Wanna bet? A look at this week’s SEC games, from the handicapping side

Betting on conference title games

Tyler Wyatt has been gambling his entire life. From playing penny-a-point gin rummy with his grandmother in kindergarten to running parlays in middle school to being groomed by Jimmy Vaccaro, Billy Walters and some of the world’s best hustlers, gambling has been a centerpiece in his life.

Tyler hosts “Three for the Money,” a gambling sports talk show in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sports Radio 1180AM WVLZ.

For those of you who take an interest in the outcome beyond who simply won and lost, we hope you’ll enjoy his perspective on Saturday’s SEC games from a handicapping point of view. He had a 4-5 record last week — his first losing week of the season — and now is 36-24 (60 percent) ATS.

RALPH WEBB, by Jim Brown/USA Today Sports

Kentucky at Vanderbilt

Line: Vanderbilt by 2.5
The play: Vanderbilt minus-2.5
Here’s why: Vanderbilt ended its five-game losing streak by beating Western Kentucky last week behind a dominant performance by its defensive front, holding the Hilltoppers to minus-6 rushing yards. Last week, Kentucky lost for just the second time as a favorite at home under Mark Stoops, and with games against Georgia and Louisville remaining, the Wildcats (6-3) likely need a win versus the Commodores to equal the number of regular-season wins from last season. The Wildcats are 5-2 against the spread in their past seven road games and are 4-2 straight-up in their past six on the road. After picking up the win and covering versus Western Kentucky last week, Vanderbilt improved to 13-12 against the spread under Derek Mason at home. The Commodores’ average scoring margin at home is minus-2.1 points when looking at all games, but drops even further when looking at SEC games. Vanderbilt’s minus-13.5 scoring margin in conference games is the worst of any team in the SEC since Mason became coach in 2014. Kentucky was torched by Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu last week despite a solid effort against the run. The Wildcats are just 4-16 under Stoops as a road underdog and will be up against a team that can beat you both ways. Ralph Webb looked healthier last week and Kyle Shurmur continues to be one of the SEC’s most efficient quarterbacks. Kentucky’s defense, especially the secondary, will have to step it up in Nashville for Kentucky to avoid ending the season on a four-game skid. I expect Webb to run for 100-plus yards and Shurmur to reach the 300-yard mark.
Predicted score: Vanderbilt 24, Kentucky 21

RELATED: This week’s SEC Power Rankings
RELATED: GN’s updated College Football Playoff, bowl projections

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