Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Auburn Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 10/10/2014
Auburn Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs, Saturday Oct. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET
Mississippi State got a huge win last weekend as part of the biggest weekend of college football ever played in the state of Mississippi. That win fueled their continued rise up the rankings, and now the Bulldogs will be playing an even bigger game than they played last weekend. Auburn played in the National Championship Game last year and has shown no hangover so far this season. The Tigers are coming off a pretty big game of their own last weekend, too - a stunningly lopsided 41-7 win over LSU. These two teams are now tied atop the brutally-tough SEC West with Ole Miss, so this game is sure to provide at least a little separation for the winner. That amplifies the stakes even further.
Auburn Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs Betting Storylines
Mississippi State is not used to traveling in these kinds of circles. They have been a decent team for the most part under coach Dan Mullen, but they certainly haven't flirted with the levels they are ranked at right now or beaten the kinds of teams they have beaten with consistency. Because this is relatively new for both program and players, there is an obvious concern that it could all become overwhelming. This is the third straight game against a top-level opponent - following the tough win at LSU that was somewhat devalued by Auburn's destruction of them last week and the convincing win over the Texas A&M Aggies at home last week. While they did have a bye week between those games, this is still the third time in four weekends that they have had to get up for a massive test, and each game has been more important than the one before it. That would be a massive strain on any team, but it's of a particular concern when that team isn't battle-tested with years in the trenches.
It's always dangerous in college football to boil a matchup down to two players, but there will certainly be the temptation in this one to look at the two quarterbacks.
Nick Marshall led the renaissance last year for Auburn, and his numbers this year are shaping up to be even a touch better - he has just one interception so far this year and has a better yards-per-carry average. As strong as his season has been, though, most would argue that he is not the best QB in the SEC right now. Instead, that title belongs to his rival in this game, the Bulldogs Dak Prescott. He has taken a quantum leap forward this year in his second full year as the starter. He is averaging a very impressive 10.1 yards per passing attempt and is a dramatically better passer, and therefore more dangerous all-round quarterback, than before. I'll admit that I didn't really believe in him until last week against Texas A&M. He was fully and completely in charge then, though, and the team owes much of that win to him. He will be in tough to repeat the feat, though, because Auburn has a decidedly scary defense. Two stats keep getting repeated this week, and they deserve to be because they are so darned impressive - the Tigers have stopped 18 consecutive third-down-conversion attempts by their opponents and they have allowed 21 or fewer points in each of their five games this year. This is a defense in fine form against a quarterback at the top of his game. How you see that one shaping up will largely determine how you see this game ending.
Auburn Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs NCAA Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Auburn favored by the key number of three on the road, and it has remained at that level. Action has been reasonably split between the teams, with only a slight majority of bets being placed on Auburn, so it is quite possible that the odds won't change until kickoff. The total opened at 63, and there has only been slight upwards pressure - it can now be found at 64 in spots, but there isn't likely to be a huge swing in the total.
The Bulldogs have covered the spread in their last six conference games, while Auburn is 5-0 ATS in their last five October games. Seven of the last nine meetings between these teams have gone "under" the total, including the last four at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have covered the last two spreads in this rivalry and four of the last seven.
Auburn Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs Expert College Football Predictions and Picks
I respect Mississippi State, but I just can't bet on them here. I was very impressed by what the Tigers did against LSU last week. Their defense is exceptional, and they are creative and dangerous offensively. They are the best opponent that Mississippi State has faced yet, and my fear is that the Tigers don't have enough left in the tank to be as up for this one as they need to be. It shouldn't be a blowout, but the Tigers provide the value.
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