Mississippi State vs Auburn Odds, Picks: Fade the Bulldogs’ Offense

Mississippi State vs Auburn Odds, Picks: Fade the Bulldogs’ Offense article feature image

Pictured: Head coach Bruce Pearl of the Auburn Tigers. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Mississippi State vs. Auburn Odds

Saturday, Jan. 14
8:30 p.m. ET
SEC Network
Mississippi State Odds
-112o / -108u
Auburn Odds
-112o / -108u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Winners of four of the past five, No. 21 Auburn welcomes Mississippi State to Neville Arena on Saturday night for a Southeastern Conference matchup.

The Tigers are unbeaten at home this season and are 13-3 overall and 3-1 in SEC play.

After starting the year 11-0, the Bulldogs have sputtered and lost four of their past five games.

This is a game between two teams heading in opposite directions, and I expect the home squad to continue to roll.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

You know what you are going to get on a nightly basis out of coach Chris Jans’ squad — suffocating defense for 40 minutes. It is remarkable the turnaround he has led on the defensive end in his debut season.

On the year, the Bulldogs rank inside the top 30 in multiple categories on defense, including AdjD (11th), EFG% (23rd), forcing turnovers (11th) and two-point shooting defense (26th). MSU is also 45th in defending the three-point line.

The big question is whether Jans’ team can continue this against the better opposition on the schedule. The Bulldogs held Ole Miss and Georgia to below 60 points, but No. 4 Alabama and No. 5 Tennessee averaged 82.5 points while beating the Bulldogs.

If Jans can find a consistent scorer or shooter on the roster, this would be a team to watch out for once March rolls around.

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Auburn Tigers

Similar to the visitors, Auburn is a team built on defense, especially when playing at home. In nine games at The Jungle this season, the Tigers have held opponents to just 59.88 points per game.

Coach Bruce Pearl’s team is no stranger to being tough at home as the program has now won 27 consecutive contests at Neville Arena, which is the second-longest active home-court winning streak in the country behind Gonzaga (75).

Auburn’s defensive metrics also back up the results we see on the floor. The Tigers rank inside the top 40 in AdjD (22nd), EFG% (11th), opponents’ two-point (32nd) shooting and opponents' three-point shooting (5th). This is also the same squad that is second in the nation with 6.2 blocks per game.

The offense has started to come around over the past seven contests, which makes this one of the most complete rosters in the nation.

Mississippi State vs. Auburn Betting Pick

For all of the great things Mississippi State does on defense, the offensive performances are toward the bottom of the SEC, and I don’t see that improving here against another top opponent.

So, my best bet is for the Bulldogs to fall under their team total of 59, which I would bet down to 57.

If you look at the key scoring metrics, MSU is outside the top 225 in all of those categories, including AdjO (228th), EFG% (313th), two-point shooting (276th) and three-point percentage (311th). Jans’ team is also 358th out of 363 schools in free throw shooting.

The numbers don’t get any better away from home, where the Bulldogs have failed to top this bet in five of seven games.

Auburn will want to continue its winning streak at Neville Arena and I struggle to see how MSU will be able to consistently get good enough shots to top this number.

There will come a game where the Bulldogs hit shots, but I’m going to keep fading their offense until I see it.

Pick: Mississippi State Team Total U59 (Play to 57)

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