Alabama-Mississippi State Betting Guide: Are Bulldogs Still Being Undervalued?
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Nick Fitzgerald, Tua Tagovailoa
Alabama-Mississippi State Betting Odds, Pick
- Spread: Alabama -23.5
- Over/Under: 53.5
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
We saw what Alabama can do against a quality defense last week, when it put up 576 yards on LSU. Now the Tide gets what might be an even stiffer test from Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs have been anemic on offense at times this season, but boast one of the nation’s best defenses. Mississippi State ranks fifth overall, eighth against the pass and 25th against the run, per the advanced metrics from S&P+, and 22nd in havoc. The defensive line is a major strength, led by Montez Sweat (9.5 sacks) and Jeffery Simmons (12.5 tackles for loss).
But this is Alabama’s offense we’re talking about. Can the Bulldogs hang inside this big number, maybe even give the Tide a scare?
>> All odds as of noon ET on Friday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.
Market Moves for Alabama-Mississippi State
After opening at -24, Alabama reached as high as -26 before big bettors started to bring this line down. Mississippi State’s 22% of bets have accounted for 30% of dollars wagered as of writing (see live data here), which has brought this line back down to -23.5 — even past its opener.
The over/under has risen from its opening number for the same reason. While the over is getting 46% of bets, those have accounted for 52% of the money, moving this total from 51.5 to 53.5.
Alabama’s Defense Making Strides vs. the Run
While Alabama’s offense was going scorched Earth on everyone, the Tide’s defense showed some cracks. It was giving up big plays and getting run on: Arkansas put up 172 yards at 5.5 yards per carry in Week 6 and Louisiana-Lafayette rushed for 200-plus on 5.3 per touch in Week 5.
Since then, Bama has cleaned it up. It’s given up a combined 113 yards on 90 carries in its past three games against Missouri, Tennessee and LSU. Last week, the Tigers carried 25 times for 12 yards.
That run defense will be imperative against a Mississippi State team that ranks seventh nationally in yards per carry (6.04) and top 10 in a host of advanced metrics.
Has Nick Fitzgerald Really Improved?
Mississippi State’s senior quarterback hit a low point this season against LSU (8-of-24 passing for 59 yards and four interceptions) before bouncing back over the past two weeks.
Is it real, or is it a mirage?
Fitzgerald went 31-of-50 for 484 yards with four touchdowns against Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech. He’s always been a run-first guy, and he’s continued to do that well, but the passing game needed major improvements if the Bulldogs wanted to hang with the likes of Alabama.
While I like Mississippi State to cover this big number, I certainly have my doubts that Fitzgerald can be effective against a Tide defense that showed its best self against LSU last week. Last season, Fitzgerald went 13-of-24 for 158 yards with 66 rushing yards against Bama in a 31-24 loss.
The Bulldogs did control the ball for almost 39 minutes in that game. Alabama had only 10 possessions, and Mississippi State had a touchdown-lead in the fourth quarter.