina -31
  • Over/Under: 47
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

The biggest question: Will South Carolina overlook this game with Clemson looming next week? Chattanooga has a 6-4 record on the season, with a two game losing streak to Mercer and Furman.

Coach Will Muschamp has made comments that plenty of redshirt players are under the four-game threshold for burning a season and may see playing time this weekend against the Mocs.

Chattanooga ranks 21st in FCS for team sacks, which may become a factor later in the game when less experienced lineman and quarterbacks enter the game for South Carolina. The Mocs also rank sixth in FCS in red zone defense, an area the Gamecocks offense has struggled.

Chattanooga will be the side to look and play on, as South Carolina will overlook to Clemson while experimenting with redshirt players on the roster.

The Pick: Chattanooga +31

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