College Football Predictions: LSU at Mississippi State Betting Picks and Odds
by Alan Matthews - 9/13/2011
One would think that the quick turnaround for Thursday night’s game between No. 3 LSU and No. 25 Mississippi State would more benefit the Bulldogs considering they are the home team and this is their home opener (and LSU’s first true road game). As Lee Corso would say: “Not so fast my friends.”
See, MSU enters off a crushing 41-34 loss at Auburn on Saturday. Bulldogs QB Chris Relf was stopped on a stellar tackle at the goal line on the game’s final play. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said he was prepared to go for two points and the win had Relf – who if he would have pitched the ball on the option play it would have been a walk-in TD for the Bulldogs – gotten across the goal line. The Bulldogs should have won the game as they dominated statistically with 531 yards of offense and a whopping 31 first downs.
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Meanwhile, the Tigers, who dropped a spot to No. 3 in the AP poll, were on cruise control in stomping Northwestern State. RBs Spence Ware and Michael Floyd each had two TD runs and QB Jarrett Lee was 9-for-10 for 133 yards and a score. Lee and most of the LSU starters didn’t play in the second half because the game was already in control. And that’s why the Tigers should have an edge heading into this one. MSU is likely physically and emotionally drained after that full-tilt, 60-minute Auburn effort.
LSU at Mississippi State Betting Storylines
Lee, of course, is starting because Jordan Jefferson is suspended for his role in a fight outside a Baton Rouge bar. It’s not clear if or even when Jefferson will be allowed back. LSU Coach Les Miles essentially just asks Lee not to make mistakes and lose the game, and he hasn’t so far. And the Tigers remain without star receiver Russell Shepard for an unrelated NCAA violation. He won’t be back until LSU’s next game.
I was rather surprised to read this, and I realize MSU hasn’t been very good very often, but this is the first time in the 105-year history of this series that the two teams are both ranked when facing off. After Thursday’s game, LSU will have played every SEC team in all-Top 25 matchups.
The key here will certainly be the MSU rushing attack, led by Relf and stud RB Vick Ballard, against the LSU rushing defense. The Tigers have allowed only 91 yards rushing so far this season – pretty impressive considering they opened with Oregon. The Bulldogs have the SEC’s top rushing offense, averaging 321.0 yards per game (No. 6 in the nation). That MSU offensive line is a bit banged up. MSU coach Dan Mullen said he expects senior center Quentin Saulsberry (left vs. Auburn with knee sprain) to play in this one, but left tackle James Carmon is "day-to-day" with a left knee injury. LSU has no significant injuries.
Last season, also in both teams’ third game, LSU beat MSU, 29-7. Four of LSU's five interceptions led to 16 of the Tigers' 29 points. The Bulldogs actually slightly outgained LSU. It was LSU’s 11th straight win in the series. The Tigers have won 19 straight September games, five in a row in Starkville and four straight SEC openers. MSU is just 2-9 vs. the SEC West under Mullen and both wins were against Ole Miss.
LSU at Mississippi State Betting Odds and Trends
Definitely shop around on this line. I’ve seen it anywhere from LSU -3 to -4.5, according to college football odds. The total is listed at 48.5. LSU is just 1-5 ATS in its past six as a road favorite. MSU is 1-4 ATS in its past five as a dog. The Bulldogs are 7-1 ATS in their past eight in this series at home. The ‘over’ is 6-1 in the past seven meetings.
College Football Predictions: LSU at Mississippi State Betting Picks
Take LSU – obviously if you can get it at three that’s preferred. With all due respect to Relf and Ballard, if the Tigers defense can slow down LaMichael James and Co., then it should be able to handle MSU. And I do believe that a lot of the wind will be out of the Bulldogs players, both mentally and physically, from Saturday’s loss.
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