Alabama vs. Mississippi State Odds, Picks: Bet the Big Underdog on Saturday (October 16)

Alabama vs. Mississippi State Odds, Picks: Bet the Big Underdog on Saturday (October 16) article feature image
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  • The Alabama Crimson Tide and Mississippi State Bulldogs go to battle in SEC play on Saturday night.
  • The Tide are coming off a shocking loss to Texas A&M last week, making them seem beatable ahead of the game against the Bulldogs.
  • Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting guide for the game below, including odds, picks, and predictions.

Alabama vs. Mississippi State Odds

Alabama Odds -17
Mississippi State Odds +17
Moneyline -900 / +600
Over/Under 58.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

After suffering their first loss since 2019, the Crimson Tide will travel to Starkville to take on Mississippi State.

All sorts of streaks got broken when Texas A&M downed Alabama last Saturday night.

It was the first time Nick Saban had lost to one of his assistants, as he was 23-0 previously. It was the first time in 100 games that Alabama lost to an unranked opponent, dating all the way back to Saban’s first season at Alabama when it lost to Louisiana Monroe.

Alabama still controls its own destiny in the SEC West and can still make the College Football Playoff if it wins out and beats Georgia in the SEC Championship game.

Meanwhile, Mississippi State rebounded from back-to-back losses by beating Texas A&M at home two weeks ago. If the Bulldogs beat Alabama on Saturday, it will throw the entire SEC West into complete chaos, with any team having a chance of winning the division.

Mike Leach’s team has been solid on both sides of the ball this season and is absolutely a live dog on Saturday night, especially with an extra week to prepare.


Alabama vs. Mississippi State Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 16
7 p.m. ET
ESPN

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama Offense 

The offense hasn’t been the problem for Alabama this season, as the Crimson Tide are eighth in EPA/Play this season.

Bryce Young has been efficient, throwing for 8.8 yards per attempt and garnering a 90.4 passing grade, per PFF, which is the seventh-best mark in college football.

BRYCE YOUNG 🚀🎯

Alabama pulls within 7…

pic.twitter.com/ztZ28rb8hU

— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 10, 2021

However, the Alabama passing attack is nowhere close to how good it was a season ago. The Crimson Tide are 26th in Passing Success Rate and 33rd in explosiveness this year. Last season, they were No. 1 in Passing Success Rate.

The rushing attack has really been struggling by Alabama standards. The Crimson Tide are only gaining 4.5 yards per attempt, they rank 58th in Rushing Success Rate and are 47th in terms of run blocking, per PFF.

That’s going to be problem against Mississippi State’s front seven that is 31st in EPA/Rush allowed.


Alabama Defense

There are some big-time concerns for Saban’s defense this season, as the Crimson Tide are 57th in EPA/Play allowed.

A lot of those concerns are in their secondary, where they have a +0.20 EPA/Pass allowed (78th in the country) and allowed a backup quarterback to throw for 9.2 yards per attempt and three touchdowns last weekend.

🏆 SEC Offensive Player of the Week🏆@ZachCalzada vs. Alabama:
21/31, 285 yards, 3 TDs, W👍 pic.twitter.com/et8g1Q1wNT

— TexAgs (@TexAgs) October 11, 2021

Now, they’re going up against Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense that throws the ball 75.97% of the time, which is the highest pass play percentage in the country. They do it effectively, too, ranking 16th in Passing Success Rate.

The front seven also has not been good by Alabama standards, ranking 46th in EPA/Rush allowed and are graded as the 28th best run defense, per PFF.

They have been creating a lot of Havoc — ranking 27th in the country — but they will be going up against the fourth-best offense in terms of Havoc allowed this week.

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Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State Offense

Mike Leach’s air-raid offense has been incredibly effective this season with Will Rogers under center.

Rogers has the Bulldogs ranked as the 10th best offense in terms of Passing Success Rate and 54th in EPA/Pass. Rogers himself has a 90.1 passing grade with 13 big-time throws and only two turnover-worthy plays, per PFF.

He should be able to throw all over Alabama’s secondary just like Zach Calzada did last week.

Rushing the ball has been a different story, as Mississippi State is carrying the ball for 3.0 yards per carry and are 47th in EPA/Rush. However, the Bulldogs are running the ball on less than 25% of their offensive plays, so a lot of the Bulldogs’ success is going to come through the air.


Mississippi State Defense

Mississippi State’s defense has been outstanding this season, as it is 39th nationally in EPA/Play allowed with a lot of that success coming from its front seven.

The Bulldogs are only allowing 3.3 yards per carry, rank 19th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and are 31st in EPA/Rush allowed. PFF has the Bulldogs as the 50th-ranked team in terms of run defense and held NC State, LSU and Memphis all to under 3.5 yards per rush.

The secondary has also been fantastic, as the Bulldogs are only allowing 7.0 yards per pass attempt and are graded as the 30th best unit in terms of coverage, per PFF.

They should be able to slow Bill O’Brien’s offense on Saturday.

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Alabama vs. Mississippi State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Alabama and Mississippi State match up statistically:

Alabama Offense vs. Mississippi State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 58 19
Line Yards 50 11
Pass Success 7 31
Pass Blocking** 55 114
Big Play 10 21
Havoc 52 37
Finishing Drives 8 53
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Mississippi State Offense vs. Alabama Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 119 42
Line Yards 68 7
Pass Success 16 67
Pass Blocking** 19 48
Big Play 34 38
Havoc 4 26
Finishing Drives 62 116
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 39 99
Coverage 54 30
Middle 8 15 90
SP+ Special Teams 24 124
Plays per Minute 100 82
Rush Rate 51.4% (80) 24.7% (130)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Alabama is certainly not at the level it was last season, and having to travel on the road for a second straight week and playing in a hostile environment with the sound of cowbells constantly ringing in its ears is going to be a difficult task.

Sure, it beat Mississippi State, 41-0, last season in Tuscaloosa, but Rogers has drastically improved into one of the most efficient passers in college football in his second year in the air-raid offense.

Additionally, given all of the problems Alabama has had in its secondary this season, the pass-heavy Mississippi State attack should be able to move the ball efficiently all day long.


Alabama vs. Mississippi State Betting Pick

Alabama opened as a -17.5 favorite but was bet all the way down -16 at certain points in the week. The line has settled at Alabama -17 at most shops. 

I only have Alabama projected as a -11.92 favorite and Collin Wilson’s PRO Projections have the Crimson Tide as only a -13 favorite.

I think there is some value on the Bulldogs at +17 and would play it down to +15.

Pick: Mississippi State +17 (Play to +15)

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