Mississippi State vs. LSU Odds & Picks: Bet the Tigers Again?
Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Tari Eason (13) of the LSU Tigers.
- LSU takes on Mississippi State in SEC action on Saturday.
- The Tigers are moderate favorites ahead of the conference matchup.
- Keg breaks down his top bet below.
Mississippi State vs. LSU Odds
|Mississippi State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
After losing four of their last five games, the Mississippi State Bulldogs will try to get back in the win column against LSU on Saturday night.
However, that is easier said than done.
The Bulldogs must find their offense in order to contend against a staunch LSU defense. Mississippi State only scored 55 points against Arkansas last Saturday. Then, the Bulldogs followed up with another subpar 63-point showing in an 11-point loss to Tennessee.
To LSU’s credit, at least the Tigers are coming off a road win at Texas A&M. Though, the Tigers have now dropped six of their last eight games. In fact, LSU has only notched wins against Texas A&M since mid-January. The Tigers dispatched the Aggies by a score of 70-64 at home on Jan. 26. Then on Tuesday, Feb. 8, LSU went on the road and logged another victory, 76-68.
It will be a battle of strength vs. strength as the second-best FG% team in the SEC (Mississippi State) squares off against the second-best defense in the country (LSU). Who will come out on top in a matchup between two teams that are each desperate for a win?
The Bulldogs offense features some of the best scorers in the SEC.
Iverson Molinar ranks third in the conference averaging 18.1 points per game. Tolu Smith is posting 12.4 points per contest, and Garrison Brooks has added 11.5 points per game while leading the team with 6.7 rebounds per game.
So, why have the Bulldogs scored fewer than 65 points in its last two games?
Mississippi State averages 73 points per game this season, but — much like LSU — the Bulldogs do not shine really shine anywhere specifically on offense. They do rank 48th in the country in 2-point shooting percentage, but that perceived strength may not hold up against LSU’s 33rd-ranked 2-point defense.
Defensively, the Bulldogs have been able to hold teams to 66.6 points per game. Granted, LSU has struggled in its last eight games in particular, but will Mississippi State’s defense be enough to keep the Tigers down? With Xavier Pinson returning for the Tigers, I don’t think it will.
Mississippi State will also struggle to capitalize on one of LSU’s biggest weaknesses: Turnovers. The Tigers cough up the ball 15 times per game, but the Bulldogs defense does not force a high turnover rate, either.
There’s no denying that LSU has endured a difficult and frustrating stretch during the last month. Nevertheless, Xavier Pinson’s return inspires optimism that the Tigers can return to their previous level of play.
Pinson returned against Texas A&M, scoring 11 points and grabbing four rebounds en route to a Tigers win. However, all of LSU’s problems did not just disappear with his return.
The Tigers still have significant issues limiting turnovers. In fact, LSU even recorded a season-high 22 turnovers in its most recent game against Texas A&M. Moreover, the Tigers offense is not particularly adept at any specific spot on the floor.
What makes LSU most threatening is its defense, which limits opponents to 61 points per game on average. The Tigers ranks ninth in 3-point defense and 33rd in 2-point defense among Division-I teams.
They are also one of the best teams in the country at forcing turnovers. The Tigers block 4.5 shots per game, rank first in steals (11.1 per game) and third in turnovers forced.
Mississippi State vs. LSU Betting Pick
The Bulldogs have struggled lately, but it’s the teams they’ve struggled against that matter so much here.
Mississippi State has played Tennessee, Texas Tech and Arkansas recently; all three teams are top-25 defenses in the country. The Bulldogs failed to score more than 63 points against any of those three opponents.
Now, Mississippi State must contend against another elite defense in LSU — the class of the SEC. I don’t see any way they get past the Tigers — not to mention this Bulldogs team has been plum-awful on the road. Mississippi State is 1-5 in road games this season and has yet to win a conference game on the road.
Back the Tigers to get a win streak going at home as high as a 7-point favorite.
Pick: LSU -7 or better
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