Auburn-Mississippi State Betting Guide: Both Offenses Need Answers Fast
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Davis and Nick Fitzgerald.
Auburn-Mississippi State Betting Odds, Pick
- Line: Auburn -3.5
- Over/Under: 43.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ESPN2
>> All odds as of 9 a.m. ET on Friday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.
From SEC West contenders to just trying to stay afloat. That’s what both Mississippi State and Auburn are going through right now.
The Bulldogs have dropped two straight games, both SEC losses, and scored a combined 13 points.
Auburn lost to LSU as a 10-point favorite, and has barely treaded water as huge chalk against Arkansas and Southern Miss (those box scores are a lot closer than the final scores).
But someone’s gotta win this game. Let’s get to it.
Market Moves for Mississippi State-Auburn
Two-thirds of bettors are behind Auburn, but sportsbooks have come back to the same number at which this game opened, since dollars are about split.
While the point spread is sticking to its opener, the total has fallen two points from 45.5 to 41.5 then back up to 43.5, as 74% of bettors are taking this under. That heavy majority has this game on pace to have the second-most popular under of the weekend.
Trends to Know
By Evan Abrams
No. 8 Auburn plays on the road against an unranked Mississippi State team in Week 6 after the Tigers started the season playing at home in five consecutive games (if you count Atlanta in the opener as a home game).
— Only one top-10 team has played on the road against an unranked opponent after playing at least five consecutive games at home: 2016 Michigan Wolverines when they played Rutgers in Piscataway and won 78-0.
Six ranked teams have faced an unranked team on the road after playing at least five consecutive games at home. Those six teams are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS, beating their opponents by 27.3 points per game.
By John Ewing
In SEC games, top-10 teams are 72-89-2 (45%) ATS when playing an unranked opponent since 2005.
Key Metrics for Auburn-Mississippi State
Auburn ranks first in defensive success rate, meaning it keeps teams off schedule to pick up a first down better than anyone. Despite the last two games, Mississippi State’s offense ranks in the top 25 in success rate, and did so last season as well.
So much of those solid numbers for MSU come from rushing, though. They’re top 5 in rushing efficiency and No. 1 in opportunity rate (how often carries go for five yards) and stuff rate (how often they go for no yards).
Auburn has been excellent against the run (2.75 yards per carry, eighth nationally), so expect defensive coordinator Kevin Steele to make the Bulldogs beat Auburn through the air. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald hasn’t proven he can do that.
Does Moorhead Just Need More Time?
Joe Moorhead inherited an ideal situation in Starkville. He had a veteran quarterback, more returning production on both sides of the ball than just about anyone and an uber-talented team in general. Things have unraveled quickly since.
With Moorhead widely known as an offensive innovator, his Penn State offense got going around this point in his first season in 2016. It excelled against strong competition later in the season, too.
Maybe Moorhead needs a little more time. Maybe he’ll figure things out this week. But he’d better do it quickly, because he’s wasting a veteran team with more talent than it’s ever had in Starkville.
Bet to Watch for Auburn-Mississippi State
By Ken Barkley
It’s entirely possible that Mississippi State is a sinking ship, with Moorhead over his head as its captain, and I’m just going to go down with it. But this number, and specifically this line movement, is extremely perplexing to me.
Sure, the Bulldogs are at a rock bottom-like rating, with back-to-back losses as huge favorites against teams they were supposedly better than. But this is still a very, very good team; it’s much more likely that Kentucky and Florida are just way better than we thought.
Mississippi State doesn’t have any major injuries. It’s an extremely veteran, senior-laden group, and its units match up just fine with Auburn’s.
As for the Tigers, I think people just may not be paying attention. This team has really struggled in consecutive weeks, although the score lines don’t really show it. Against lowly Arkansas, the score says 34-3 Auburn, but the Tigers had just 225 yards, got outgained and ran the ball for only 2.5 yards per carry. Not exactly dominant.
Southern Miss was the same story — 2.7 YPC, and a score that would have been much closer, except the Golden Eagles were -2 in turnover margin.
CBS commentator Gary Danielson made a great point in the LSU-Auburn game, that in a weird twist, Auburn’s talent this year is all on the outside, atypical for Gus Malzahn’s squad, and it’s a team that LOVES to run the ball effectively.
Malzahn seems incapable of changing philosophies; he wants to do what he does. As a result, this offense is a total mess at the moment and is unlikely to improve against a much better defense.
The Pick: I’ll take Miss State against an overrated Auburn team in a game that I have lined closer to Auburn -1.