College Football Picks: Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State Odds
by Dave Schwab - 7/26/2013
The Mississippi State Bulldogs will open their 2013 season on Saturday, Aug.31 in the Texas Kickoff Classic against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Reliant Stadium in Houston. This SEC/Big 12 clash is set to get underway at 3:30 p.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on ABC.
Mississippi State went 4-4 straight up in conference play last season and 8-5 SU overall, but it only managed to win one of its last six games of the season. It closed things out with a 34-20 loss to Northwestern as a 1.5-point underdog in the Gator Bowl.
Oklahoma State ended up fourth in the Big 12 standings last season with a conference record of 5-4 SU. A 58-14 romp over Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl as 18-point favorites moved the Cowboys to 8-5 SU on the year. The total went “over” in five of their last six games.
Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State Storylines
The Bulldogs have been headed in the right direction since Dan Mullen took over as head coach five years ago with three straight bowl game appearances. The big question for 2013 is if they can break out of the middle of the pack in the SEC. A big part of taking that next step could lie in the play of quarterback Tyler Russell. Last season he threw for 2,897 yards and 24 touchdowns, but he only managed to complete 58.6 percent of his passes and tossed six of his 10 interceptions in the last two games of the year.
Mississippi State’s defense ended 2012 ranked 34th in the nation in points allowed in giving up an average of 23.3 points a game. However, down the stretch it was torched for 30 points or more in six of its last eight games. This unit did a great job stopping the run but remains vulnerable against the pass, which could be a key factor in this game.
Quite a few sportsbooks have listed Oklahoma State as the favorite to win the Big 12 this season in what is expected to be a tight race all year long. The Cowboys return eight starters on offense, including quarterback Clint Chelf. He helped direct a passing attack that was ranked seventh in the country last season with an average of 331.7 yards a game. Considering that all-conference running back Joseph Randle decided to leave early for the NFL, you can expect them to take to the air early and often in this matchup.
If Oklahoma State is going to have any shot at winning the conference this season it is going to need a better effort from a defense that gave up an average of 28.2 points a game last season. The only saving grace was the fact that the Cowboys offense was third in the nation in scoring with an average of 45.7 points a game.
Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State Betting Tends and Futures Odds
Oklahoma State has been opened as a 13.5-point favorite by BetOnline in its early lines for Week 1 of the college football season. The total for this game has been set at 66.
The Bulldogs are 1-4 against the spread in their last five neutral-site games and 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall. The total has stayed under in their last seven games outside the conference.
The Cowboys covered the spread in four of their last five games, and they are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 nonconference games. The total has stayed under in four of their last five games against the SEC.
These two last met in late 90s with Oklahoma State winning 42-23 as an even-money pick in 1998 and Mississippi State coming out on top 29-11 the following season as a three-point favorite at home.
College Football Picks: Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State Betting Predictions
This should be a very entertaining matchup between two teams that know how to put points on the board, so my first instinct is to play the “over” in this one. If playing a side, take the Bulldogs and the 13.5 points in a neutral-site game. I look for the Cowboys to win this one SU, but it will remain much closer than expected.
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