Mississippi State vs Washington State Odds, Picks | NCAAB Betting Guide
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Hubbard (Mississippi State)
Mississippi State vs Washington State Odds
The Hall of Fame Basketball Tip-Off Tournament starts on Saturday, with the Washington State Cougars and Mississippi State Bulldogs facing off against each other.
Read below for college basketball odds and a pick for Mississippi State vs Washington State on Saturday, Nov. 18.
I’ll provide full transparency: I thought Mississippi State would struggle without its best player, Tolu Smith. He’s injured for the foreseeable future, but Mississippi State’s toughness remains.
There's one major difference with this team, though. The Bulldogs boast some shooting this season.
Both Trey Fort and Josh Hubbard are shooting over 42% from deep, bringing the team's overall total to 33%. Fort is the Bulldogs' leading scorer right now (13.5 PPG). As a JUCO transfer from Howard CC, I don't know if anyone imagined Fort gravitating to high-major hoops in seamless fashion.
Mississippi State’s smothering defense has contributed to beating each team its played by double figures to begin the season. Mississippi State holds the fifth-spot in KenPom's Defensive Efficiency metric.
Sure, holding UT Martin to less than 60 points is nothing, but the Bulldogs smothered Arizona State for 40 minutes of basketball and made the Sun Devils look like a Big West team. That's not easy to do.
You must credit Cameron "Mook" Matthews, Shakeel Moore and Dashawn Davis for passing along the defensive principles of Chris Jans' scheme.
While Tolu remains out, Jimmy Bell Jr. has filled in admirably. The transfer from West Virginia is averaging 11.3 points and 11.7 boards in three games. Could Jans devise a better plan to replace Smith? I don't think so.
Last season, Mississippi State learned to win without putting forth good offensive outputs. A lot of teams have to learn the skill of winning when the shots don’t fall, but it's ingrained into the Bulldogs' mindset, for better or worse.
Although Washington State is unbeaten thus far, it’s no friend to the metrics. KenPom ranks the Cougars 82nd nationally and outside the top 85 in Offensive and Defensive Efficiency.
Washington State is relying on wing Andrej Jakimovski more than usual. The Macedonia native is averaging 17.5 points with efficient shooting splits of 55% overall and 45% from deep.
Additionally, Idaho transfer Isaac Jones has proven extremely valuable. There isn’t much of a drop-off at the high major level yet, as he's averaging 15 points and 10 boards.
Jones will face a big test against the thickly-built Bell inside. Luckily, if Jones gets in foul trouble, Oscar Cluff looks solid in a backup role.
Similar to Mississippi State, I’m slightly concerned about Washington State’s shooting. Only four players on Kyle Smith’s roster have made a 3 this season.
That means more minutes for Jabe Mullins is in order. The 6-foot-5 senior is the one player on Smith's roster — outside of Jakimovski — who you can trust to make a couple of triples.
Mississippi State vs. Washington State
Betting Pick & Prediction
I’m a little surprised the number isn't approaching double digits.
There’s a pretty noticeable talent gap between the two rosters. Plus, the Bulldogs have experience playing in tough games, while many on the Cougars' roster don’t.
Pick: Mississippi State -6.5 (Play to 9.5)
The new ESPN Sportsbook is now online and you can use Action’s ESPN BET promo code TANBONUS for a new user welcome.